Water Tanks for New Homes No Longer Compulsory in Brisbane

Water Tanks for New Homes No Longer Compulsory in Brisbane

Brisbane Drafting, DCP and Character Codes, Residential House Design - February 15, 2013 - 9 Comments - by

The extra costs of rain water tanks and energy efficient hot water systems are now at the home owner’s discretion, no longer a compulsory requirement for new residential homes built in Brisbane or Queensland for that matter, commencing February 2013.

Master Builders Director of Housing Policy Paul Bidwell welcomed the decision, along with many Queenslanders building new homes.

Bidwell said “The cost of a rainwater tank adds up to $6,000 to the cost of a new house and in some cases this can be even more on smaller lots… these changes will significantly reduce the cost of housing.”

Benefits for current homeowners too…

The recent changes benefit more than just Queenslanders building or designing their new home, there are also benefits for existing home owners…

Brisbane Water Tank News

In an announcement by Housing Minister Tim Mander “Under existing laws, owners of homes in reticulated natural gas areas are restricted to gas, solar or heat pump hot water systems, which often cost thousands of dollars more than the electric model they’re replacing.”

Mander said “the changes would also allow existing home owners to replace a broken electric hot water system with a similar model.”
“Although solar or heat pump systems are more energy efficient, they are more expensive to buy and often require extra plumbing and electrical work to retrofit the existing property before they can be installed.”

Both are positive steps for reducing home ownership costs for Brisbane residents, especially considering the significant time frames required for recoup investment costs.

“People who want to install rainwater tanks or a particular type of hot water system can still do so,” Mander says, adding that councils will still be able to retain mandatory rainwater tank requirements within their local jurisdictions where they can prove a net benefit to the community. “The difference is that the decision is now theirs to make.”

Keep track of local Brisbane council changes…

At the time of writing this there were no local councils approved to opt-in, approved council updates can be found here. Previous new home requirements that will now only relate to local councils with opt-in approval are:

Brisbane Water Saving Measures

  • Tanks with a 5,000ltr minimum capacity required for single, detached houses.
  • Tanks with a 3,000ltr minimum capacity required for non-detached houses (such as terrace houses, townhouses and semi-detached houses).
  • Rainfall for tanks must be received from at least half of the available roof catchment area or 100sqm, whichever is lesser.
  • Provisions must be made during installation for tanks to be connected for internal use to all toilet cisterns, washing machine cold water taps and for external use to at least one tap.
  • To ensure internal fixtures supplied from a rainwater tank have a continuous supply of water, the installation of an automatic switching device or a trickle top up system may be required.

Choosing a designer or drafts person that has a thorough understanding of local planning issues can reduce your building costs and times.

For more information on design and renovation plans for your Brisbane home visit call the team at SEQ Building Design on 07 3257 7224.


  • Shardy says:

    Thanks for the post I really appreciate it it was very useful

  • Dion Regorman says:

    This really answered my dilemma, thank you!

  • Barry says:

    Thanks for the share of useful information.

  • Great blog. i’m going to borrow a few ideas

  • Simply wanna say that this is very useful , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  • Spikeyone1 says:

    Thank you for this information. I was wondering if I am allowed to remove a 5 year old water tank from my townhouse property which has a broken pump and more that I can afford to repair. There are no by-laws in the Complex to say I can’t and I am the residential owner and the townhouse has only 1 small flower bed in the courtyard. The plumber who came advised removal of this old tank as better option than repair. I would favour this but don’t want to break any Queensland laws. Thank you

  • Spikeyone1 says:

    Just a follow up to my last email and letting you know the response from Brisbane Council to my query:

    “Thank you for contacting Brisbane City Council regarding the removal of a rainwater tank (at your address).
    Council appreciates and values the time you have spent to forward through your request.
    Council’s Plumbing Services Group advise that if the rainwater tank is on the approved plans for the complex, new plans will need to be drawn showing no rainwater tank. An amended application will need to be lodged via email to hydap@brisbane.qld.gov.au. The fee for lodgement is $212.40.
    Thank you for taking the time to make this request.”

    I think this information is helpful and will follow their advice. Than you for pointing me in right direction.

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