Queensland Development Code (QDC) Mandatory Part 3.5 - Construction of buildings in flood hazard areas (MP 3.5) commenced on 26 October 2012.
Changes were made to the Building Regulation 2006 (BR) on 20 December 2013 to align with the new State Planning Policy 2013 and to refine the operation of MP 3.5.
Making designations and declarations
QDC part MP 3.5 applies to the carrying out of certain building work to the extent the work is carried out in a designated flood hazard area and a defined flood level is declared for the area.
A local government may designate and declare a flood hazard area, defined flood level and other information that is permitted under section 13 of the BR for the purpose of applying building requirements including QDC part MP 3.5. A designation or declaration must be stated in a planning scheme, temporary local planning instrument or resolution as being made under section 13 of the BR.
The local government must comply with State Planning Policy 2013 and any relevant temporary state planning policy when designating a flood hazard area. The local government must also keep a register of the flood hazard areas it designates and when each designation was made.
Background and consultation
In 2011, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) developed a draft national Standard for the construction of buildings in flood hazard areas (draft Standard). The ABCB developed the draft Standard and an accompanying Information Handbook with the assistance of a reference group made up of representatives of state and local governments, the building and engineering industries and flood and hydrology experts. The draft Standard provides specific performance requirements and deemed-to-satisfy provisions for the design and construction of buildings in designated flood hazard areas.
BCQ through Building and Plumbing Newsflash 474 (issued on 26 July 2011) sought comment on early adoption in Queensland of the draft Standard. BCQ also met with representatives of the Building Industry Consultative Group (BICG) to discuss the proposal and consultation results. The BICG includes members of a wide range of key building industry organisations and the Local Government Association of Queensland. BCQ also received submissions from a number of other stakeholders during the consultation process.
Following the initial consultation period, BCQ developed a draft Queensland Development Code (QDC) to adopt the draft Standard into building law in Queensland. BCQ conducted further consultation on the draft QDC in late 2011 including teleconferences, face-to-face meetings with local governments, an out-of-session BICG meeting and participation in roadshows. A number of amendments were made to the draft QDC to ensure that it could be practical in its application.
Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry
On 16 March 2012, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (the Commission) delivered its Final Report into the 2010-11 floods. The Final Report contained recommendations covering a broad range of matters including management of Wivenhoe Dam, floodplain management, planning issues, performance of private insurers and management of abandoned and operational mines. It also recommended that further public consultation be conducted on the draft QDC.
On 7 June 2012, the Premier tabled in Parliament the Queensland Government response to the Final Report. As part of its response to the Commission's Final Report, the Queensland Government formed five groups to implement the recommendations. The Building Implementation Group was established to oversee implementation of recommendations from chapters 9 and 10 of the Final Report and is chaired by the Director-General of the Department of Housing and Public Works.
The Queensland Government's response included a commitment to revising the draft QDC to reflect the Commission's recommendations with a focus on providing further practical flexibility in the application of the code. In addition, the government committed to undertaking community and industry consultation on the revised draft QDC.
Consequently, the QDC part applies will apply to building work in a practical way where a local government has designated a flood hazard area and declared a defined flood level. It also allows local governments to declare further information such as maximum flow velocity of water and inactive flow or backwater areas. The QDC also gives flexibility for building applicants to use information that varies from the information declared by the local government.