Underground services

Sewers, Drains and Services

You are just days away from turning the dirt on your block of land, ready to start building your dream home, then your building certifier contacts you with the bad news – “there is a sewer line on your lot and your building is too close”. This is one of the most common problems in the building industry, and it can be a costly and time-consuming issue to fix.

Before you decide where on your land you are going to build, you need to check your council’s records to see if there are any sewer lines, water lines, or stormwater drains inside and within close proximity of your property. Most councils will provide this information free to the public on their websites, while smaller councils may need to be contacted for the information and might require you to pay a small fee.

The basic rule to identify whether or not the piping will be an issue is by determining the depth of the line. The deeper the line, the larger the “zone of influence” in which you will need to either amend your structural design, or relocate the building outside of the zone. The information supplied by council will generally give you all the information needed to determine the depth. However, if you are building on a much older lot, you may need to go on site and physically locate the sewer line.

Once it has been established that you will be building close to an infrastructure line, your design will need to comply with the Queensland Development Code MP1.4. A building certifier will determine whether your structural design addresses the QDC. As a final and important point to remember before you start building, it is worth it to check that the pipes are actually physically located on your site. Some council records, especially the older accounts, are not always correct.

To find out about the other issues that you should be considering at the design stage we suggest you read our story that could save you thousands Building Cost Saving Tips.

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I am a qualified Town Planning Consultant and began working at Development Certification Pty Ltd whilst completing my studies in 2010. I have a Bachelor degree in Planning from James Cook University. I strongly believe the building and development industry is a collaborative body of professionals who, by working together and facilitating good development practices, can make our country the most liveable in the world. My role is to help consolidate Town Planning and Building Certification within Development Certification to ensure our clients are provided with the industry knowledge required for successful development.