Council approval for prefab homes. What do I need to do?

Getting council approval for your prefab modular home usually is a simple process. In saying that, in NSW especially, you will need to watch out for some quirks with individual councils. Also, if you’re considering a second dwelling, then this has another whole range of issues you need to consider.

So, to help demystify council approvals for prefab homes, we’ve put together a list of the main things you need to do and consider before starting with your new build!

Are modular homes different from other types of building?

When we come to modular building, a frequent question we get asked is “will council approve a prefab home?” The quick answer to this is a big “Yes”. In QLD & NSW, the approval process for a modular home is no different from a conventionally built home! Follow the link for more information on the benefits of building modular.

Below, we look into the main types of approvals across the two states.

Council Approvals in QLD

Two primary forms of council approval are required by law for every new home built in QLD.

The Building Approval

Ok, so let us start with the most straightforward form of council approval – a building approval. If your building on a residential block or acreage, this will be simple. The primary considerations at this stage are your council overlays. These will refer to issues on the site that you will need to consider, like bushfire, cyclone, flood, and landslip. In most cases, these are very simple to overcome – you need to make sure you’re aware of them!

The Plumbing Approval

The second part of the building approval process is your plumbing approval. A licenced plumbing designer will need to design and document the right sewerage treatment plant for your site and home. If you have already got town sewer than this is a bit simpler, and the plumber will be able to draw a plan showing the connection from the house to the sewer point.

Council Approvals in NSW

We have covered off the two main types of council approval you will require for a new prefab home. Now, if we go to New South Wales, the process changes a little. In NSW we will need to get three different approvals for your home;

Development Approval

This approval considers the big picture and how your new home will meet council overlays for flood, bushfire, landscape, amenity and any other overlays that will affect the development.

Section 68 or Construction Certificate

The next part of the approval is the Section 68 or construction certificate. In most NSW councils you will be required to apply for a Section 68 – “Approval To Build A Manufactured Home” approval which considers the construction of the new home. A section 68 approval will analyse things like energy efficiency, footings, bracing and design.

Plumbing Approval

This final approval, the plumbing approval, is very similar to the QLD plumbing approval with requirements for a drainage design and wastewater disposal layouts.

Other Approvals


The siting of your home on your land can also trigger additional approvals. Councils will have standard setbacks for every boundary of your property, and if you want to build within these setbacks, a further Development Approval may be required.

Second Dwellings

Modular homes are a great option if you’re looking at building a second dwelling and lots of our clients do this! For more information on how they compare to traditional builds check out or article on modular home cost. Unfortunately, though, every council has different requirements and stipulations as to what you can and can’t do. The best way to find out if you can build a second dwelling is to call your local council and speak with a town planner to find out how you can achieve your proposed home.

Ecological Overlays

Another tricky area is around environmental overlays. These overlays will dictate how much clearing you are allowed to do on your site. Environmental Consultants and Arborists may need to be consulted to ascertain what will work best for your block of land.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? We are here to help.

Ok – that all sounds pretty technical and scary! The good news is that you don’t have to worry about all this.

Our team has dealt with councils from Mudgee to Burketown to Brisbane and have extensive experience in getting modular homes lodged and approved without too much of a hiccup! For those more complex approvals such as second dwellings or siting approvals, we will work with you and external consultants such as town planners and surveyors to make the process as easy as possible for you!


If you have your own vision for your house, we are happy to work with you to design the perfect layout that is tailored just for you.


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