Construction Heading Up Not Out

Construction Heading Up Not Out
June 6, 2023 Construction People

It wasn’t that long ago (2018) that Brisbane City Council proposed to temporarily ban the development of units in Brisbane’s suburbs, including its inner-city radius. The rationale was to protect the city’s nostalgic character by stopping larger developments. However, the Property Council of Australia argued then that even a temporary ban would affect housing affordability and place a spanner in the works to get projects off the ground. So, what’s changed Brisbane City Council’s mind as construction is now heading up not out?

construction heading up not out

Fast forward to 2023. The tide has turned, and there are many new norms since Covid. We will now see more construction heading up rather than sprawling out with associated costly infrastructure requirements. This upward trajectory with housing density in mind will present in many forms, particularly the newest asset class build-to-rent and also ‘skinny’ or ‘pencil’ residential towers as mostly seen in Melbourne, then Sydney.

Why is construction heading up not out in Brisbane?

With land becoming scarce in Brisbane and the population increasing steadily since Covid’s strong interstate migration, the desire is to design a smaller footprint for Brisbane (and the Gold Coast) with efficiencies to address the ever prevalent and growing housing affordability and shortage crisis. The idea is to renew (infill) established but underutilised areas of Brisbane such as South Brisbane, Toowong, Toombul, Indooroopilly, Chermside, Carindale, Mount Gravatt, Woolloongabba, Newstead and Albion etc. So essentially, areas with larger shopping precincts and amenities, existing infrastructure, and proposed / existing hospitals.


As part of its Sustainable Growth Strategy, Brisbane City Council has introduced changes to allow residential buildings in certain parts of Brisbane (South Brisbane Kurilpa Precinct at this stage) to reach the 274 metre limit as determined by aviation safety regulations. These changes will help meet rental demand in the lead-up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games. As a part of these changes, the council will fast-track build-to-rent developments, along with incentivisations such as a reduction in upfront costs by permitting infrastructure charges to be paid over time.

The Queensland state government also recently announced they would provide tax breaks for developers who incorporate affordable housing into build-to-rent projects.

construction heading up not out

Takeaway for construction workers

With population growth, housing affordability, and scarcity, Brisbane’s skyline will inevitably change. Many of these new developments will likely be the more recent build-to-rent asset class and potentially the skinnier ‘pencil’ style residential apartment towers.

The good news on the construction front is that many jobs will be created as more and more people seek alternative rental options that focus on strengthening the social impact of inclusion, affordability, and sustainability.

To find out more about what build-to-rent is and the most recent projects, visit our recent article HERE


(Sources: Property Council of Australia, Urban Developer, Brisbane Times, Brisbane City Council, Queensland State Government, ABC News)

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