Building works

COVID-19 Response Investment Incentive Policy

Council has adopted the COVID-19 Response Investment Incentive Policy - effective 12 August 2020 until 30 June 2022.

The Policy aims to support small scale development, such as those being considered by “mum and dad” investors, where infrastructure charges may be a barrier. In doing so, it will provide an economic stimulus for the Cairns development and construction industries and local employment across the region.

Read more and check your eligibility for the COVID-19 investment incentive.

If you are thinking of doing any building, remodelling work, extensions or renovating, you may have to apply for Building Development Approval. The web pages below provide general advice about building, swimming pool safety, lodging building approval documentation in Cairns and Council’s involvement with this activity.

Before you build

Information on when a building approval is required More

Building approval and inspections

Information on how to finalise building approvals issued by Council and by private certifiers. More

Information for building certifiers

Information on the process for building certifiers to lodge building approval records. More

Building guidelines: contaminant and pollution control

Guidelines and information on managing building activity to prevent pollution and erosion, and to protect our environment. More

Driveways and easements

Information about constructing driveways and crossovers, and building work over an easement. More

Fences - boundary, dividing and pool

Information about boundary and dividing fences, the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act and Queensland's mandatory swimming pool fencing requirements. More

Council Referral Agency Assessments

For certain building works applications, Cairns Regional Council is a Referral Agency. This section contains information on when and how to make an application for Referral Agency Assessment. More

Swimming pools and spas

All new swimming pools and spas require building approval from Council. You must also register your pool or spa with the Queensland Government. Pool safety certificates are required when selling or leasing a property with a pool. More

Tropical building design

Designing for the tropics is essential in our climate. Use our resources to help design a home or building that responds to our environment, climate, local character and community needs. More

Cyclone affected region

The Cairns Regional Council area is a cyclonic region as specified in the Building Code of Australia. Because of this, construction detailing and tie-down requirements are more stringent than in non-cyclonic zones.

Building plans

You may request a copy of your approved building plans, but Council cannot guarantee that all plans are available for older properties.

Building complaints

Complaints about unlawful building or development work (eg, illegal buildings or structures, swimming pools and fencing) can be submitted in writing to Council, lodged via our online form or you can contact Customer Service to lodge your complaint.

Dial before you Dig

Before you carry out any ground works, you should telephone 1100 or visit to find out what services are underground.


This information is provided as a general guide only. For more information and to discuss your specific requirements, contact Council's Building Services team.

Last updated: 20 August 2020