When you plan to display any advertising signs in Brisbane, there are rules that you have to follow. It’s possible you will need Brisbane City Council signage approval for the advertising signs you want to display for your business, even it is a home business. It’s also possible you will need the council’s approval for any charity, club, or event Brisbane signage.


Sign Approval

In order to obtain Brisbane City Council signage approval, you need to know whether what you are planning is likely to be acceptable. Helpfully the council hosts an advertising signs tool so you can check what signs are likely to be acceptable. It indicates what signs are permissible, which ones the council is likely to license, and you can also discover what is generally considered inappropriate and therefore is likely to be prohibited.

The tool enables you to find out the facts about your proposed sign location, including any constraints and zoning and locality issues.

Brisbane City Council signage regulations are split into different zoning areas:

  • The city centre
  • Business centre
  • Industry
  • Residential
  • Greenspace

To fall under a general sign application, there are some key considerations that Brisbane City Council will look at:

Fascia Signs:

  • a block of 1000sqm has no more than 60sqm of signage
  • the signage does not extend more than 50% of the facia height
  • there is 2.4m clear space between the signage and ground level
  • the signage does not obstruct a traffic signal or is placed too close to a traffic signal

Illuminated/Electrical Signs:

  • all electrical work complies with the current electrical safety standards
  • all electrical wiring is concealed and out of view
  • all graphics are static, not moving
  • light levels are between 300-500 cd/m2, depending on zone

In-Ground Signs:

  • the height is not over 1.8m (in-ground signs)
  • the general area of the sign does not exceed 6sqm (in-ground signs)
  • the sign will not face a neighbouring property from a distance of less than 3m from the boundary
  • there is no more than 1 ground sign for blocks with under 100m of street frontage
  • for blocks over 100m of frontage, additional in-ground signs must be 60m apart

Wall Signs:

  • the sign will not exceed 5sqm
  • the sign is fixed flat against the wall
  • the sign will not exceed a 300mm thickness
  • the sign will not extend more than 12m from ground level
  • the sign will not extend beyond the edge of a wall and/or structure

Depending on the type of sign, there are further considerations from the council. Your sign may also combine a number of the above elements. A full list can be found here.


Advertising Sign Fees

When you lodge an application for displaying a sign, Brisbane City Council signage fees will have to be paid. This is calculated on the basis of a specific formula depending on the size of your business or operation.  There are express application fees and full application fees.

Some small businesses may be eligible for a small business fee reduction when applying for Brisbane signage. To find out more visit the council’s fees page for detailed advice.


How to Apply

Licenced signs fall into two categories: those that need full assessment; and others that only require an express assessment.

To find out about when full and express assessments are needed and to better understand the council’s pre-lodgement meetings for dealing with complex advertising signage proposals have a look at the council’s advice.

A full assessment will be needed when a proposed sign location is considered either a heritage place or adjoining a historic site, is a commercial character building or if it’s to be contained in one of the city’s malls including the Fortitude Valley Mall, Queen Street Mall, and Chinatown Mall.

If an express assessment is accepted then you should get a response within five days. The following sign types are covered by express assessment:

  • Awning fascia signs
  • Ground signs
  • Projecting signs
  • Roof signs that are smaller than five square metres
  • Signwritten roof signs
  • Vertical banner freestanding signs
  • Wall signs

You can request a pre-lodgement meeting for advice about whether your advertisement will be acceptable. Simply use the application for advertising sign approvals online form and pay with either a Mastercard or a Visa card.


Local Law Info

The regulations that Brisbane City Council has to apply when assessing Brisbane City Council signage are set out in two pieces of legislation:

  • The Advertisements Local Law 2013
  • The Advertisements Subordinate Local Law 2005.

These are available for download and scrutiny from the State Government Local Laws database.

The aim is to make sure advertisements and their associated structures are built and kept up to standards of public safety while also complementing desirable characteristics of the built and natural environment where they appear.


Advertising Sign Forms & Fact Sheets

To make it simple to make an application for displaying signs, Brisbane City Council has provided an information kit along with all the advertising application forms for your convenience. You will find it contains all the application forms and hard copy documents you will need to use.


Information for Existing Sign Licencees

If you already have a licenced sign you can apply to have it transferred to another licensee as well as being able to cancel, adjust and renew your sign licenses.  To help with this the council provides information for existing signs licensees.


This blog is a guide only – Before you make any signage purchases & installations, please consult your local council for a full brief of the guidelines and requirements. Content correct at time of writing

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