YIMBY Qld’s greatest achievement so far has been the success of our shady rooftops campaign. Read about the issue below.
What is the issue?
Adding a shade structure to this rooftop would make it usable all-year round which is perfect for our sub-tropical climate.
Brisbane is a beautiful, subtropical city that is perfect for year-round outdoor living. For many people living in apartment buildings, active rooftops can be a great place to have a barbeque, exercise, or let the dog off leash.
In Brisbane, however, adding a shade structure to a rooftop created an extra story according to the planning scheme.
For example, a five-storey apartment building with a rooftop dog park and shade structure became as six storeys. Rooftop shade often became the difference between meeting the acceptable outcome for height or not.
This was the case even when the shade structure was set back from the edges of the building, made of lightweight materials, and kept open or semi-enclosed.
In sunny, subtropical Brisbane, active rooftops without adequate shade are no good. However, the planning scheme was making it more difficult to create innovative rooftop uses. An ‘extra’ story added time, cost, and risk that developers weren’t willing to take.
What we did
We asked Brisbane City Council to change the planning scheme to remove barriers to providing shade on rooftops, where that shade is well designed. Specifically:
- Exclude fixed shade structures on rooftops from being a storey, where meeting certain agreed criteria (i.e., heights, size, and setbacks) by changing section 1.7.7 of City Plan 2014;
- When planning scheme codes use metres (instead of storeys) to indicate maximum building heights, add a note to exclude the height of any ‘shady rooftop’ structures from overall building height;
- Recognise the value of shade provision in our sub-tropical climate by incorporating measures into the performance outcomes regarding height.
We suggested encouraging activated rooftops in Brisbane by publicising examples and showcasing them in the next version of Buildings that Breath.
We also suggested an incentive policy based on similar principles to Singapore’s LUSH (Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-rises) Incentive Scheme. You can read our full submission here.
What was the outcome?
We asked Brisbane City Council to make it easier to create activated, shady rooftops and they listened.
The rooftop gardens and landscaped greenspace amendment is now in effect.
Among other changes, this amendment package means that:
- Rooftop gardens will not count as an additional storey (provided they meet certain standards).
- The definition of a rooftop garden will include shade or shelter structures.
- Rooftop structures with solid roofs can cover up to 40% of the rooftop area without being counted as an additional storey. Permeable shelters can provide additional shade.
In practical terms, these changes mean that we should see more quality, green communal recreation rooftop spaces across Brisbane.
We are absolutely thrilled with this outcome; it couldn’t have happened without the community coming out to say, ‘Yes,’ to shady rooftops.