Building over infrastructure and easements

If you’re planning to build over or near water and sewerage infrastructure or easements you’ll need to apply for approval before construction starts. Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Identifying easements

An easement is a piece of land within a property that has a registered interest that gives legal permission for someone to access that land for a particular activity. In our case, we register an interest over land that we need to access to install and maintain water and sewerage infrastructure.

Easements can be identified by a title search from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Visit

If there is an easement on the property, any permanent construction work, except for residential driveways and fences, will need to be kept outside of this area.

Application for easement encroachment

We may consider an encroachment over part of the easement but only if we have no current or future use for the easement – please note that applications for encroachment are very rarely approved and it is recommended that building works be planned to remain outside of the easement.

To apply for an easement encroachment you’ll need to complete the application form and email this with the required documentation to

Download the application for easement encroachment (PDF).

Here’s what you will need to complete this application:

  • current title search for the property this application relates to;
  • easement conditions document relating to the easement over which you wish to encroach;
  • a plan of the easement.

These documents can be obtained from the Department of Natural Resources & Mines.

Step 2 - Application to build over or near infrastructure

If no easement exists, your next step is to have a Building Certifier assess the proposed building work against the Queensland Development Code MP 1.4 – Building over or near relevant infrastructure. Where these conditions cannot be met, you’ll need to complete an application for us to assess the proposed work.

Download the application for building over or near water supply or sewerage infrastructure (PDF) 

Some examples of instances where you will need to seek approval include:

  • Where the clearance from Unitywater infrastructure to a fence, building or other structure will be reduced to less than 1.2 metres.
  • Where driven piles or piers are located within  5 metres of Unitywater infrastructure;
  • Where any building, structure or bored excavations for piers or footings are within the zone of influence* of Unitywater infrastructure;
  • Where earthworks are directly over or will affect the structural integrity of Unitywater infrastructure;
  • Where the vertical height to the finished surface over Unitywater infrastructure will be reduced to less than 2.4 metres;

* The zone of influence is nominally defined as a line projected at a 45o angle from the invert of the sewer to the natural surface. This may be affected by factors including groundwater and soil type and must be determined by a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland.

To complete an application you’ll need the following: 

  • Site plan showing all existing and proposed buildings/structures, water and sewerage infrastructure and the property connections to that infrastructure.
  • Statement of Reasons showing which of the acceptable solution(s) from the Queensland Development Code 1.4 can’t be met and a statement of how the related performance requirement(s) within the code are achieved.
  • Elevation Views of the proposed building work showing water and sewerage infrastructure.
  • Structural Engineering Design Drawings of the footings/foundations for the proposed building work showing water and sewerage infrastructure. Please include the Form 15 Design Certificate that your structural engineer will provide.

Where an easement exists you’ll also need to provide a copy of your consent for encroachment and conditions.

Download the application for building over or near water supply or sewerage infrastructure (PDF) 

Existing structures

If a structure encroaches onto easement land without our approval, we may, in accordance with the easement terms, direct you to remove the structure at your cost. If you do not remove the structure, we may remove it and you will be liable for the cost.

If you proceed with building works, including excavation and/or filling, over or near water and sewerage infrastructure without the required consent you may be issued with a penalty infringement notice and be liable to pay fines. We may also direct you to remove any structures at your cost. Additional charges may be imposed including the costs to repair any damage to Unitywater’s infrastructure that may have been caused by the building work.


    Saving Tips
  • Bathroom Tip #2

    Use a bucket to catch water while the shower warms up. You can then reuse this water on your garden. If it takes 30 seconds for your shower to warm up, you could collect up to 10 litres of water for your garden.