Flood Recovery Building Advice and Repairs

Ballina Shire Council understands that it will take our community a long time to recover from the 2022 floods. To assist with the recovery, Council, in consultation with surrounding Councils, has prepared this information in relation to house raising and house repair works for those whose properties have been flood affected.

Repair works

In most cases people who need to complete repair works to their homes internally and externally due to flooding can do so without consent from Council. This type of work is Exempt Development under the State Environmental Planning and Policy (Exempt and Complying Development code) 2018. 

Repair works means repairing or replacing damaged or deteriorated materials with new similar materials.

Repairs to flood damaged buildings do not include internal alterations (i.e. a change to the internal layout of walls or rooms) or external additions to the footprint of the building. This type of work requires development consent to be obtained before work is carried out.


Re-stumping of a dwelling can be carried out as Exempt Development, provided it does not raise the floor level of the building. 

However, people who are considering lifting their dwelling in an effort to prevent floodwater damaging their homes in the future must first seek development consent from Council by lodging a development application.

House raising

There are a number of options for Ballina Shire residents when raising their homes. All house raising works will require development consent to be obtained prior to the work being done. 

  • Raise the existing dwelling to the minimum required floor level as determined in Council’s Floodplain Management Development Controls. In urban areas, this may involve raising an existing older timber building by approximately a metre or less. In rural areas buildings will most likely need to be raised higher than this. 
  • Raise the existing dwelling to a level whereby a new storey is created underneath the existing dwelling. This allows for a garage, laundry and entry to be located below the minimum required floor level. In this case only 50m2 is permitted to be enclosed on the ground floor and it must be constructed with flood compatible materials and methods of construction. 
  • Build a second storey on top of the existing dwelling. The lower level can be maintained as is and form part of the overall dwelling, however it is advisable the existing linings and services be replaced with flood compatible materials and methods of construction. Alterations to the existing dwelling below the minimum required floor level may be limited in area, depending on the extent of the works.
  • Demolish the existing dwelling and build a new dwelling on the site. In this situation, the site is regarded as being a vacant site. In urban areas of Ballina, the whole allotment is to be filled to the minimum required fill level with the floor level of the new dwelling to be 500mm above the flood planning level. In rural areas, the site of the building and an area 3m wide around it is to be filled to the minimum required fill level. In most areas of the Wardell village, new buildings can be of elevated construction without site filling.

When house raising is undertaken it is necessary for the dwelling to comply with the relevant planning controls including those relating to the maximum permitted height. Council must also consider any potential amenity impacts on other properties.

Flood planning levels

Property owners can seek further information on the minimum required fill and floor level for their property by emailing the property details to the Building Services team at dutybuilding@ballina.nsw.gov.au

Council does not provide levels for the existing ground level or for the water level that was reached by any floods.

House raising and buyback programs

Please note Council’s floodplain management planning does not include a program for voluntary house raising or house buybacks relating to flood mitigation. Therefore, there is no application process for these types of programs in Ballina Shire. 

These types of programs may be considered across the flood affected areas in the region. However, due to the complex and widespread nature of the Ballina floodplain, we cannot be certain that they will ultimately be applied in Ballina Shire. 

Further assistance

If you need further advice as to whether or not you need to obtain development consent, please seek further guidance from the Building Services team at dutybuilding@ballina.nsw.gov.au

The Development Application process is completed via the NSW Planning Portal where the application will require supporting documents and plans to be assessed.

More information on Floodplain Management can be sought through Chapter 2B of the Ballina Shire Council Development Control Plan.

Temporary Accommodation - Installation of a Moveable Dwelling

People who have been displaced from their home because of the flood can install a moveable dwelling, such as a caravan, on land without council development approval for the up to two years in accordance with the Local Government (Manufactured Homes Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2021.

A moveable dwelling is defined under the Local Government Act and may include a tent, caravan or van or other portable device (whether on wheels or not), used for human habitation. This can also include a manufactured home, but this is not our preferred option unless it has mobility on a trailer or something similar, in the event of an emergency.

The installation of a moveable dwelling shall be subject to the following requirements/criteria:

1.    email Council at council@ballina.nsw.gov.au your contact details and address of the land upon which you are to install a moveable dwelling. In the subject line of your email please insert ‘Temporary Accommodation- Installation of a Moveable Dwelling’. Alternatively, please phone Council on 6686 1254.
2.    the moveable dwelling shall be removed within two years after it is installed.
3.    the moveable dwelling shall be maintained in a healthy and safe condition, not negatively affecting the amenity of adjoining properties.
4.    the moveable dwelling shall be relocated off flood-prone land in the event of a flood. In particular: 
a.    any moveable dwelling with wheels (i.e. caravan or van) shall be maintained in a road-worthy condition and be able to be moved at short notice (i.e. have its tyres inflated). 
b.    any moveable dwelling with wheels shall have access to a vehicle with a tow bar to facilitate removal in the event of a flood; and 
c.    any manufactured home must have a plan in place for its removal in the event of a flood.
5.    the moveable dwelling shall have installed at least one battery-operated smoke alarm, which is operational at all times.
6.    a licenced plumber shall be engaged to connect any moveable dwelling to the sewer or approved on-site sewage management system.
7.    the moveable dwelling shall not be located on the road reserve and/or public land without Council permission.

Should you require further information or wish to discuss the above, please contact Council’s Development Services team on 6686 1254


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The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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Ballina NSW 2478


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