Guide to City Council Signage Regulations 

Posted July 3, 2024

There are two types of licensed signs: those that undergo a comprehensive evaluation process, and others that can be quickly reviewed through an expedited assessment procedure.

For guidance on determining when comprehensive and abbreviated assessments are required, and to gain insight into the council’s pre-application meetings for navigating complex advertising signage applications, refer to the council’s advisory resources.

A thorough evaluation is required if a potential sign location is part of a heritage site, near a historic landmark, within a commercial building of historical significance, or intended for placement in any of the city’s malls such as Fortitude Valley Mall, Queen Street Mall, or Chinatown Mall.

If your request for a quick evaluation is approved, you can expect a reply within five days. Express assessment applies to the following types of signs:

  • Canopies attached to buildings
  • Freestanding signs on the ground
  • Signs protruding from a wall
  • Roof-mounted signs under 5 square meters in size
  • Hand-painted signs on roofs
  • Tall, self-supporting banners
  • Signs mounted on walls

To ensure your signage meets requirements, you can schedule a pre-submission consultation. Just fill out the online application form for advertising sign approvals and pay the fee using a Mastercard or Visa credit card.

This blog serves as a general resource, but it’s essential to note that it’s not a substitute for official guidance. Prior to procuring or installing any signs, we strongly advise that you contact City Council to obtain a comprehensive outline of the relevant regulations and specifications. The information presented herein is accurate as of the date of publication.

An awning fascia sign is a promotional display that is painted on or attached to the fascia of an awning or porch. Requirements for self-assessable awning fascia signage:

The awning fascia signs should be within the fascia outline and no taller than 600mm. If the signs have illumination or electronic displays, they must meet the technical standards for advertising devices. The electronic display components should have low impact and be 4m2 or smaller.

Blind or canopy sign

A blind or canopy sign is an advertising device painted on or otherwise affixed to solid or flexible material suspended from the edge of an awning, verandah or wall.

To be self-assessable, a blind or canopy sign must:

  1. Be compatible with the blind/canopy and building on which it is installed, erected or displayed on.
  2. Have a minimum clearance of 2.4m between any rigid part of the blind and a footway surface.
  3. Have a minimum 2.1m clearance between any flexible part of the blind and a footway surface.

Under awning sign

An under awning sign is an advertising device suspended under an awning or verandah.

To be self-assessable, an under awning sign must:

  • be oriented at right angles to the building frontage
  • be no greater than 2.5m long, 0.5m high and 0.3m deep
  • not exceed 75% of the width of the awning or verandah to which it is attached 
  • not project beyond the outer edge of the awning or verandah
  • have a minimum clearance of 2.4m between its lowest part and the footway surface
  • be centrally located along the frontage of the shop or tenancy it advertises. 

In the case of a shopping arcade, one additional such sign may be exhibited at the arcade entrance.

  • not be closer than 3m to another under awning sign, nor closer than 1.5m to a side boundary of a property or tenancy.
  • under awning signs with illumination and/or electronic display components must also comply with the advertising devices technical standards.

Window sign

A window sign is an advertising device displayed on the glass of a display window or through a display window.

To be self-assessable, a window sign must not exceed 25% of the area of the glass panel or panels on which it is exhibited and be no larger than 2m2.

Window signs with illumination and/or electronic display components must also comply with the advertising devices technical standards.

Footway sign

A footway sign (known also as an A-frame sign, T-frame sign or sandwich board sign) is a portable, freestanding advertising device, normally supported by an ‘A’ or inverted ‘T’ frame and typically displayed on a footway.

To be self-assessable, a footway sign must:

  • be for a property located in a business environment or city environment; do a property enquiry to check this
  • have a maximum height of 1m, a maximum width of 0.6m and a maximum depth of 0.6m 
  • be positioned on the kerb side of the footpath, at least 450mm from the kerb, and so that there is a pedestrian corridor of a minimum unobstructed width of 2m between the property boundary and the sign
  • be positioned no greater than 4m from the allotment boundary of the premises that are responsible for the sign
  • not obstruct, clutter or detract from street landscaping, furniture or artwork.

A maximum of two footway signs are permitted per shop.

Commercial flag

A commercial flag is a cloth or similar non-rigid fabric hung from a pole to advertise or identify a commercial establishment. To be self-assessable, a commercial flag must:

  • have an area not greater than 5m2 
  • not be installed, erected or displayed so that it is more than 6.5m above the ground.

Business promotion sign

A business promotion sign is a temporary advertising device advertising an auction, retail sale, business promotion or similar.

To be self-assessable, a business promotion sign must:

  • have a maximum area of 4m2
  • be installed, erected or displayed only on the premises on which the advertised activity is taking place
  • not use electronic display components
  • only be installed, erected or displayed for a maximum of 14 calendar days within any 90-day period.

Only one business promotion sign may be installed, erected or displayed per street frontage of a property.

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