Old-fashioned “Queenslander” homes will be making a comeback if residents in storm-surge threatened areas follow draft building guidelines released in the wake of Cyclone Yasi.


The Queensland Reconstruction Authority on Wednesday released draft guidelines for building in areas vulnerable to storm tides, including a recommendation for homes to be build on stumps.

Reconstruction authority chief Major General Mick Slater unveiled the guidelines at Hull Heads which, along with neighbouring Tully Heads, was virtually annihilated by a storm surge from Cyclone Yasi in February.

Major General Slater said the draft is based on advice from experts including researchers from James Cook University and the CSIRO.

It includes the recommendation for homes in areas at risk of a storm surge to be built on stumps, with the downstairs area left open in the manner of traditional “Queenslanders”, to allow water to flow through with minimal damage.

“A lot of it is commonsense – if you can, you build the floor of your home above the highest predicted level of the storm surge,” Maj Gen Slater told AAP.

The draft guidelines also recommend removing potential projectiles, such as sheds and water tanks, from the path of homes.

Maj Gen Slater said the reconstruction authority would now work with residents from Hull Heads and Tully Heads to formulate a final set of guidelines.

The guidelines would be aimed primarily at residents in those areas, he said, but would have relevance to any communities located in storm surge zones.

Maj Gen Slater said he hoped the information put forward by the guidelines would influence the relevant building codes.

“What we will do is give that to the relevant state and local authorities and stress very strongly to them that this is a good place for them to start as they develop a new set of building codes,” he said.