Building laws to change as Brisbane apartments reach for the sky
The latest building to claim the title of Brisbane’s tallest is nearing completion. At 74 storeys Harry Triguboff’s Meriton Developments has powered through construction of “Soleil” in the CBD’s Admiralty precinct and will soon wrap up its 464 apartments.
The tower is just up the street from the previous title-holder, Aurora, completed in 2006 at a piddly 67 storeys with 478 homes. Harry of course has his next Brisbane project well under construction, bigger and better: the 81 level, 546 apartment Infinity Tower in North Quay.
To give you some idea, the top of the new Soleil building is near enough to the height of the lookout at Mt Coot-tha. Yep, it’s that high…
We’ve written before about the evolution of “super-towers” in our CBD but one topic not often discussed is the dangers of living so high above the ground. Families with kids are a more common sight in our apartments and new changes will soon be introduced to building laws to limit accidental falls. We were recently told that one inner-Brisbane primary school has 32% of their 700 students living in apartments. It’s the little kids that need plenty of supervision and the changes will cover all windows over 2m off the ground (pretty much the second floor of any building). New buildings will need reinforced screens or window locks to prevent openings past 125mm.
The Meriton projects in Brisbane’s CBD don’t include open balconies in their designs and balconies are one hazard that might be impossible to regulate for safety. How do you prevent light furniture being pushed to the edge, a chair used as a climbing point? Does every balcony door need to meet pool fence guidelines? Are you feeling sick in the stomach too, just thinking about a child crawling near a highrise handrail?
This isn’t a new hazard and you’d have to say that reports of injury are remarkably scarce. But we are becoming more vertical as a city.
Demographer Bernard Salt called it the “Manhattan-isation” of Brisbane and it’s happening whether we want it or not, with all its challenges and opportunities. Many of the residents of these new super-towers will thrive in their homes, and we pray those with small children will take every possible care.