By: Irena Kosturska

Land subdivisions can be complicated. In today’s article, we will be breaking down the process; and you can assess whether a member of our team at Accent Estimating is required to estimate for your contract, whether it is in Sydney, Adelaide or Melbourne. We want to ensure you maximise your return on investment for a land subdivision, by providing comprehensive contract estimating services for your project. So, what is the process of land subdivision? We will explore that in this article.

What is land subdivision?

Land subdivision is the process of dividing an area of land into multiple land titles, this could be anything from two townhouses, a duplex, to a block of apartments. Large scale subdivisions can occur when paddocks or mega blocks get transformed into estates. To demolish and replace an existing structure with multiple, or even split a vacant block of land, is a time consuming and detailed process. Specific standards must be upheld to avoid oversights and issues such as lack of connectivity to basic resources, land overcrowding, lack of ground cover with greenery etc.

The process of subdivision will differ within Australia across state lines as departments, organisations and councils have varying application requirements. The local council of your contract or development will have the most accurate assessment of the process and requirements. However, this article will provide information on some of the important steps.

1. Contact Council/ Solicitors

To begin, it is essential to determine whether the land can be subdivided. Contacting a solicitor or your local council can help clarify whether the land is suitable for subdivision and what restrictions will be enforced. Examples of factors considered could include but are not limited to property heights (overlooking neighbours), street frontage, and bushfire management overlay status. Some areas or ‘zones’ within a local council will not be considered suitable for subdivision. Another issue to consider is the removal of easements that may occur in the subdivision process: shared drains, walls, roofs etc. (this is more common for inner-city dwellings) and the effect this will have on neighbours. On large applications for estates, especially in outer suburbs and regional areas, over a dozen reports may be required throughout the planning process. These reports could include indigenous heritage, flora and fauna, biodiversity, and noise assessments. The legal issues that can arise from this are one of many reasons why an expert such as a solicitor is required for this type of application.

Costs on large scale applications can grow quickly due to all the reports and approvals required, this is where our cost and contract estimating services at Accent Estimating will be of benefit. We will ensure you are undertaking profitable contracts and not wasting time, money, and company resources.

2. Drafting a permit/ application

Liaise with a town planner– they will be in contact with your local council planning department and create a subdivision permit or development application in accordance with the council’s guidelines. The department for lodging the permit varies in each state. The permit drafting process for Melbourne, Geelong and other parts across Victoria will occur through the Surveying and Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals (SPEAR) program, an online portal that details a list of documents to be completed and filed by an applicant and surveyor before being sent to the council. In Sydney, New South Wales, this process is lodged through the NSW online planning portal. Meanwhile, in Adelaide and other parts across South Australia – the application is lodged with (SCAP) the State Commission Assessment Panel. Technical drawings may be required in this stage displaying some details such as how the block will be divided, which easements and land regions may be shared, and the property boundaries    

3. Certification

Once appropriate documentation has been filed and collected, submit the application to the council or local planning authorities for certification. During this stage, the council will review the permit plans and liaise with local utilities and involved third parties such as state road departments, Telstra, NBN, fire department, and local sewerage/ gas authorities. This ensures all dwellings will have access to these essential services and quality infrastructure. Neighbours may also be consulted over the plans to share any concerns they may have regarding privacy, property damage etc. The experts employed to undertake assessments will vary depending on the site location, some developments will require certifications for emergency plans in the event of a ‘1 in 100 year’ natural disaster – such as a flood, landslide, bushfire etc.

4. Certificate of Compliance

The council will give a certificate of compliance if all the requirements are fulfilled, and the relevant authorities and organisations are satisfied. However, if unsuitable, the review may include changes or restructurings to ensure that the dwellings and subdivisions are suitable. This finalised certificate of compliance is lodged with the respective state’s Land Title’s Office.
The whole process is time consuming, commonly taking 12-18 months from the hiring of a solicitor to the finalised certificate of compliance. It also can be expensive, from the cost of solicitors, surveyors, council application fees etc. That is where our cost estimating services come in.

At Accent Estimating we are a consultancy dedicated to your construction and property development team. Building contracts can be fast-paced and competitive; therefore, hiring a consultant with reliable industry experience is imperative to ensure you are getting the most reliable price estimating across Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and the rest of Australia. We ensure the budgeting is correct so that you are not losing contracts or taking a loss on a job – and with over a decade of experience and an extensive portfolio Accent Estimating is a contract estimating service you can trust.

If you are developing property and need estimating services in Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong or Adelaide, get in contact with a member of our team via the contact form on our website or by calling 0413 953 869