Subdividing Land- Are you being served?

Does obtaining a Planning Permit for multiple dwellings automatically allow you to subdivide?

The answer is: No.

Although closely related, the process for subdividing land in Victoria is separate from the process for planning permission to build two or more dwellings on one lot.

It is entirely possible to successfully obtain a Planning Permit for a development yet encounter delays (or even refusals) when attempting to obtain Subdivision Certification – from the same Council!

Having a Planning Permit does not equal Subdivision Certification.

What causes delays in Subdivision Certification?

To answer this question, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves that:

The purpose of subdivision is to divide a large allotment of land into smaller lots, each on separate titles.

The obtaining of separate titles naturally requires that each resulting lot be fully self-sufficient.

Inherent in this definition is that each resulting lot and its associated services – gas, water, electricity etc – therefore must not encroach on any other resulting lot.

Delays occur when the assets of one lot illegally encroach another lot.

How can encroachment happen?

Illegal encroachment often occurs when contractors for the major services (gas/electricity/water etc) incorrectly position their own services.

This can happen when:

  • The plans drawn by a residential designer/architect allowed for interpreration of service placement (perhaps due to a lack of building experience), and/or
  • It is assumed by the building supervisor that each contractor should know where and how their services should be placed.

Both of the above are dangerous assumptions.

It is far safer to assume that each subcontractor only knows (and cares) about their specific job and does not understand the larger context.

Consider the diagram below:

The subdivision on the left has a service connection point (say, electricity) placed such that a connecting asset (wire) to Lot 2 is encroaching over Lot 1’s property.

The subdivision on the right has a correctly placed connection point resulting in no encroachment.

Other encroachment examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Multiple service points being placed together within one lot instead of being spread amongst individual lots
  • Service connection points and/or connecting assets being inadvertently placed within an individual lot boundary instead of being placed in Common Property (where applicable)
  • Mailboxes and/or Bin Storage being placed within one lot’s boundary instead of being placed in Common Property (where applicable)

How can encroachment issues be resolved?

Encroachment issues can be resolved either by:

  • Rectifying the offending asset, or
  • Amending the Plan of Subdivision to allow for the encroachment (where permitted, an encroachment may appear as an easement on one lot in favour of another)

Either solution equates to additional costs in both time and money.

Subdividing Land: Conclusion

  • Delays (& sometimes refusal) by Council in granting Subdivision Certification is usually due to subdivided lots not being fully self sufficient.
  • The net result of such delays is always unnecessary additional costs in the form of both time and money.
  • Ensure that all service connection points (Gas, water, electricity, sewerage, telephone, cable etc) and asset locations are clearly marked on plans.
  • Ensure that all lots are fully self sufficient and do not have any connecting assets crossing boundaries.
  • Do not assume that each service contractor will know where their service connection points and assets should be located.
  • Ensure that the residential designer you engage for your plans and subdivision has integrated Design AND Build experience

Contact us and ensure that your subdivision benefits from intentionally planned asset placement – right from the start.