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Property Development Checklists

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  • Property Development Checklists

    Hi Guys

    For those of you who are contemplating doing some Property Development here in this post and in the following posts some checklists to consider.
    These have come from some Australian websites.

    �� What is the size of the land?
    �� Is the council zone correct for the proposed development?
    �� What densities are required by the council?
    �� Are there any current or future planning controls that may restrict development
    o Heritage listed
    o Conservation or no development area?
    �� Is future rezoning likely or proposed?
    �� Are there any expensive Council contribution fees?
    �� Is there potential to vary Council’s controls of heights, densities, setbacks?
    �� Is the site fairly flat?
    �� Dual street frontage?
    �� Corner site?
    �� Does the slope of the site restrict the type of development proposed?
    �� Is there any slip or subsidence problems?
    �� Will there by an exorbitant cost for filling, cut or compaction?
    �� Are there any significant trees on the site that must be retained, and which will reduce development
    Neighbouring Properties
    �� What are the adjoining neighbours setbacks ……….mt ………..mt
    �� Views – are they available and will my development restrict my neighbours’ views?
    �� Will the development affect the privacy of neighbours?
    �� Will the development overshadow neighbouring properties and does the development receive good
    solar access?
    �� Are there special streetscape requirements that must be met?
    �� What similar developments have taken place in the vicinity?
    Traffic, Parking and Public Transport
    �� Is it safe to get in and out of the site?
    �� Is the road width suitable for the scale of the development?
    �� Will an increase in traffic levels be supported by the Council?
    �� Is there public transport - a bus or train within walking distance?
    Surface and Ground Water
    �� Is the site flood affected?
    �� Is the site serviced by water, sewer, power, telecommunication cabling and telephone utilities?
    �� Do existing services need to be upgraded?
    �� Do any sewer or water mains cross the property and will that restrict the development?
    �� Are there any draining pits, power poles or electricity boxes that obstruct future access to the site?
    �� Are there any easements crossing the property that will restrict the development?
    Technological Hazards, Pollutants and Disturbances
    �� Is the site significantly affected by aeroplane, traffic or train noise?
    �� Is there a disturbing odour source?
    �� Is there any evidence of site contamination from past use such as a service station or intensive
    �� Is the site in the vicinity of high tension cables?

    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx

  • #2
    These points have come from Somersoft and there are more to come.


    1. Stormwater Disposal - The site should slope towards the street. This makes it easier to dispose of stormwater. If the site slopes away from the street, make sure that there is a stormwater easement, or you have ALL the neighbours permission in writing as part of a legal document permitting you to create a stormwater easement over their land BEFORE you purchase the site. I know a guy who didn’t get the neighbours permission before – he ended up with a DA approval for his dual occupancy subject to obtaining a stormwater easement. He never built the dual occupancy and in doing so, wasted 15K of his money gaining approvals. An expensive lesson for him.

    2. Trees – It’s preferable that there are no large, native trees on site where your building platform will be. It is common for Council to ask to retain large, healthy, native trees. Even if the drip line of the tree is within your proposed building platform, it may cause a problem. I have had instances of trees that look healthy, but a report from your arborist may show that the tree is diseased. If so, present the report to Council when you lodge your DA asking to remove the tree.

    3. Site Orientation - A large concern of Council is that proposed dwellings should have a certain amount of sunlight to the rear courtyards and internal living areas at the winter solstice (June 21). Check the orientation of proposed courtyards and living areas to ensure they gain solar access. Don’t forget that the double story dwelling you’re proposing next door also casts sunlight into its neighbour’s courtyard or their shadow cast onto your courtyard in return. Check if Council take the adjoining dwelling’s shadows into consideration.

    4. Drainage Easements - Yes, they’re fantastic when they’re located in the correct position, that is, parallel and adjacent to the side or rear boundaries. But if you have an easement that runs across your block, you will be limited to where you can build your house. Sometimes you can make use of the easement by designing a courtyard or visitor parking over it if your draftsperson is clever. You aren’t permitted to build a house over a drainage easement. Even your eave overhang should be clear of the easement, although I have seen Council accept them overhanging the easement.

    5. Sewer - The sewer is also fantastic when it’s not located within your proposed building platform. It’s best located parallel to the boundaries as well. If the sewer does run across your site, don’t despair, you can build over it (unless it’s a mains sewer with an easement attached to it). If you build over your sewer, you must concrete encase the entire length and also pier your concrete slab over it on either side to structural engineer’s details. This does get expensive though and is best to avoid. Once again, a good draftsperson can use this area for courtyards or visitor parking.

    6. Flood zones - Your Council will be able to advise you if your block falls partly or totally within a flood zone. This may be either global or local flooding. They will give you the flood level as an AHD level. If it is in a flood area, you may be restricted as to what type of dwelling you build on it, the size of the dwelling you build on it and the height of the ground floor of the dwelling you build at. Generally, Council will ask you to provide an AHD (Australian Height Datum) survey. This means that the height of your block is measured above ‘mean sea level’. Council will generally ask you to build 500mm above the flood level.

    7. Mine subsidence - If there is mining in your area, check with the mine subsidence board if you need their approval as well as Council’s. Mine subsidence board may have a certain type of construction they require, eg. in past cases, we weren’t allowed to build brick veneer upstairs in case of cracking. You can now get around this with a structural engineer’s report showing sufficient articulation joints along the walls.

    8. Zoning – Check the zoning of your land. Different zones will allow you to build different types of housing. For example, I was looking at a block of land recently that was 1500sqm. It was zoned residential 2a. In the Council area you were permitted to build a dual occupancy on it as a maximum, but the land could realistically hold 4 dwellings as far as area goes. Townhouses were not permitted within that zoning. But after checking the subdivision DCP I found that I could subdivide the land first, then lodge 2 separate DAs to Council for 2 dual occupancies which was a total of 4 houses. Sometimes it pays to think outside the square. Some Council’s will give this out zoning information over the phone, while others ask you to come in to check the plans or pay a fee and they will advise. I believe this is because of legal reasons and some Council’s being sued for giving out incorrect information.

    9. DCP – which stands for Development Control Plan. This is a Council document that has all the rules and regulations in it for the type of development you wish to do. Generally there is a separate DCP for housing (1 dwelling), dual occupancies (2 dwellings) and townhouses (3 or more dwellings). The DCP will tell you things like setbacks, height limits, floor space rations, site cover, landscape cover, courtyard areas, car parking requirements, solar access requirements, maximum cut and fill to the site and much more.

    10. Own your own plans – This is one of my musts if you are doing a development. I have seen new developers get a builder to draw plans up, lodge them to Council and price them up once Council approval is gained. The price is generally way higher than the developer’s budget. They ask to take the plans to another builder, only to be told that they are copyright and they will have to pay an exorbitant fee to buy the plans. I recommend that you always use an architect or draftsperson to design the plans and lodge to Council for you.

    11. Just because it’s built like that next door doesn’t mean you can do it like that now – Council rules change over time. The house next door or around the corner may have been approved under the old DCP. Always check that your proposed development complies under Council’s current DCP.

    12. Draft DCPs – Council bring in draft DCPs from time to time. When making your queries with Council, check if they have one in place or if they are about to change the current DCP. What has happened in the past is that you will do all your due diligence with the current DCP, then by the time your plans are in Council, the new DCP will be in place and your development may no longer comply. Always keep an eye on the date that Council adopt the new DCP.

    13. Pre-lodgement meeting – Once you have some basic sketches (sometimes even before you’ve purchased the land) take them to Council and have a chat to their townplanner to see what their comments are. They may be able to see something either you or your drafty have missed.
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx