Case Studies

The Facts

  • ABC Building Company is building Joe and Mary’s house on a 450sqm block.
  • The block has views of the river and hills, so the design incorporates balconies at the front and back.
  • The completed design, which includes a second storey, has been submitted to Council.


  • The Council reviews the design and highlights the following issues:
  • Balconies and windows do not comply with Residential Design Codes.
  • There are a few setbacks to the side and front boundary.
  • A boundary wall to the double garage is more than 10 metres in length.

Council Feedback

  • ABC Building Company is asked to submit further information to demonstrate the plans have been amended to comply, or the issue has been justified.
  • The application is delayed until ABC Building Company provides enough detail to satisfy Local Government officers.


  • ABC Building Company provides the Council with more information.
  • However, the Local Government is not satisfied that its requirements have been met.
  • Further negotiations between ABC Building Company and the Local Government are required, delaying the process even more.
  • ABC Building Company is forced to change the plans to comply.

Can you really do what you want?

Joe decided he wanted a change in career and decided to start an equestrian stable stay business as he loved horses.  He had undertaken extensive research into the business and was ready to purchase land for the business.  He found and bought a property that seemed perfect for the business.  In order to help get the loan established for his business he needed to get Council approval.  His application for the equestrian business on the property was refused by Council.  The property was not the appropriately zoned for such a use and he was advised the only way to get what he wanted was to rezone the land and to find himself a Planning Consultant.  He employed a planning consultant who advised him that an application for rezoning would cost him in the vicinity of $15,000 onwards on top of the Councils $5000 fee and that the Council would not consider the application until they have finished reviewing their Local Planning Scheme in approximately 2 years time.  On top of that, holding costs of the property for another 2-3 years would be costly.

If only he got himself a PlanCheck report as part of the offer and acceptance of the property.  The report would identify that the subject property does not support an equestrian business and a rezoning application would not have been considered by Council until 2 years time. The report would have identified that land across the road would be more appropriately zoned for the use proposed and would only require a development application for the stables.  Ultimately this advice would have saved him time and money in the long run.

Are you buying land?

Western Australia is made up of approximately 141 Local Governments and each have their own rules and regulations that can have a major impact on land. With the property market slowly recovering, you need to be sure that the land you are buying is not subject to government laws and regulations that prevents you from doing what you want to.


XYZ Development Corporation has found some land and want to investigate it with a view to either subdividing and/or developing. Unfortunately, they don’t have the time and/or the inclination to investigate all the policy and law requirements of the Local Government.

XYZ Development Corporation wisely chose PLANCHECK to investigate all policy and legislative pitfalls that were associated with the land. This included checking the Local Structure Plan which identified the zoning and requirements of how the land must be developed


XYZ Development Corporation chose not to purchase the land as they found out it could not be developed in the way they had planned. They chose an alternative site instead, thereby saving themselves thousands of dollars.

ABC Building Company have clients, Joe and Mary, who want to build a house on an average 450sqm block. The block has views of the river and the hills, so Joe and Mary want the design to incorporate balconies at the front and back

  • the balconies and windows do not comply with the Residential Design Codes;
  • there are a few setbacks to the side and front boundary; and
  • a boundary wall to the double garage is over 10 metres in length.

A design of the dwelling with second storey has been prepared and submitted to Council, but there are a few problems:

The Local Government Officer writes to ABC Building Company to advise that features of the proposed development don’t comply with the Residential Design Codes and to request that further information be submitted to rectify those issues. The application is therefore delayed until ABC Building Company can provide further details and satisfy the Local Government officers.

More information is provided; however, the Local Government officer is not satisfied that the justification addresses requirements of the Residential Design Codes. Further negotiations between ABC Building Company and the Local Government are required, delaying the process even more. The end result is the plans need to be changed.