Useful Tips

Before you build your new home, make sure you have considered the following:

  • Ensure you have the appropriate approvals in place before you build, extend and/or alter a building from houses, offices and/or industrial unit(s).  Any proposed new structures will need some type of approval from the Local Government.  Approvals can include either a planning building and/or health approval.
  • If you are planning on starting a business or using a building for something other than its approved use (even a home office) approval from the Local Government is required.  For example if you are planning on starting a hair dressing business in your home you will need approval from the Planning, Building and Health department.
  • Ensure that all the information is provided with the application including site plan (site and floor levels), elevations and floor plans.
  • Ensure the plans are to scale and that all setbacks are identified on the plans.  It is always good to include as much information on the plans as possible to make the assessing officers job easier.
  • Ensure that applications are appropriately justified against the requirements of the Residential Design Codes and Local Government requirements. Local Government requirements include the Town Planning Scheme, Structure Plans, Detailed Area Plans and Council policies and bylaws.
  • Do no make enemies with your local government planner. This can determine the time taken to assess your application.

Buying land with the purpose of subdividing can be a big investment. To ensure you can make the most of that investment, think about the following before you buy:

  • The Local Government Town Planning Scheme describes the density (R-Codes) and zoning for the land within the district. This information will assist you in determining whether you property can be subdivided or not.  The Scheme can also have hidden bonuses and/or requirements when subdividing and/or building.
  • The Residential Design Code is used by State and local Government in assessing any proposed alterations, additions, subdivision and new houses.  In conjunction with the Local Government Town Planning Scheme can determine how many lots you can get from a particular property.
  • Council policy: sometimes Councils have other policies for zonings that are not detailed in the land certificate acquired by the settlement agency i.e. Structure Plans.  These policies can impact on the design of the development and the zoning.
  • Do you want to build or just divide the land, Green Title, Strata Survey and/or Strata Plan? This information will also help in determining whether your land can be developed as you wish and the cost.
  • Have you got all the appropriate information included in your application? Ensure all information is provided to the WAPC to avoid delays in the assessment process. Details on the information you need to submit can be found on the WAPC website.
  • If the property does not have the right density or zoning Local Governments may consider rezoning or recoding the property to enable what you want to do.  Generally Local Government do not like to consider a single property ‘spot rezoning’.
  • Do you need a land surveyor? If you have only 2-3 proposed lots of the subdivision, it is more economical to employ a land surveyor. A land surveyor will need to be involved at the end of the process iin preparing the durvey diagram as part of the certificates of title.
  • Land Capability Studies: Subdividing rural land may require land capability study to be performed and it is advised to employ a qualified planning consultant.

The Western Australian Planning Commission (www.wapc.wa.gov.au) is the decision making authority for subdivisions in the State.

Before you buy your new dream home, make sure you have considered the following:

  • Check if the Certificate of Title has any developer’s memorials directing the design of the dwelling or how many houses are permitted on the lot.  The title reveals other issues associated with the property such as restrictive covenants.
  • Check to see if the property is green title, purple title or strata title. This can determine the various processes and requirements involved if you wish to alter/extend the property
  • Check to see if all structures/additions have been approved by Council. If not then some Councils can retrospectively approve the structure provided it has been supported by a structural engineer.
  • Check the Town Planning Scheme zoning of the property, subdivision potential and/or policy restrictions. For example, the house may experience airport noise or be close to market gardens, etc. Normally this should be a memorial on the title anyway.
  • Check the house and the location of the sun so you can utilise solar access and energy efficiency. Check out www.greenhouse.gov.au
  • Consider the location of shops, public transport, schools and work

Do you need more information?

  • The land certificate provided by the Local Government as part of the settlement of a property is not always comprehensive and can miss vital information about the zoning of a property. It is best to call the Council for further information if required.
  • Some great information is also located at www.docep.wa.gov.au.

Remember: to extend and/or alter the existing house, you must seek approval from your Local Council