Do you have Subdivision Questions?
Almost everyday we are asked all sorts of questions about subdivision. Following are some of the questions we get, along with answers. Please understand that it’s not possible to give a fully comprehensive answer that applies to all properties in every circumstance. Never the less we are confident that these answers will contribute to a better understanding of subdivision questions frequently asked.
Question 1: What size block can I subdivide – is there a minimum size?
The answer to this varies and depends on where the property is, which local Council area you are in and the zoning of the property. The minimum size required usually depends on the zoning. There are other determining factors such minimum frontage and things known as “Overlays”. These vary widely but can limit the ability to subdivide. They can relate to such things as flooding, desirable environmental features that need to be preserved, topography or distance from transport or shopping hubs. They are extensive and vary from one Council to another so there is no fixed ‘one size fits all’ answer to this.
Question 2: What is the cost to subdivide – are there hidden costs?
Bear in mind that Subdivision is a process of several stages, so the costs are spread across those stages. None of those costs are hidden, though to some, usually those without professional advice, they may have been unexpected.
The costs always vary from one project to another because, aside from the actual Council fees [ and they vary too] the costs mostly relate to the physical aspects of the property being subdivided.
When you subdivide a property, you need to supply each lot with a minimum degree of services or infrastructure. This varies from one location and zoning to another. It will likely involve works inside the property and possibly outside too – it’s rare to find two properties exactly the same as each other, even surprisingly if they are next door.
The costs to subdivide are broadly confined to the following categories – Planning, Design, Survey, Council fees, Physical works like sewer provision, Certification, Supervision, Infrastructure Contributions & State Government fees.
Question 3: Is a corner block better to subdivide?
Not necessarily. However, it depends on the circumstances. Again, the zoning and size of land come in to play. Very often there is an existing building which it is proposed to keep so it’s exact location can play a vital part. Having said that there have been some situations where corner blocks do offer a little more flexibility when it comes to minimum lot size. Also bear in mind that as a corner lot has 2 street frontages providing legal access is usually easier with little additional expense.
Question 4: Does it get cheaper to subdivide the more lots you do?
Some people might think that this is the case, but the true answer is ‘not necessarily so’. Again, each situation is different. Having said that Council Application fees are usually levied on a sliding scale so that fee will be higher for a 5-lot subdivision than a 2-lot, but cheaper on a ‘per lot’ basis. The other costs highlighted in question 2 above still need to be considered and, with proper consideration to all aspects frequently do work out to be cheaper on a ‘per-lot’ basis but not always.
IT’s wise to take a ‘whole of project’ approach in these situations because, given a finite amount of land the end value of say 5 small lots may be worth little more than the 4 larger lots though it will have costed more to create the 5 lots.
Question 5: With a rear lot subdivision does it have to have a common driveway?
In most situations the answer is NO. There are situations however where physical impediments or issues make doing that necessary or worthwhile, for example rock face restricting access, location of existing structures, or the need to provide access to legal onsite parking. There are also circumstances, where the zoning and lot size may require a common access to preserve minimum lot sizes. Further, there may be ‘limited access’ to public roads that then require one common access.