3 Common Misconceptions About “Plan Sealing”

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plan sealing
Plan Sealing can be complicated

And 4 Useful Tips That’ll Smooth Your ‘Plan Sealing’ Experience & Save You Money – 

Plan Sealing is still a puzzle to many people – or so it appears to be, judging by by the enquiries we get both on the phone and the questions people write into the forms on our website. And yes, it certainly can be a difficult hurdle to get over right at the tail end of a development project. None the less, it’s an extremely important stage to get right as we’ll show later. It appears that there a variety of misconceptions about what Plan Sealing is, how to go about it and what’s involved. So what are those misconceptions?


3 Common Misconceptions About ‘Plan Sealing’

plan sealing
Property Development is a process. Plan Sealing is an important step along the way
  1. That it only refers to subdivisions:-Sorry but Plan Sealing applies to both land subdivisions [ROL’s] as well as Town House and Home Unit developments [MCU’s]. It is the final stage of having to deal with Council prior to approaching the Land Titles Office for your new titles.
  2. That it’s something that happens at the beginning-Getting your plans approved:- Well no, that’s actually a part of what’s called getting your Development Approval, or Council Consent, your DA. Notice that we said “a part of” and that’s because the plans only form part of the DA. Another critically important part are the development approval conditions. And this is where you are getting a bit closer to what’s actually involved with Plan Sealing as you will see.
  3. That it happens automatically when the works are finished:- There is nothing that is automatic about getting your plans sealed by Council other than the need to hand over more fees and contributions to the Council. Plan Sealing is all about ensuring a project’s compliance with approved plans and conditions. Council’s everywhere are cracking down on this, being a lot more fastidious than they once were. This leads them to take longer and don’t for a moment think that hiring a private “Seal Smart” accredited Consultant will allow you to side step things as they need to be fastidious too if they don’t want to lose their licence / accreditation – in fact possibly more so. Brisbane City Council have the “Suburban Construction Management Task-force” [SCMT] which is a part of their Development Assurance Unit.



4 Tips That’ll Smooth Your “Plan Sealing” Experience

  1. Start Early:- Property development is a process – there are many hurdles to jump over along the way, boxes to tick and ‘t’ s to cross etc. Whilst Plan Sealing is the final stage of the development process it doesn’t mean that you leave it’s consideration until the last stage as many sadly do. We suggest that you begin preparations at the very beginning of the Operational Works stage.
  2. Be Organised – Know precisely what all the development conditions are and understand what they involve and who will carry them out and when in what order. Co-ordination and correct management is paramount throughout this stage and if you don’t have a professional Project Manager, you’re it. Don’t just rely on one of your other professional consultants to do it thinking she’ll be right. Make a list and discuss with all parties involved including all your consultants, the various contractors and the various regulatory bodies who’s approvals you will need such as Council, Energex, QUU etc. Review these regularly through this process.
  3. Council Checklist:- These days many Councils have a Plan Sealing checklist to assist. In some cases it needs to accompany the Plan Sealing application. Don’t wait until you make that application to get your hands on the checklist, get it early and then make sure to review when you do submit ensuring that it hasn’t changed. For some projects it may even be worth considering bonding incomplete works early to avoid hold ups at the end by potentially unknown factors that may be outside your control. Again, consideration of this is not something that you leave until the end.
  4. Money:- When you apply to have your plans sealed and submit your Plan Sealing application there’s an application fee to pay as well as an inspection fee. And, of course, before Council will hand your sealed plans back to you that is when you must pay all assessed contributions. However, what is sometimes overlooked is the need for all outstanding Council Rates to be paid up – best finalised around the time you submit your plans if not earlier, as your plans will not get sealed until this is done.
plan sealing
Start early – don’t wait til the last hurdle

Plan Sealing – why it’s so critical

In another article we discuss this in detail exploring why and what is actually involved with Plan Sealing. We also talk about what can go wrong highlighting one very expensive example in Camp Hill, Brisbane that went very wrong. If that’s of interest to you then just click this link.

Need Professional Help?

If you feel that you would prefer someone to assist with this then we stand ready to get involved. One word of advice though – just like our advice to you above – we’ll be most effective and least costly if you involve and engage us early, don’t wait for the proverbial you know what to hit the fan. Yes, we can still help you out at the end if you leave it until then [we’ve got a lot of experience in that] but we’re much more effective and cost efficient if you get us involved earlier. To find out more click here.