Dwelling House Application Requirements

What do I need to lodge a DA involving a house?

Undertaking a development application is a lot more fun when you know upfront what documentation you will require! Each dwelling house site will have its nuances and there will be slight variances to the below but this should help you get started. If ever in doubt call your local Council or a private town planner.

Proposal Plans

Whether you are proposing a new house, extensions or partial demolition of a house you will require a full set of building proposal plans. The full plan set should include a site plan, elevations, floor plans and in some instances your town planner may suggest additional plans to assist with your application such as a shadow diagram. These proposal plans can be prepared by an Architect, Builder, Draftsman or Building Designer

Town Planning Report

The town planning report will cover all the assessable components of the proposal as well as provide an assessment against the local and State legislation. The planning report will also be inclusive of State and local Council lodgement forms.

Owners Consent

The consent document is a one-page form signed by the current property owner as listed on the property title.  If you have recently purchased your property you may need to provide the contract of sale as proof of ownership as it can take time for the titles office information to filter through to Council systems.

Consultant Reports

If your property is affected by an overlay such as a Flood Overlay, Biodiversity Overlay or Bushfire Hazard Overlay you are likely to require a specialist report providing design advice and to support your application. Your town planner will identify which consultant reports are necessary and assist you to obtain quotes.

*Please note this information is relevant for Queensland development applications to be lodged with local governments only. Urban Planners Queensland lodge applications within South East Queensland, specifically we work with Brisbane City Council, Logan City Council, Gold Coast City Council, Ipswich City Council, Redland City Council and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.


What is a House Mullet?

What is a House Mullet?

Contrary to what you might initially think, house mullets are actually quite cool, exciting and trendy.

The house mullet is about retaining the ‘business’ of a building along the street frontage and then creating this modern ‘party’ of architecture at the rear.

These types of renovations enhance a buildings harmony with the streetscape but where you leave the visibility of the front façade you can go as wild as you want (within reason and planning codes).

This is an excellent choice for people who like the combination of both traditional and modern architecture.

Below we have gathered some local Brisbane Mullet House examples alongside national ones.

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Design by Studio15B (Brisbane)

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Design by Leith Architects (Brisbane)

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Design by Doherty Design Studio (Melbourne)

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Design by Foomann Architects (Melbourne)

Buying Property & Town Planning

Due diligence on any significant purchase is a must!

You need to do your homework before you make an investment.

This is especially true when buying property. Fortunately, it’s become almost second nature to seek out a number of different professionals to help ensure you have the best possible information to act on.

You know to engage an inspector to ensure there isn’t anything seriously wrong with the property and to acquire the necessary approvals for the building, and to ensure that boundaries of the property are in the proper positions. You consult a financial professional to help you arrange financing and ensure you can pay for and afford your new property. And, you know to have a solicitor undertake important legal searches.

However, many buyers overlook the value that an urban planner’s knowledge can bring to a property purchase. This is especially true if you plan on renovating, developing your property or selling it again in the future.

Urban planners can provide you with a property appraisal which can give you a good foundation to start from. Most importantly, urban planners can give you a realistic sense of what is possible. Too often, I see people purchase a property with a plan to build only to discover later that they need a development approval which is not likely to be granted. This results in stress, heartache and financial pressures.

Development is heavily restricted and sharing your plans with an urban planner before your purchase can help you understand what’s possible and what you can reasonably expect. Many simply do not know that there are approvals required on what we would consider relatively small projects, like building a deck. There’s simply nothing worse than purchasing a property with that beautiful new deck in your mind’s eye only to realise you are not allowed to build it after you have signed the dotted line.

Here’s a few things we do when we undertake our property appraisals:

  • COMPLIANCE: We want to ensure your planned development complies with local laws. We’ll let you know what does and doesn’t and help you make a decision on your property purchase with the laws in mind.
  • CLIENT OBJECTIVES: We take a commonsense, realistic look at what you want to achieve. Sometimes it simply isn’t possible with the property the customer is currently considering. We’ll tell you that right up front and give you some options to consider.
  • TIMELINE + PRICE: Do you have time or budget constraints? The fact is that sometimes it will take months for the Council to process your proposed works and there is a cost associated with most development applications. We’ll give you a good idea of costs and how long your planned development projects will take.

Contact Urban Planners Queensland on (07) 3535 0656 for a Property Appraisal prior to your next real estate purchase.

For sites that have a little more development potential, one of our urban planners can prepare a Development Options Report which looks at the properties opportunities and constraints in greater detail to help you make the best investment possible.


Can I split it?

It is fairly uncommon to find a simple splitter block these days but there are a few tricks to finding something others may overlook. It can be a matter of knowledge, timing or sometimes just plain luck!

There are a number of issues that can arise on a property that seem like obstacles to splitting them, however, with some creative solutions and expert advice you can come to the desired outcome and get started.

Below we have identified some common issues our clients face when looking to subdivide and how these can be addressed.

Potential issues: 

  • Protected Trees
  • Underground Infrastructure
  • Irregular Shaped Allotments
  • Telegraph Poles
  • Steep Topography
  • Existing Buildings

Protected Trees 
All street trees within the Council verge are protected. Property owners require permits to remove or prune this vegetation. Small to medium sized trees are (in our experience) always approved for removal where required, with applicants paying a small sum for trees to be replanted elsewhere.  Larger trees such as a Fig tree or Jacaranda may have a higher level of protection on your property or within the Council verge. Where possible, great effort should be taken to ensure the retention of these trees and in some instances, an arborist will be required to provide specialist advice.

Underground Infrastructure
It is quite normal for established allotments to have underground infrastructure running through the property. Sometimes this infrastructure is not neatly located along the boundary but can work its way directly across the allotment on a diagonal. It is important to identify all pipes and telecommunications infrastructure below ground prior to going ahead with any subdivision. In some instances pipes may be redundant, can be removed or capped and others may need to be relocated to enable future development to occur legally.

Irregular Shaped Allotments 
Sometimes you will find a large allotment which falls a couple of square metres short of the Council requirements for subdivision, the length of the block is shorter than the width or the boundaries are not on right angles. While many consider this a ‘red flag’ issue, it does not always result in a lost cause. Council’s often accept alternative solutions to their ‘requirements’ where they are factually and succinctly supported by an urban planning consultant. Items that can be used here include noting the retention of a character building, applying for a combined subdivision and new use development or reviewing similar approvals.

Telegraph Poles 
These utilities can on occasion sit in the perfect driveway spot or view point. Prior to submitting a development application for reconfiguration, it is strongly suggest advice be sought from your local utilities authority. Requests can take a number of weeks to process with advice being provided on whether the telegraph pole or poles can be removed and relocated. If approved, the cost for pole relocation is often estimated to cost around 15k.

Steep Topography
There are a number of ways your can work with steep topography when it comes to construction. A common problem that can arise during a subdivision application however, is legal discharge of water. It must be demonstrated in any subdivision application that stormwater can be directed to the kerb and channel of the street. If your site slopes away from the street, this can be an issue.  Sometimes a little fill on-site is required, or consent from a rear owner to discharge through their property. If the solution is not immediately clear, advice can be sought from a hydraulic engineer.

Existing Buildings 
It would be great if all previous land holders had built their houses to the side or front of their property to allow future subdivision, this however is rarely the case. If you have a site with a protected character or heritage building overlapping the proposed new boundaries, you may need to evoke one of the following solutions; utilise an easement document, apply for partial demolition, or create an irregular shaped allotment around the existing building.

I hope you found the above points an insight to some of the issues of subdividing land. Should you require further assistance identifying specific Council requirements for subdivision in your region please do not hesitate to contact UPQ on (07) 3535 0656 or admin@upqld.com.au

5 reasons why a Town Planner should be your best friend

1. Upfront Appraisal

All too often people spend time and money purchasing a property and having designs drawn, only to find out their project is in conflict with their Council’s legislation. Many properties can also have ecological protection or limitations that you need to know before planning a project. An Urban Planner will perform upfront investigations to identify potential issues with legislation. A small investment in expert knowledge today can save you a far greater expense later on.

2. Reduce Risk

Much like any expert, urban planners use their knowledge and experience to reduce your risk of failure. We are here to assist you to realise your property goals by providing upfront advice. You want someone to tell you honestly what is possible and what will be a challenge potentially costing more time and funds. Working with an urban planner early in your project and throughout its duration dramatically increases your chances for development approval. An experienced town planner will ensure you are well informed with honest information to make better decisions.

3. Prosper

Urban planners can assist you to achieve the highest possible development yield on your property. We can justify slight variances to Council requirements based on legislation and town planning grounds. As a recent example, a client was told they could only build two units, we negotiated 3 units based on the sites location, ecology, topography and final design.

4. Save Time

Urban planners are great project managers. We understand the basics of engineering, architecture, landscape design and ecology which assist us to make more informed choices and get the most out of the specialist consultants attached to your project. We know who to ask, what questions to ask and when to ask them. Projects managed by the less informed can take longer, cost more and add stress on all stakeholders involved.

5. Better Outcomes

Urban planners are privy to endless developments and even though we like to leave the designing to the experts we can come up with some creative solutions to see projects realised. Urban planners are trained to look at the big picture, we draw together all property disciplines to encourage harmonious developments within specific legislation.