Subdivision & Development


Beginners guide to property subdivision.

This is a topic that I get asked about regularly. How do you know if it’s possible to subdivide your property, or a property that you’re looking at buying? What’s involved in the process, how long does it take and how much does it cost? Hopefully I can answer some of those questions for you below.

Residential subdivision, also sometimes referred to as developing, is the process whereby one parcel of land is divided into two or more pieces, which can then each be sold separately. The newly separate properties can be sold with a home already built, or as vacant land either with or without plans or permits for a new dwelling.

To find out if it’s possible to subdivide a property, you’ll first need to know the land size of the property, then you’ll need to check with the local council regarding which zoning and overlays apply. The key overlays to look for are called Design Development Overlays (DDO). These overlays restrict subdivision to minimum land sizes. If there is no DDO, then the next thing to look at is the zoning. As a rough guide, in Knox Council you typically need around 400m2 per lot in a Neighbourhood Residential Zone. If the property is in a General Residential Zone or Residential Growth Zone, this will usually allow for higher density townhouses or apartments. Other overlays to look out for that could possibly impede a subdivision include Significant Landscape, Vegetation Protection and Heritage overlays. If you’re still not sure, I’d be more than happy to take a look for you, or refer you to a specialist land development consultant for further advice.

Most subdivision applications go through three stages. Obtaining a Planning Permit, Certification, and then a Statement of Compliance. This can be a long process – often taking 12 to 18 months – and involves dealing with surveyors, town planning, draftsmen, arborists, and architects among others. The whole process can cost anything from $20,000 to $40,000 and upwards, depending on how many lots you are subdividing into, the shape and size of the block, the trees on the block and other factors.

With our collective experience, the office has put together a guide to the process of subdivision that is designed to serve as a roadmap and provide an estimate of costs. If you’d like a copy of this document, or any further information, please click the button below!

*Disclaimer: this article was written with Knox Council and surrounding suburbs in mind. The broad strokes should apply across Victoria too, but please seek further advice if you’re reading from a different state!