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Securing the Correct Permits

One of the key roles of a town planner is to help you secure the correct permits for a development project to move forward. The application processes for these permits requires experience and expertise in the field and sound understanding of the legal regulations in order to move ahead as quickly as possible – without a town planner on your team managing your permit process, a project can experience severe frustration and costly delays.

When is a Permit Required?

Almost all development in Victoria requires securing the correct permits in order to proceed, including the submission of a development application, which applies to changes in land use, advertising displays, building work and land subdivision projects.

In addition, a planning permit maybe required if:

  • A property is on a site less than 500 square meters
  • A property is located within a Heritage Overlay area
  • The project includes high-rise apartments
  • The project includes residential buildings
  • The project involves extensions to high-rise apartments or residential buildings

For larger developments, it is essential to understand the relevant zone and any other provisions that apply to the property.

Building and Planning approval in Victoria

A planning permit from the local council is required initially before any construction or development of the land or existing buildings takes place. In order to grant the permit, local council will require an extensive proposal that details the proposed design of the development, planning report, shadow diagrams and more – all of which a town planner can assist with.

Each council has its own planning scheme with specific policies that apply to that area, and your development will be assessed against these policies. This may include council-wide policies, zone-specific policies or policies applicable to a precinct within a zone.

A building permit is the next stage, and consists of documentation certifying that the proposed development complies with local building regulations. It’s granted by a municipal building surveyor from the local council and is essential for any development project, ensuring that the work that will be undertaken will meet the specifications set out in the Building Rules, including the Building Code of Australia and relevant Minister’s Specifications.

While the permit process can seem like a challenging one for developers, it is important and provides extensive protection, ensuring that contractors working on your project are properly registered and insured, that your structures meet building legislation and are regularly inspected for safety and other issues, and that the result of the development is a sound and high-quality structure suited to its purpose.

Assessment Times for Securing the Correct Permits

State Government regulations stipulate that applicants can refer their application to VCAT if Council fails to make a decision within 60 days of receipt. If you are asked to provide further information, it is 60 days from the date all the information is received.

Realistically, depending on the size and detail of the proposed works, it can take anywhere from four weeks for small applications, and many months for large scale applications. The more steps needed to pass through in the assessment process, the longer a decision is likely to take.

For example, an application for four storey apartments may need to go through the following stages (please note timeframes are estimates only and will vary): > Referrals – 4–8 weeks > Public notification (including newspaper advertising) – 4–6 weeks> Community consultation meeting (if deemed necessary) > Reporting – 2–4 weeks > Assessment by IDAC – 2 weeks > Review by VCAT – 12 weeks Total: 28–36 weeks

On the other hand, an application to replace a front fence may involve no public notification or attract no objections and skip straight to: > Reporting – 1–2 weeks > Assessment and then a decision by a senior planning officer – 1–2 weeks Total: 2–4 weeks

Development Permit Fees

Both planning and building permits require a fee in order to be processed and granted. This fee varies according to the nature of the development and the involvement of different professionals in the granting of the permit.

Planning and responsible authorities provide services under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 which attract a fee in accordance with the Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016 which can be found through this link.

To assist in determination there are also planning consultant fees, land surveyor fees, draftsperson fees and building consultant fees, if required. Professional services like these and town planner services result in a very high-quality application, shortening decision time-frames and assisting in the assessment process. Investing in these services are more likely to save you money over the lifetime of the project.

Make Securing the Correct Permits for Your Development a Priority

If you’re interested in securing the correct permits for your development and ensuring that this process is smooth and professionally managed from start to finish, speak to the team at Property Change in Melbourne.

For over 15 years, we’ve dealt with planning permits under the town planning schemes of local governments, focussing on building and works projects, land use permits, and heritage developments. We have successfully worked on a wide range of projects, from residential developments to energy and renewables projects, healthcare and aged care developments, retail projects and industrial developments.

Whatever your development, we can assist you in securing the correct permits.

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