Unit Development Feasibility Report
Many clients phone asking us how many units will fit on their block or a property they are looking at purchasing. Actually a better question in the first instance would be “Am I allowed to subdivide my allotment as not many people know that not all Melbourne properties can be subdivided.” We have saved some of our clients 10’s of thousands of dollars in researching the answer to this question.
Items that may prohibit unit development including but not limited to:
- Single dwelling covenants on title
- Section 173 agreements on title
- Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Overlay on land (more than 2 dwellings)
- Contaminated Land whether former land fill or industrial waste disposal
- Easements whether on title or implied located within middle of property
- Land subject to flooding or inundation
- Land subject to Aircraft Noise
When it is ascertained that there is nothing that prohibits building units on the allotment then the next important question to ask is not necessarily “How many units can I fit on my land?” but what number and configuration may be the most profitable? You see it depends on what configuration is in high demand in your area. For instance it may be more profitable to be able to fit 3 decent sized 3 bedroom dwellings, or 3/ 2 bedroom units as compared to 2/3 bedroom units. Sometimes a mix of dwelling types is important as you then cover a wider cross section of the potential purchasing community. No need to worry about this, we take all of this into account when trying to maximise your site’s potential.
Items that may reduce number and/or size of potential units
- Restriction placed on land by Council’s Planning Scheme (Schedule 1 of Residential Zone) – increase in setback, open space, built form area requirements
- Land within a Heritage Overlay area or another Overlay that has the potential to place additional requirements on the proposal
- Land close to Secondary Federal Airports (limits on density of development)
- Land subject to flooding or inundation – placing of minimum floor heights above ground level etc
- Vegetation Overlays – restriction on removal of significant vegetation
- Whether Council have any special Neighbourhood Character Policies
- Whether land abuts a VicRoads Category 1 Declared Road
- Previous Council or VCAT decisions on the site
- The Orientation of the site
- The Fall of the site
- The average setback of adjoining neighbours
- The location and orientation of adjoining habitable room windows
- The location of speed humps, school crossings, power poles, significant street trees, traffic signals or bus stops in the vicinity of the site
- Whether the existing fence lines encroach into title boundaries
Another question that we believe is vital especially for those looking at purchasing a development property in this competitive market is. “Is there something that you can identify about the property that will reduce the size or the number of potential units on the property or something that may significantly increase the cost of a permit or the cost of construction which I should know about?
To be able to investigate whether this is feasible, it is important to investigate the adjoining setbacks, site orientation, location of adjoining windows, location of any significant tress, land slope, zoning, special council requirements, whether the land has additional restrictions or overlays and a number of other factors.
Items that may affect cost of permit and/or cost of construction and/or delay in obtaining permit including the costs and/time delays associated with :
- Location of legal point of Storm Water Discharge
- Complying with Aboriginal cultural Heritage Overlays
- Retaining walls and protection works due to the slope of the site
- The protection of significant trees on site or on adjoining properties
- Providing acoustic sound attenuation measures when building close to Federal Airports
- Engaging environment engineers to provide an Environmental audit and to clean up contaminated sites or methane gas audit
- Requirements imposed by Melbourne Water when building on land subject to flooding or inundation
- Requirements imposed by VicRoads and the costs associated with traffic engineer’s services
- Council’s engineering department requiring stormwater retention systems or dual pump systems
- Council placing a condition on permit for the development to comply with Sustainability regulations
- Design of footings on problem soils or adjacent to deep services
- Relocating and providing new sewer point for adjoining properties that current share the sewer point
- Relocating existing sewer point where this can be prevented at the design stage.
- Relocating, bus stops, electrical power poles, speed humps, service pits etc when allowed by relevant authority
- Making an application to VCAT or defending an application at VCAT
- Selection of finishes , fixtures
- With a design that has wasted space either dead spaces or spaces that are inefficient for the placement of furniture
- The designer not taking into account at the planning permit stage the fall required for the storm water to be collected without the initial costs associated with a dual pump system and their ongoing maintenance costs.
- The designer not considering the floor levels at the planning permit stage which can affect the site and retaining wall costs during construction.
- Any errors on drawings that will necessitate the costs and severe time delays associated with trying to amend the planning permit.
Whilst each site is unique, our Development Case Studies may provide a guide as to the sort of densities we have achieved on different sized blocks.