Property Subdivisions

Need help with your property subdivision? You’ve come to the right place.

Consult Planning has extensive experience preparing and submitting development applications for property subdivisions in Brisbane and other parts of Queensland.

To get you started, our town planners offer a free desktop assessment to identify any relevant site issues and provide a tailored fee proposal for your project. We provide advice on how to subdivide land as well as how much it is likely to cost to subdivide in terms of development application fees.

Subdivisions can be tricky, so Consult Planning has compiled some helpful information about residential subdivisions in Queensland. While the issues listed are also relevant for non-residential subdivisions, there are some key differences when it comes to infrastructure charges and services. To save time, money and a little sanity, a site-specific consultation is always recommended.

How to subdivide land

Consult Planning describes the subdivision process in three easy-to-understand stages.

  • Stage 1: Development application
  • Stage 2: Engineering design and construction
  • Stage 3: Plan sealing and registration

What you need to know about subdivisions

Always engage experts and do due diligence

Residential subdivisions in Queensland can be a simple process once you know what to look for and the steps involved. This information is intended to provide a good overview as well as identify some of the traps you may be exposed to if the necessary checks aren’t performed. While helpful to understand the subdivision process, this information is not intended to help you bypass site-specific and professional town planning advice – expertise Consult Planning can assist you with.

For any subdivision proposal, a three-part initial analysis will take place investigating site constraints under the relevant planning scheme (such as lot sizes and dimensions), applicable regional plan, and the availability of services.  Any proposal to subdivide land will benefit from the experience and advice of property professionals including a town planner, civil engineer and registered surveyor. In some cases a site may have environmental constraints and an ecologist may also be required.

As with any development proposal, it is strongly recommended you engage an experienced and qualified town planner to determine any potential issues.

"Engaging professionals will help to minimise the risk of misinformation, misinterpretation or omissions in identifying whether subdivision is possible and any unknown costs which would have a detrimental impact on your feasibility."

A development application is required for subdivision

A subdivision application is a type of development application categorised as a ‘Reconfiguring a Lot’ (ROL) under the Planning Act 2016. Each council has their own planning scheme outlining their own specific requirements for zoning, minimum lot sizes, engineering standards and whether (or not) land can be subdivided. While there may be similarities between the zone names from one council to another, there can also be significant differences including the applicable assessment level - although in the most cases subdivision applications are code assessable (non-advertised) development applications. Find out more about development applications.

If an application is code assessable and fully compliant with the applicable codes, the Act states council must approve it. However, your subdivision won’t be possible if:

  • your site is in an unserviced area
  • the services to the area have capacity constraints
  • your neighbour does not agree to allow you access for services through their land.

In some cases, an ROL is impact assessable requiring a publicly notified development application. This is often the case where lot sizes are either non-compliant, a site is in a sensitive area, or within some low density and rural zones.  Some regional plans also have regulatory provisions which prohibit subdivision outside the urban footprint.

Strata title versus subdivision

Building format plan subdivision (excluding land) is commonly referred to as strata title subdivision and does not involve subdividing land. This divides a building, not the land, and is managed through a community titles scheme and body corporate. Typically this subdivision type is used for multiple dwellings and units and can only be registered once a development has been completed.

Strata titling is accepted (exempt) development under the Act and doesn’t need a development application. It does however, go through plan sealing and registration referred to as Stage 3 in the subdivision process. Stage 1 is not required for strata title, however Stage 2 may be required only when needing to augment services (water meters and/or sewer connections).

A standard format plan subdivision typically divides land only and not buildings. For this reason a subdivision development application is required. This subdivision type allows for vacant allotments to be subdivided and sold whereas strata title subdivision does not.

Why use a Town Planner and a surveyor

Town Planners are development application experts. Preparing and submitting development applications is what they do best. While some surveyors can submit an application to council, it’s not guaranteed they all have the same skill and expertise as a Town Planner.

Consult Planning are specialists in this field, and excel with industry best assessment timeframes to help our clients minimise holding costs. For this reason, the cheapest price is also not necessarily the best, as additional holding costs can quickly outweigh any perceived savings in consultant fees. If applications are inadequate, lack important information or your consultant is not an experienced negotiator, the application outcome can be compromised.

A surveyor is required for the survey portion in the subdivision process and town planners frequently work with surveyors on these project types. That’s why we recommend engaging both professionals.

You can find out more about subdivisions by clicking these links for the Subdivision Process, Property Subdivision Restrictions and Subdivision Costs.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, Consult Planning does not guarantee that this blog article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.