How do I know if I need a Town Planner?

20 May 2019

If you’re embarking on a large scale building project - whether it be commercial, industrial, or residential - it may be obvious that you will need a town planner.

But if you are looking at altering or building a home, wanting to subdivide, open a retail shop or erecting some new signage, it might be less clear if you need a town planner.

Some questions to ask yourself when deciding if you need a town planner may include:

  • Do I know what I can do with the property I am purchasing?

  • Are there easements, statutory covenants or other encumbrances?

  • Is this a medium to large scale project?

  • Is there complexity involved?

  • Does my zoning and applicable overlay(s) permit the work I would like done?

  • Is a favourable outcome critical?

  • Am I confident of council making the right decision and interpretation of requirements?

  • Should I be having a prelodgement meeting?

  • Does the application have to be referred to other agencies and, if so, what are their requirements and costs?

  • Have I been adversely impacted by recent changes and is there an opportunity to request to be assessed under the superseded requirements?

  • What costs are involved and do infrastructure charges or licence fees apply?

  • What other approval(s) may be required that council’s town planner may not have informed me about?

The bigger the project the more likely you are to need professional town planning advice. For example, you could manage a simple driveway permit, but if there are street trees, power poles or boundary issues it might be too complex to do yourself. Things can also get more complicated if a property has multiple overlays or your proposal does not meet the “accepted development” requirements.

Something else to consider is how important the project is to you. Can you afford to waste time or money (or both) not getting your approval the first time? Preparing a development application, permit application or other types of documentation for council approvals also takes expertise. If you try to do it yourself there is a risk you may forget to include something in your application. If this is the case council may reject it or ask for further information. This adds time to the process, which could be avoided with professional advice.

If you are unsure whether you need a town planner, or you suspect you might, then it doesn’t hurt to contact us and discuss your project. At Consult Planning we offer obligation free quotes. All you need to do is email us via or give us a quick call on 1300 017 540.

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. Requirements and standards frequently change so every individual proposal should be thoroughly investigated.