Subdivision Process

The three-stage subdivision process

We’ve found the easiest way to describe how to subdivide land and the subdivision process is in three stages. 

It’s an unofficial process described by us to help our clients’ understanding and is not referenced in the Act.

The entire subdivision process can take on average anywhere between six to nine months, depending on the scale and the civil works required which also directly impacts upon project costs. You are also able to consolidate the application components of stages one and two in council areas where there isn’t a separate water corporation. These stages are briefly described below.

Stage 1 - Development Application

An application for a Reconfiguring a Lot (ROL) is prepared by Consult Planning and submitted to council for approval. A typical code assessable application takes around three to four months (six months if impact assessable).

Some applications are eligible for the Brisbane City Council, Logan City Council and City of Gold Coast RiskSMART (fast-track) programs, and have a target timeframe for assessment and approval between one to four weeks.

This application involves assessing the proposed lot layout and engineering issues to see if it meets council’s requirements and can be adequately serviced. If the proposal represents an appropriate outcome, council will then approve the application and issue a development permit for ROL. Find out about engineering issues and restrictions which may prohibit subdivision. Any engineering issues should be resolved prior to submitting an ROL application within your due diligence phase.

This approval type has a currency period of four years – although a development approval can specify a longer or shorter currency period. All development approvals stay with the allotment and will benefit any successors in title if the property is sold.
“Any engineering issues should be resolved prior to submission of an ROL application.”

Stage 2 – Engineering design and construction

An ROL development approval will always include conditions requiring a range of works to take place. Some conditions will require Operational Works (OPW) applications to be submitted for approval, although this approach varies from one council to another.
Usually applications are for a detailed engineering assessment of your project’s design/s prepared by a civil engineer for items such as sewer main extensions, property connections, water connections or stormwater management, and are submitted to either council or a water corporation for approval. Once applications are submitted, they can take around one to three months to be approved depending on the statutory process.
Approvals will have a range of conditions for construction and documentation submitted, once construction has been completed. Construction of all required works conditioned under the ROL, or OPW are all completed in this stage taking the property to the point where all required infrastructure is in place (i.e. the site is fully serviced).

Stage 3 – Plan sealing and registration

Following stage 2, the registered surveyor will prepare the survey plan and either the surveyor or project manager apply to council for plan sealing through the relevant council. Plan sealing is where council review all relevant approval conditions issued about the subdivision and any subsequent approvals to ensure all conditions have been satisfactorily complied with.
Once council is satisfied all requirements are met, they will then seal the survey plan. It is at this point, council will likely allow a dwelling to be constructed on the new allotment. A private building certifier will also issue building approval, although this needs to be confirmed for each council. Once the plan is sealed, the survey plan will be submitted to the titles office for registration and new titles issued allowing property settlement to occur (where contracts for sale are in place).
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.