Real Estate Development – Applying For a Property Development Permit!

The development permit is one of the keys to a successful real estate development project. Problems getting a permit approved can cause major delays and result in increases in holding costs. We like to do everything possible to ensure in advance that our development application will be approved smoothly and quickly.

Once we secure control of a site, we assemble the project team that will design and document the proposed development in accordance with the requirements of the Local Authority, the design brief and development mix.

Depending on the complexity of the project, our real estate development consultant team usually consists of:

– Property Accountant
– Property Lawyer
– Architect
– Town/Land Planner
– Civil/Hydraulics/Structural Engineer
– Land Surveyor
– Landscape Architect
– Quantity Surveyor
– Finance Broker

Other possible team members, such as acoustic and traffic specialists, may also be required by the Local Authority to submit a detailed report with the Development Permit Application.

To minimise the risk of disputes, we create a written agreement with each consultant. The agreement we typically use describes, among other things, the basis on which fees are calculated, the fee structure and services to be provided at each stage and the method by which we agree for the consultant to proceed to the next stage.

The architect will draw up plans for submission to council (these aren’t the detailed plans required for construction) that fit in with the planning regulations and the local authorities development guidelines, using a contour survey prepared by the land surveyor. The town/land planner is often involved at this initial stage, providing advice on the overall planning policies of the Local Authority.

Today most architects use sophisticated 3-D CAD software to compile drawings as it allows for ‘virtual’ buildings to be created. This system has the added benefit of creating fly-throughs and 3D images (also useful for the sales process and submission to Council) as well as documentation of the building for the Development Permit Application and for Construction by the Building Contractor.

We normally tailor our designs and standard of finishes slightly above the requirements of our target market, so they stand out from other developments on the market. This way our projects have the potential to attract a premium rental and sale price plus it makes it a lot easier to sell, if we need to.

The Local Authority will assess the submitted Development Permit Application for its impact on the neighbours, local community and the environment, typically including:

– Privacy for neighbours
– Traffic generation
– Overshadowing of neighboursAdverse impacts on air, water, and noise levels
– Amount and type of waste the project will generate
– Other areas of concern include historic districts, parks, open space, trees, and wildlife habitats

If the consultants have all done their jobs well, most of these concerns will all be addressed to the satisfaction of the Local Authority within the development application, and approval should be given within a reasonable timeframe.

The actual development approval process will obviously vary between areas, and it is continually under legislative review, so up-to-date information should be obtained from the local authority and/or the Planning consultant on your RED Team.
After a Development Permit Application is lodged with the local consenting authority or Council it would typically follow something similar to the process below:

– Initial Review
– Expert Referral
– Advertising and Notification Period
– Assessment
– Outcome

Several factors can delay the development application consent process which can end up becoming costly to a property developer. Here are some of the most common assessment delays:

– insufficient information
– non-compliance with development rules
– poor designs creating unacceptable impact on the neighbourhood
– objections from neighbours or other groups
– unsatisfactory impacts on trees
– complexity of assessment reports
– external referral delays

It’s not necessarily the end of the process if Council has refused the development permit application. An experienced architect and planning consultant can greatly assist in challenging a planning decision.