Are you considering a subdivision? Or do you own a block of land and would like to

do a development on your site?

Did you know that even though there is a development in your street you might not be able to do the same on your land? 

I have spoken with too many developers that have wasted lots of money and time. Only to find out that the development they intended to do was not possible. Or that they would not make any profit with the project.

There are 5 things you need to check before engaging a designer or an architect to draw up plans.

1 Check All Planning Regulations

Are there any overlays or zoning restrictions that might make a development difficult? Or even impossible?

For instance:

– minimum land size for a subdivision

– is there anything that reduces the potential build area?

Larger requirements for private open spaces or garden areas greater front, side or rear setback requirements stricter provisions for site coverage or permeable area

– maximum number of dwellings on site


2 Check Copy Of Title And Covenants

Is there anything on the copy of title that might hinder a development?

For instance, a single dwelling covenant. Or restrictions on building heights, materials and so on.


3 Are There Any Trees That Could Pose A Problem?

 Some sites have overlays in place to protect all significant vegetation. But even without overlays councils can be very protective of large trees. Especially if they are native.

Meaning a large tree in the wrong spot can put a dampener on any development goals. Even a tree on the nature strip or on a neighbouring property.

The size of the root zone of a tree will determine how far away a new construction has to be from the tree trunk.

My recommendation is to investigate any large trees on the site or in close vicinity. It is worthwhile talking with council. Or even to engage an arborist for an assessment.


4 What Can Actually Be Built On The Site?

 After you’ve checked points 1 – 3 you need to establish roughly what could be built on the site before making a decision whether you can maximise your return on investment.

Could you build two 4-bedroom units?
Or would you even be able to build three 3-bedroom units?

Can you keep the existing house and build a townhouse at the back?

Making sure you take into account all planning regulations. Allowing enough space for setbacks, parking, driveways, turning circles and private open space.


5 Do Your Market Research And Investigate Build Costs

This is the critical part where I have seen many investors fall short. Ending up with little or no profit.
It is important to investigate first whether the project is feasible at this stage.

Is it worthwhile to demolish the existing house and build 2 new town houses?
How much will a 3 or a 4-bedroom town house or unit sell for? Are they in demand or is there an oversupply?

And more importantly: how much will it cost to build those 2 townhouses?

We had one client, who had bought land with an okay house on it for 1.2 Million.
The existing house got demolished and they wanted to build two 4-bedroom townhouses. The construction of the 2 high end houses would have cost over 1 Million.

But the new townhouses would only sell for about 1.2 Million. In short, the project was not going to make much money. And the client sold the land with the planning permit.

It would have been more profitable to keep the existing house and build a new townhouse on the back. Or to build 3 smaller units.

As you can see, all 5 steps are crucial. One step missed can lead to a very low profit margin.


Do you need help with your townhouse or unit project?

Our experienced team at Gruen Eco Design can review your site for you. Verifying that nothing will hinder your project.

Making sure that you can maximise your return on investment. Before spending lots of money and time.

Learn more about our packages for developers by following the link below.