• Swarup Dutta

Subdividers-Watch out for pipes!

Updated: Aug 28

Our regular client was on the hunt for another development site!


The property development bug was in his system. He is a successful finance guru with a portfolio of some 15 properties.


He runs a business with his lawyer-conveyancer wife while caring for their new-born and 2 lovely dogs.


We've just got him approval for a tall duplex with water views near Brisbane and designing a luxe 1000 sqm. home for pandemic living near Melbourne. It will be like a self sufficient resort.


This couple is full on- like me- 24/7 almost!


He kept buzzing me. He found this incredible 1200 sqm.vacant corner site near a good school.


"Can we build 6 units?" he asked.


On a high level basis without going through documentation, I thought that is possible but advised him to get the Section 32.


When the Section 32 arrived I was shocked. I checked the title as I always do. There were no Covenants or Section 173 Agreements on the tile.


Watch out for single dwelling covenants. It means just that. You need the covenant removed / varied to build more than one house on a block!


The corner block had no easements. Great.





The Contract said no services were connected. I thought that is OK there are unit developments across the road.




I then looked for the sewer diagram. If it's missing in the Contract order one from Dial Before you Dig. It's a free service.


I rechecked the Zoning. That was fine. There were no planning overlays. Great.


The sewer diagram showed the sewer running within the property even though there were no easements on the title plan! This happens. The red dots are manholes!


The sewer owner (authority) will want all new buildings to be at least 600mm away from the sewer and at least 1metre away from the manholes.


His 6 townhouse dream was shattered.


I asked to see the Permit Conditions . It said a 2.5m wide easement must be provided in favour of the sewer authority. In other words, you could draw a 2.5m wide "road" over the sewer and then build on the land unaffected by this imaginary road!


One still had to locate each dwelling based on the boundary setback requirements of the Zoning. In some instances it could be a 9 metre setback from the front boundary and 3 metres from the side boundary.


That leaves little land for 6 units I advised.


One could relocate the sewer if the land had high value. This block was in the outskirts of Melbourne and such an expense would ruin the viability of a project.





My client friend sent me a note:


Thanks mate. Great block but you save us. We could have blindly put an unconditional offer.

You are the best.

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