Our Dual Occupancy Property Subdivision Success Story


Our real life - hands on, put your money where your mouth is- experience goes back to the 1990's when we did our own  successful Dual Occupancy  Property Subdivision in a neighbourhood totally averse to development. We faced many of the same town planning issues then as they  as exist today! From complex Council planning policies and controls, heritage issues, impact on  vegetation, neighbourhood character, adverse impact on amenities, on site drainage, traffic, strong objections from neighbours, presentation to full Councillors meeting and so on. We won a Planning approval for the first dual occupancy and that success rate,  experience and property subdivision experience carried through to managing  some 250 town planning approvals across all Melbourne Councils in the last few years,  resulting in  approvals for over 700 medium density homes,100 units,commercial office buildings and projects of other disciplines.



The  unrivalled planning approval success is based on humility, honesty, clever design and architecture, town planning in depth knowledge, smart planning strategy and implementation followed by  negotation skills, knowing what Melbourne Council's and VCAT  want and culminating in managing the entire planning application  process effectively with a view to obtaining great results for the property owners. 



Our founder has  managed multiple town planning permits  for dual occupancy ,triple occupancy and townhouse/unit developments from Melbourne Metropolitan Councils, including  Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik,  Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra and Yarra Ranges Planning Schemes to name a few.


We do the full design, town planning strategy, written reports, negotiations and VCAT appeals from one studio! Hopefully VCAT is not an option!


We renovated the existing house and  sold it for four times our purchase price when the average property doubled in value over seven years! That still left us with about 400 sqm of land on which we got approval for a second dwelling which was recently sold for over a million dollars.


Renovation adds tremendous value to older style houses. We opened up the rooms to make a more spacious living and family area.


The new kitchen with its breakfast sun room created a wow feeling which in turn opened  onto the deck we built and the backyard which was fully landscaped.


We added two skylights to bathe the living area with natural light- a tip I suggest you adopt if your family and living areas are dark.


We gutted both the bathrooms and added floor to ceiling marble titles to one bathroom which had its handmade marble bathtub and custom built free standing, double shower. ( my hands were  extremely sore removing the existing tiles from masonry walls and concrete floor)


We added WRC timber lined ceilings instead of the normal plasterboard- a small extra cost but a great result.


The tap fittings were an issue- they were the ones I saw in New York (MoMA) but to get a local plumber to adjust the copper pipe sizes to suit the existing house pipes were a challenge. But we did it and to this day I feel it was the bathrooms and well lit living areas  that helped sell  the original home which was built in the 1950s.


Next came the dual occupancy planning application.


Our neighbours were up in arms- WHAT! a dual occ in our neighbourhood was the common war cry. Not near my backyard was the common theme.


And to make matters worse we had a huge tree in the middle of the developable portion of the  land and that tree had a heritage listing!


Then came the barrister neighbour with his grand Victorian mansion  who just could not come to terms with a dual occupancy development in a blue chip locality and the opposition from neighbours on all sides- one of whom even had a ballroom downstairs).


I later ended up  doing the Development plans for their  land which was the first mansion with its own cricket pitch and of course the obligatory pool and tennis court.


The high class dual occ plans went through its motions and ended up in front of a full Council meeting.


And despite the planning officer refusing the Application, I managed to get the majority of Councillors vote in my favour. So that was the first home investment for me and an introduction on the politics and policies of town planning


That experience has been my faithful friend in some rather difficult and challenging planning applications I submitted or managed on behalf of myself or clients over the years. You just don't get that street smart  intel from University- even though I did my studies and Masters at Uni!

250 permits


Custom Design Service

Planning Permit

Building Permit

The first dual occupancy home was double storey with  three bedrooms, double garage and wore a traditional colonial facade in keeping with the neighbourhood which were dotted with heritage homes. Prior to that design I approached Hebel which was a new material in Australia  to see if they would partner my development. My German associate was instrumental in setting up their first plant and I was amazed to see how aerated concrete planks with reo dipped in hot plastic was baked in "ovens" and rose like bread!


The dual occupancy permit was followed by a two lot subdivision.


We had to remove some massive  trees along the driveway much to the dismay of the neighbours. We had to install all the services including onsite detention system  where we were the early adopters of Water Sensitive Urban Design rather than build huge concrete tanks or pipes which was beyond our budget!


The sale of our First Home Investment- a dual occupancy- created other development opportunities. Another owner built dual living home which was even more challenging to obtain planning approval for since the land was on Environmentally Sensitive Zone and had to be changed to residential which I successfully did after numerous meetings and one to the whole Management, GM down and Councillors. You see, a dual living home would block out the waterfront views to passing traffic! Another victory through serious homework. I felt I got an engineering degree at the end. The soil was super bad and drainage was 6m deep,


Then followed rezoning approval from the Planning Minister's office for  the next  boutique apartment development and so the story continues leading to major commercial and industrial projects where I managed the design and development process and successful negotiations with the all the authorities.


Need advice and help with your dual occ, multi unit property subdivision? Contact me on 0448 170 132 or complete the form. I will get back super fast.



AuArchitecture Melbourne

Mail only : #223, 2/134 Pascoe Vale Road ,Moonee Ponds 3039.


M:  0448 170 132 call me direct -7 days  from 9am to 7pm for the best advice on dual occupancy subdivision, custom home design, commercial projects  or town planning matters. 



  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

AuArchitecture will gladly donate  design and planning services  to charitable organisations worldwide. 

We would love to serve you through smart and beautiful  designs for your dream house, dual occupancy, townhouse or apartment projects or commercial and industrial buildings which makes  a difference.

I recall doing a

  • large multi unit  residential design with a sky-street on the fifth level for the kids to play in safety while  creating  a real sense of community living and  

  • a modular home design which grew with the family budget rather like a series of plug in components and 

  • the windmill house with views where each stair landing led to a different view and function and

  • right down to designing and obtaining planning permits for practical traditional designs to meet the family  or developer's budget and objectives.

Our Founder has  worked on hundreds of development sites for dual occupancy and townhouses. He worked on commercial, health, education, retail and leisure projects to name a few other disciplines.

Our professional designs are flexible to suit your vision and realistic to meet your budget.

We advise you must seek legal and financial advice prior to making a commitment on any property development venture. The opinions we provide are general in nature.

© Copyright