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Can you profit from subdivision? When can you sell the backyard? Can you subdivide? Free Site Assessment by Registered Planner.

4 Steps to Subdivision- the process and costs in Victoria

Free Property development & subdivision advice by Registered planner.When can you subdivide and sell?250+ permits managed.

AuArchitecture is Melbourne's  Property Subdivision Specialist with a competitive edge.

Benefit from  AuArchitecture's  design and town planning experience in dual occupancy, land subdivision and townhouse/multi-unit development.

  • We custom design the building  in collaboration with you.

  • We draw the  complete project- plans, elevations, shadow diagrams, sections and everything required by the Authorities.


  • We document the Town Planning, Building and Subdivision Permit Applications.


  • We write compelling Town Planning reports.

  • We manage the Application for you-  at Council (Town Planning Permit), the Registered Building Surveyor (Building Permit) or Subdivision (Subdivision Permit).

  • We team up with  all the required consultants - engineers, surveyors, energy report, Sustainable Design Assessment, arborist, heritage and others on our contact list.

Whether you subdivision or medium density project is in Melbourne or Regional Victoria, you too can benefit from  our one stop creative  design and detailed documentation service + the experience we gained from 250+ permits.

Swarup, our Founder has developed his own properties.
He is a  Registered Planner and affiliated to the Planning Institute of Australia,  Australian Institute of Architects & Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association.
He managed 250+ Property Subdivision approvals across Melbourne and regional Victoria for architects and developers.
He is an author, taught and assesses  architecture students work at University.

This collective synergy gives us the competitive edge over competitors, who may only be draftspersons, designers or town planners.


The synergy will deliver significant efficiencies and advantages for your project as we manage both architecture and town planning in house.

We work as a  team of Registered Professionals including Town Planner, Building Practitioners, land surveyor, engineers and Architects.

Are you thinking of subdividing your land or building a dual occupancy or townhouse development?
"We will have three homes on our block all with spectacular views across  the bay. The service given by Swarup has been faultless with both process and the design of both homes "....
J and E Rae

Your property development and subdivision compass. Can you subdivide? Registered Planner advice. 250+ permits managed.

Property subdivision



Subdivide your suburban backyard for a 2 or more  lot  Strata subdivision with shared driveway. Sell the new Lot or build to enjoy the profits!

Learn more.

Subdivision Plan

Large blocks for

Multi lot Subdivision

Subdivide your larger block for a multi lot subdivision. Each Torrens Titled  lot will be served by a public road. This is like a house and land type subdivision.

Learn more.

approved subdivision plan


Occupancy Subdivision

Side by side duplex, townhouse or corner lot subdivision is a 4 step process.

When can you sell the new lots? Learn more

Learn more about duplex subdivision.

Our services.

We deliver end to end property development solutions including:


  • intelligent design and inhouse architecture

  • effective town planning strategy

  • inhouse town planning reports

  • town planning drawings

  • project feasibility

  • land subdivisions- planning, survey, permits and documentation

  • manage town planning applications at all councils across Victoria

  • building permit

  • construction documentation

  • co ordinate other consultants services, including engineering, energy report, soil report, traffic, arborist and others to get your project started.  Read about our Specialist Services.

With over 250 planning permits personally managed by our Founder, why trust your project to inexperience?

Subdivision process for typical suburban block in Melbourne and surrounds.

The Process for subdividing a typical suburban block around Melbourne is :


Town Planning approval for the dwellings which will occupy the land followed by the building process (if you want to build) and then the land subdivision.

Town Planning Permit steps.

  1. The preliminary design is emailed to you for your review.

  2. Finalise plans  to prepare Town Planning drawings and Planning report which are done inhouse

  3. Submit Application to Council. We can include an informal application to subdivide. Any informal subdivision approval by Council is an “in principle” consent.

  4. You pay the Council application fee of around $1580 if the construction cost is less than $1.09m. We also purchase a recent copy of the title. Add around $700 application fee to apply for an informal subdivision consent.

  5. The application goes through the process at Council where design changes may be required by the Council.

  6. We make those changes at no additional fee.

  7. Council advertises the Application.

  8. Neighbours or anyone can object.

  9. Objections are responded to by me, and any compromise design solutions are offered. Again no fees are paid for this service.

  10. Permit issued which has conditions to be satisfied.

Building Permit steps.

  1. If you decide to build, we together with other consultants( engineers, energy consultant) prepare the drawings and documents for certification.

  2. The drawings are sent to tender.

  3. The builder starts construction only after the drawings are certified by a Building Surveyor.



Subdivision Registration  Steps.

If you decide not to build but want to subdivide the land so it can be sold - each with its title- then the process is:

  1. A Land surveyor draws the formal subdivision plan for certification by Council and acceptable by the Titles office. Additional fees apply- around $6000 (TBC) includes surveyors fees and application fees to the authorities.

  2. Each lot is connected to essential services ( sewer, water, electricity, gas etc) as per Council subdivision permit conditions.

  3. On completion of the connections, Council issues a Certificate of Compliance.

  4. This Certificate together with the formal subdivision plan is submitted to the Titles Office for Registration.

  5. The Titles Office registers the titles and issues Legal Titles and legal subdivision plans. You can now legally sell and settle the sale of each lot.

  6. The whole process can take upwards of 15 months. We can project manage this stage for an additional fee.


If you decide to build, the connections to services ( item 2) are done by the builder during construction.

Items 3 to 5 follow to complete the subdivision.

AuArchitecture have all the resources to complete the project.

Registered Architects

Registered Planner

Registered Building Practitioners

Engineers- structural and civil

Registered Land Surveyors

Building Surveyors

Other Consultants- energy, sustainable design assessments, arborists, traffic engineer and others.

Why us? We work tirelessly for your subdivision project!

We are committed to working with you from start to completion. Let's face it, property development will  encounter hurdles at Council, objectors or other stakeholders like the various statutory authorities; but we will be with you, shoulder to shoulder all the way.


Swarup, our Founder and Registered Planner, turned his first home into a successful subdivision.  He faced all the challenges you will - from neighbours objections, heritage issues, council planner's non support and more. His next development was more challenging! Swarup walks the talk!

Learn more about us and our process below.

31 councils.JPG

We work across Victoria and interacted with all Councils in Mebourne


Can you subdivide your land? Request your no obligation, high level advice. Absolutely free!


Most properties can be subdivided but at what cost is the question on the developer's mind!  The land zoning and the planning controls determine if the land is suitable for subdivision.


Some council's require lots to be of a minimum size.

The simplest subdivision is a dual occupancy where there are two dwellings on a block of land. That original block is then carved up into two lots with a common /shared driveway. This is an example of a Strata type subdivision. If the block is large enough you could have three or more townhouses with a common driveway.

In very large blocks, the parcel is  carved into smaller lots with named public roads, street lighting and  footpaths like you see in typical suburban neighbourhoods. In this instance the common driveway is replaced by a public road with no shared areas. This  type of subdivision can be seen in house and land offerings. These  lots are Torrens titled. Learn more about larger land subdivision.


Subdividing a typical suburban block is a four step process.

  •  To do a backyard type subdivision, we will submit an application to Council to subdivide the   land  for the subdivision permit. (The same process applies if building two or more units on a     vacant suburban block or one  with a house you will retain or subdividing a larger block of land).


  • In most suburban blocks and backyards, Council will also require a development application showing the siting of the second home in the backyard with  floor plans, elevations, shadow diagrams etc and a Planning Report demonstrating compliance with the planning scheme and in particular Rescode.

  • Council will issue a subdivision permit with conditions which requires certain works to be completed  (like connection of all services - water, sewer, power, NBN etc- to the new lot, the backyard in this instance). On completion of these works Council will issue a Statement of Compliance (SoC). A formal plan of subdivision will be drawn by our Registered Surveyor which is certified by the Council (certified plan).

  • Your conveyancer or lawyer or you can then lodge the SoC together  with the certified plan of subdivision to the Registrar of Titles, Victorian Land Titles Office.  That office will issue the new Registered Lots each with its own title.


Once the subdivision permit is issued by Council , you can start the sale process if you do not want to build. However any sale settlement will only occur after the lots are registered.

Learn more  about  when can you sell the new lots.


This process could take 12-18 months. You should budget around $30,000+ for a simple subdivision.

That will cover professional fees, connections and contributions for sewer, water, electricity etc.


Stormwater/drainage (  the civil works) itself can cost $10,000 upwards, depending on the civil engineer's design and Council's requirements.

If you decide to build the new house in the backyard, you could start the subdivision process once your builder installs the services to the new house and connects to all the essential services like sewer, water, power. You can then obtain the SoC and lodge with the formal plan of subdivision at the Titles Office.

In a typical suburban subdivision, a Dual occupancy - building two or more units in tandem (with  one unit behind the other ) requires a 3m wide driveway to the back.


There are other design  requirements to be addressed.


Site orientation, vegetation, shadowing are just some of the other design and planning criteria we analyse in the subdivision application.  


A side by side duplex type dual occupancy should ideally have a north facing backyard for bright and energy efficient  living spaces.


A wider frontage has design advantages. Some councils discourage duplexes on narrow sites.

AuArchitecture obtained a duplex on a 12m wide site in Yarraville for our dentist client who lived in Canada. We are working on a duplex for an 18m wide site for a Doctor who lives in Hong kong.


Learn more about dual occupancy subdivision  and site criteria below.

Building townhouses (units) on a block deploys the same design and subdivision principles.

Swarup the Founder of AuArchitecture  has obtained permits for 2-15+ units on a block.

Property subdivision advice by expert

Ready to find out what is possible on the land?

Complete the information below and Swarup our Founder will provide a no obligation, high level opinion  on the development potential ; and it's completely free.

Your information will always remain confidential.

Thank you. Your inquiry was sent to Swarup

The 4 steps to Subdivision.

  • A planning permit for the subdivision is granted under the provisions of the local governments Planning Scheme ( the planning “rules”)

  • Council certifies the plan of subdivision, which approves the subdivision under the Subdivision Act. A fee of around $200 is paid  for a simple two  lot subdivision

  • Thereafter the Applicant  must meet the Subdivision Permit conditions which includes  connecting the services like sewer, water, electricity, NBN etc).  On completion of these works Council issues a Statement of Compliance (SoC). In some instances these works can be deferred by way of a Section 173 Agreement.

  • Your conveyancer or representative can then  lodge the SoC and Plan of Subdivision documents with Land Victoria which allows new lots to be issued for each lot created under the subdivision.

How big is my new townhouse?

The first question on the property developer's mind is house and lot size then followed by " how many bedrooms?"

The developer can then estimate the cost to build the project, the selling price and the profit they might make.

AuArchitecture can provide a high level opinion of what Council would likely to support on the land. This is a complimentary service!

For a more detailed analysis and feasibility, AuArchitecture can be engaged to provide other. They include concept plan, feasibility, town planning drawings, town planning report, subdivision plans and construction (Building Permit) documentation. 

The size of the house on the block- be it a single dwelling, a dual occupancy or townhouse development- will rely on the Council's planning scheme ( the "rules").

We will calculate the size of each dwelling from the zoning, the schedule to the zoning, any other planning scheme overlays, the garden area requirements, the site coverage allowed and other factors which play a role on the size of the dwelling. 

Those factors could include the neighbourhood character to be met, Councils strategic plan for the area, vegetation on the land, on the nature strip and on abutting property to name a few.


The key items to consider for a fast appraisal are:


The Site coverage

Building Setbacks

Garden Area



Open Space


Driveways in Strata lot subdivision

Roads in Torrens title subdivision

Read on

When can you sell your backyard?

In many instances, the land owner might be thinking of selling the backyard or an apartment " off the plan". They could take a nominal holding deposit subject to legal contract terms. However the  settlement will only occur after the backyard/ the lot  is legally registered with its own title.

In one recent Chadstone project, the parents sold the backyard to their daughter, so she could start building her first home. 


They legally subdivided  the land before construction of their daughter's new home in the backyard.


We obtained their subdivision planning approval and permit for the new home in the backyard. 


  • The rear lot was connected to all the services,

  • Council then issued the Certificate of Compliance.

  • The formal plan of subdivision was drawn by our  Registered Surveyor.

  • They  registered these documents with the Titles Office. 

  • They legally sold the backyard  to their daughter who had obtained bank finance to purchase the Registered rear lot.

Contract of Sale - Special Conditions to sell the lot

Once Council granted a permit to subdivide the land, the Vendor's lawyers drafted a Contract to sell the new lot requiring a deposit.

It contained the standard terms and conditions. However Special Conditions were included as the new lot was not registered. In other words all the  essetial services were not connected to the lot as yet.

The Special Conditions could read like this:

25.1. Registration of Plan

25.1.1. This contract is conditional upon the Plan attached to the Vendor’s Statement (subject to any alteration thereto as hereinafter mentioned) being duly sealed and certified with a Statement of Compliance by the Council and registered at the Victorian Land Titles Office within twenty- four (24) months from the date hereof PROVIDED ALWAYS that the Vendor reserves the right to make such alterations to the Plan and the lot hereby sold or other lots in the Plan as may be demanded or requested by the Council or the Registrar of Titles as prerequisites to the sealing and registration of the Plan and such alterations as may be considered desirable by the Vendor or which it deems will assist in the registration of the Plan.

25.1.2. The Vendor will use its reasonable endeavours to cause the Plan to be sealed and certified as aforesaid as soon as practicable and will as soon as practicable thereafter apply to the Registrar of Titles for the registration of the Plan from the Victorian Land Titles Office without the Purchaser’s prior written consent and will with all reasonable diligence satisfy all requisitions made by the Registrar of Titles and will do all other things within its power to procure registration of the Plan as soon as practicable.

25.1.3. In the event of the Registrar of Titles failing to register the said Plan within twenty-four (24) months from the date hereof, either party will have the right to rescind this Contract by giving notice in writing to that effect to the other party prior to the Plan being registered.

25.1.4. If any requirement imposed in relation to the Registration of the Plan is in Vendor’s opinion too onerous for the Vendor to perform, the Vendor may end this Contract by notice in writing to the Purchaser.

25.1.5. In the event of either party electing to terminate this Contract pursuant to the rights conferred by this Special Condition herein all monies paid by the Purchaser on account of the purchase price shall be refunded to him in full but the purchaser shall not be entitled to any compensation from the Vendor in respect of any costs, fees or other expenses paid or incurred by the Purchaser in relation to or arising out of this transaction.

25.2. Alterations to the Plan

25.2.1. The Vendor reserves the right to make such alterations to the Plan, including to the Restrictions, as may be required to enable certification and registration of the Plan or which the Vendor may require and which do not materially affect the Property.

25.2.2. Subject to the purchaser’s rights under the Sale of Land Act 1962, the Purchaser must not make any objection or requisition or claim any compensation in respect of any excess or deficiency whether in area, boundaries, measurements, occupation or otherwise on the basis that the Plan as registered by the Registrar of Titles does not agree in measurement or otherwise with the copy of the Plan attached to the Vendor’s Statement or the Land as inspected by the Purchaser.

extracted from a contract prepared by lawyers.

Larger block subdivision

You might own a large parcel of land or are thinking of buying one for subdivision.


We can design the multi lot subdivision and do a feasibility report on estimated development costs.


We can apply and obtain the subdivision permit, write the Clause 56 report and have the formal plan of subdivision prepared for  Registration of titles. 


Council will require the lots to be connected to the services like sewer, water, power, etc as part of the Subdivision Permit Conditions.   


Construction of the Public Roads, individual crossings to each lot, footpaths, street lighting and landscaping are some other permit conditions to be satisfied. 

Once the Council issues the Subdivision Permit, you can offer the lots for Sale even before they are Registered, in other words you have not yet satisfied the Permit conditions like connecting all services to the lot.


Your lawyer can prepare Sale Contracts with Special Conditions which enables you to take deposits. Once the  Permit conditions are satisfied and the lots are formally registered with the Titles Office you can legally settle on the sale of these blocks.

In larger lot subdivisions you will usually have individual lots with Torrens title. In such subdivisions, the lots are serviced by a public road  which have footpaths, nature strips, street lighting etc.

The development costs are consequently higher with prices ranging from $40,000 upwards per lot and even as high as $110,000 per lot in some areas! 

On the other hand if you were to build townhouses, then the public roads will be replaced by a shared driveway. Development costs are less per lot in this type of Strata titled development, where sale prices may be lower. The owners share and maintain common property.

Common types of titles in Victoria, Au
Subdivision Plan

Torrens titled lots with public named roads, footpaths, nature strips with trees, street lighting.

Plan of subdivision
Subdivision plan

Strata titled lots with owners corporation, shared common driveways, common property.

About us.
Property subdivision advice by expert
PIA-Registered Planner

AuArchitecture is led by Swarup who is a Registered Planner and belongs to the Australian Institute of Architects.


He developed his own properties including subdivision and walks the talk. He can design for occupant comfort as well as deploy intelligent town planning solutions which resulted in hundreds of Victorian Planning Permits  ( 250 plus!).  He has interacted with most councils and that is an additional competitive edge. It's really a win win win  scenario.


He will give you an honest opinion of what council will support and not just what you want to hear! 

We will provide you with:

First the Town Planning Permit followed by the Building Permit if required.

The documentation are as follows:


  •  the design of the project- floor plans, elevations an all the other architecture drawings            required by council for a typical suburban subdivision ( see example​)

  • the town planning report

  • the subdivision plan

  • manage the Town Planning application at the council

  • after Council approves the Town Planning Permit,  we prepare the construction drawings      where engineering and other consultants are involved. This stage is called the Building        Permit. 


Swarup is supported by a Registered Architect and Registered Building Practitioner.

We get you  the Town Planning Permits for subdivision  and thereafter the Building Permit if you wish to build. The builder can submit a quote based on the Town Planning drawings and the Building Permit certified drawings. Your financier will require these drawings to lend.

We have all the consultants required for the project- land surveyor, structural, civil and traffic engineers, Building surveyor and Quantity Surveyor to name a few who will play a role in your subdivision.

AuArchitecture Projects

Duplex- subdivide the 2 lots before construction at Tarneit

Dual occupancy subdivision

Dual occupancy - 2 lot strata subdivision with shared driveway at Chadstone. Budget for $15K subdivision costs per lot.The rear lot was subdivided before construction.

Multi lot subdivision

Multi-lot  strata subdivision for townhouse project entering construction at Wallan.

The developer Strata titled the lots and sold all  8 units off the plan. The driveway is a common property shared by all 8 owners.

2 Lot corner site subdivsion

2 Lot corner site subdivision nea Bendigo. We subdivided the corner lot. The owner rents out the house and sold the corner lot.

28 lot Subdivision Plan

Multi lot Torrens Title subdivision. Budget for minimum $60,000 plus per Torrens titled lot.

Torrens Titled lots have wide public roads, footpaths, nature strps, street lighting which costs more to build than a townhouse site with a narrower driveway.

Duplex- live in one rent out the other at Blackburn

Multi lot subdivided estate interstate

approved subdivision plan
St Kilda existing_

Unusual subdivision at St.Kilda! The 1970's strata titled red brick villa is one of five in the development. We are doing an Air Space subdivision. The villa will be demolished to make way for three, two bedroom Strata units with roof gardens. Its the owners Super.


Please complete the Form below  and we can start the process.

The initial high level advice is 100% complimentary and without any obligations.

Duplex Dual Occ
Duplex subdivision
Townhouse-Unit development
2 lot subdivision
Subdivision plan

Two lot side by side subdivision

Two lot dual occupancy subdivision

Four lot subdvision with shared driveway

Read on   I    Recap   I   Relearn

More information on property subdivision


Property subdivision is the process or creating two or more blocks of land ( also known as Lots) from one parent block. Each lot thus created will have its own title.

The two common forms of titles in Victoria are Strata Title and Torrens Title. Simply put, Strata lots share common areas like a shared driveway or  a lobby whereas Torrens title lots do not.


Most suburban blocks fronting a public road  have Torrens Title. They are often subdivided to create two or more  Strata Titled lots- like a dual occupancy development.


Many developers use a dual occupancy to subdivide their block and  liquidate the hidden asset in your backyard.


A typical  dual occupancy  will adopt a strata type  subdivision where both the dwellings might share a common driveway. 

For the adventurous, one would demolish the existing house (if one exists) and build three or more townhouses, or an apartment type development or even a duplex type dual occupancy, where the two dwellings sit side by side.

These type of developments usually generate strata type lots with common property- like a shared private driveway  in a townhouse project or  the lobby, car park, service areas and  public corridors in apartments or industrial projects.

In larger parcels of land, the lots can be Torrens Titled where there is no common or shared  property. Driveways are replaced by wider public roads with footpaths, street lighting and each lot  is directly connected to the services.

Torrens titled blocks are more expensive to subdivide compared to Strata titled lots.

As a very rough guide, a two lot subdivision in a dual occupancy could cost around $30,000+  over and above building  costs. That amount is paid for works required by council before the new lot can be registered. The works include  connection of services to the new lot(s) like sewer, water, telecoms, power etc. There are contributions to be paid for such services.


If you are building three or more units (town houses) Council will require a contribution, which is usually around 5% of the land value.


Read more about  the costs involved.


A Torrens title lot on some blocks could cost in excess of $60,000  per lot where public roads with  footpaths, landscaping, lighting  kerb and guttering are designed to  carry  heavy trucks.

In a sloping site it could increase  to $70,000+

If one does the maths right, subdivision is a great way to build wealth. 


Our Founder subdivided his first home and invested the profits into other development sites. He is a Registered Planner with a degree in architecture. 

Contact him in confidence to find out if your property can be subdivided.

Learn more about the subdivision process and costs below. 

In a nutshell, the  subdivision process to obtain new titles is as follows:

  • Obtain subdivision approval from Council who will issue a Permit with Permit Conditions.

  • Satisfy those permit condition works- eg connect services like sewer, power and so on.

  • On completion of the works specified in the Permit Conditions Council, issues a Certificate of Compliance.

  • A Registered  Land surveyor prepares the Plan of Subdivision in the approved format for certification by council.

  • You or your representative can then lodge the Certificate of Compliance and Plan of Subdivision with the Titles Office and pay the appropriate fee.

  • The Titles Office then issues the legally registered titles and lot plan of subdivision.

Learn more.


Tax Implications.

You should seek specialist advise on such matters.

The following is an extract from the ATO website:

         Subdividing land

         If you subdivide a block of land, each resulting block is registered with a separate title. For capital                   gains tax (CGT) purposes, the original land parcel is divided into two or more separate assets.

         Subdividing land is not a CGT event if you retain ownership of the subdivided blocks, so you don't                   make a capital gain or loss at the time of the subdivision. However, you may make a capital gain or               loss when you sell the subdivided blocks.

        The date you acquired the subdivided blocks is the date you acquired the original parcel of land. The              cost base of the original land is divided between the subdivided blocks on a reasonable basis.

Typical backyard subdivision

Backyard subdivision- a dual occupancy.

The most common form of subdivision is retaining the existing home and building a new dual occupancy home  in the backyard ( or front yard in some instances) or on  the side, in corner sites.


A Town Planning Application is often required  for a second home on the block  in typical suburban blocks across Victoria. The Application documents include a suite of plans, elevations and a planning report.

After Council's  approval, you will need to satisfy the Planning  Permit conditions, like  connecting all the essential services to the backyard ( the new works), before  you can register the new lot (s) with the Land Titles Office.

In some instances,  some Council's will enter into a Section 173 agreement which defers doing those works.

Most developers build the new dual occupancy house connected to power, water, NBN, sewer and other services, then subdivide, register the new lots and then sell the new lot with the new home to maximise profit.


Others just connect the services  and sell the new lot(s) or  if acceptable to your local council, enter into a Section 173 Agreement  which is drafted by Council's lawyers for a fee.


In many instances, they move into the new home and sell the front home to enjoy tax benefits.

These  lots are usually strata titled with common property like the shared driveway.

Site criteria.


In the typical backyard subdivision, the vehicle access to the backyard is important. Your land must be able to  accommodate a 3 metre wide driveway  to service the rear. The 3 metre distance is measured from side of existing house to side boundary (fence in some instances).

In multiunit developments the driveways might be wider than 3 metres.


Each dwelling ( including the existing house)  must satisfy the planning requirements.


They include:


  • providing  private open space (POS)  located in the side or rear of each dwelling

  • POS access from a living area in the dwelling

  • parking (1 car space for 2 bedrooms and 2 spaces  for 3 or more bedrooms- an enclosed study is now classified as a bedroom)

  • Councils discourage parking in the front yard

  • driveway design and turning circles

  • orientation of living room

  • energy efficiency

  • impact of overshadowing on neighbouring land to name a few. Councils discourage parking in the front yard.

What is the Ultimate Dual occupancy site? Read on....


There are a host of other planning requirements to satisfy, including satisfying the standards of Rescode, commonly known as Clause 55.


In  dual occ or unit developments, the zoning, the schedule to the zoning, planning overlays, vegetation, any minimum lot sizes prescribed by council, streetscape/neighbourhood character, non restrictive title, easements and other requirements  will determine if you can develop and then subdivide the typical suburban block.

If subdividing a large block or acreages, green or brownfield sites, the design of the new lots, lot size, zoning, overlays, access, provision of services to each lot and compliance with Clause 56 are some of the planning requirements to be satisfied.

Side by side - Duplex subdivision

High land value and/or  poor condition of existing house could result in demolition of the existing house on a block  for a side by side 2 lot subdivision.

Some council's require minimum width for the front boundary for a duplex.


A north facing rear  boundary  ticks more planning boxes than others; as the new unit(s)   will cast less shadows on neighbouring land and provide opportunities for energy efficient living.

The duplex subdivision can, in some instances, be two Torrens titled lots (highest resale value) or strata titled blocks.

AuArchitecture are subdivision specialists. We design the new dual occupancy or town houses, apply for the planning and subdivision permit and guide you through the maze of planning requirements.

Our land surveyor provides all the necessary subdivision plans  for the registration of each new lot.

Contact us for a complimentary site assessment.

Can you subdivide  your land? Find out if you can within 24 hour.


What are the 4 steps to a  subdivision? When can you sell the backyard? Can you subdivide your backyard? Free Opinion.

What are the two common types of subdivision? Read on
What are the subdivision costs ? Read on
What are the steps to a  Subdivision? Read on
When can I sell my backyard? Read on
What is the Ultimate development site?
Can you subdivide your land? Complimentary advice. Contact us.

Different types of subdivision- which one is yours?

3 unit development Casey council

Corner block subdivided into 3 strata lots due to shared connections to services. Adjoining dual occupancy strata lots with one unit behind another sharing common driveway.

Torrens title subdivision

Property subdivision for acreage with more expensive 18m wide public roads, footpath, kerb and gutters and no shared or common areas. Hence each lot is Torrens titled. If the road was substituted by 6.4m wide common/shared driveways, each lot would be strata titled.

Dual occ strata subdivision

Existing house retained. New lot at back.Most common type strata subdivision with shared driveway

Common type subdivision

Dual occupancy development- one unit behind the other to create a 2 lot strata subdivision with common property being the shared driveway

2 lot strata subdivision

Typical dual occupancy subdivision. The two new lots share a common property (driveway)


Side by side units duplex style dual occ. The Basement parking is divided into two lots with driveway as common shared area.

Duplex subdivision

Duplex dual occ. Block split into two lots with minimal common property.

Corner lot subdivision

Corner block creates opportunity for two Torrens titled lot subdivision with no common or shared driveways.

4 strata lot development

Four unit development will create a 4 lot subdivision with one common driveway in this strata subdivision.

4 lot strata

4 lot subdivision with shared driveway.

duplex doncaster

Duplex dual occupancy with minimal shared area. The two lots are strata titled as services are shared.

343-170912_29 Hertford Rd Sunshine - SOU

Apartment with each unit to be a strata lot. Lifts, lobbies, circulation corridors, stairs parking are shared areas.


The smaller development.


A dual occupancy developer- often mum and dad investors- may consider subdividing their backyard and release cash from their unused backyard.


They might retain and rent out  the existing home, or renovate it  and  or sell it a later stage or live in the new home in the backyard and sell the existing home.There are tax advantages and benefits  for each scenario and we suggest you discuss this with a qualified accountant.

Read on.

Duplex or Tandem dual occupancy 

In a duplex development the two units sit side by side each facing the street.

In the typical tandem dual occupancy, the two houses (units) are  located  one behind another with a common driveway servicing the units. The front unit can share this common driveway, or if council allows, have its own driveway which adds more value to each home,

No common property subdivision

Two lot subdivision with no common property resulting in two Torrens titled lots for the  duplex development.

Subdivision plan with shared driveway common property

Plan of subdivision with common property being the shared driveway resulting in 4 Strata titled lots and one common property.

Strata Title and Torrens Title.

In a typical dual occupancy development a block of land is subdivided to create two lots  or more lots (in a 3+townhouses) with a common  driveway.  The sharing of the driveway ( called the common property) will result in Strata Title lots with an Owners Corporation.


On the other hand if there was no common property, the lots would be Torrens Title with no owners corporation.  Most suburban blocks are Torrens Title where access is by way of a public road.

In some instances,  for a corner block or a very large  block of land, each unit  might have its own Torrens title with no common property.

The Ultimate development site for a small subdivision.

What is the Ultimate Dual Occupancy Site in Melbourne for dual occ and townhouse projects?

This is the million dollar question!

The Ultimate Development Site (UDS) should satisfy all  of these characteristics but if it does not is not the end of the world:


  • The cost of the  site should result in acceptable development margins. How much is a development site worth?

  • The site width should allow for two crossovers if want a high yielding development. Wide sites are great for a side by side duplex or for 2 or more "one behind another" type development.

  • A duplex site should have a 16m + frontage with the back boundary facing north to minimise overshadowing on neighbouring land.

  • The site length and area should allow adequate north facing open space for recreation and landscaping

  • Corner sites offer tremendous planning and design advantages

  • The site should be close to infrastructure, schools, shops and transport- location is king!

  • The title should be clear of restrictions and preferably without any easements- check for Covenants or Section 173 agreements on title

  • All the essential services should be available onsite or  in close proximity and run in the most advantageous position

  • The site orientation should be perfect so that the amenities of neighbouring properties are not adversely affected by over shadowing

  • The zoning of your land and it's associated Schedule should not be too restrictive

  • The planning overlays on your land should not be too restrictive like heritage, vegetation protection etc.

  • The site should be fairly level to reduce build costs

  • There should be little or no significant vegetation on the site and on abutting sites within say 5 m of the common boundaries

  • A soil test should demonstrate the foundations will not require additional strengthening

  • There should be no encroachments on your title boundary  or by your property on adjoining allotments

  • There should preferably be precedents for similar development in your neighbourhood

  • There should be no planning overlays burden

  • Your local Council should encourage development to meet their housing stock forecast


But don't fret if your property isn't the perfect ten. An experienced architect or designer with sound town planning skills and knowledge will get great results from challenging sites. We will get you great outcomes even if the property  is not the Ultimate development site!

Are you ready to find out the development potential of your land? Complete the form below for a Complimentary site assessment- and it's 100% obligation free!

Not the Ultimate Dual occupancy site
r2 (1).jpg

The duplex was approved  due to the wide frontage

In this "one behind the other" type dual occupancy the front faces north which creates overshadowing

to the house behind the new  dual occ house in the backyard

When can you sell  these lots?

Ideally after the lots are registered with the Titles office  who issues individual registered titles.

Read on.

How do you obtain the Title to each new lot?


The process to obtain the title is as follows :

  • Obtain subdivision approval from Council who will issue a Permit with Permit Conditions.

  • Satisfy those permit condition works- eg connect services like sewer, power and so on.

  • On completion of the works specified in the Permit Conditions Council issues a Certificate of Compliance.

  • A Registered  Land surveyor prepares the Plan of Subdivision in the approved format for certification by council.

  • You or your representative can then lodge the Certificate of Compliance and Plan of Subdivision with the Titles Office and pay the appropriate fee.

  • The Titles Office then issues the legally registered titles and lot plan of subdivision.

Learn more.

Section 173 Agreement.

Alternatively, in some Councils,  you could enter into an 173 Agreement with Council, where the land developer  "promises" to do those Permit condition works at a later stage.


The promise will be recorded on title as a Section 173 and can be removed on completion of the permit condition works. The onus could be transferred to the purchaser


You could do the works later, for example when a deposit is paid by a purchaser or share the responsibility  to complete the Works specified in the Permit conditions with the purchaser of the subdivided lot.


What are the subdivision costs in Victoria?


The subdivision costs are generally over and above the cost to construct the new dual occ or townhouses on he land. Ask your builder if they have allowed for these costs.

In 2018, in  a typical dual occ development , the construction cost will depend on the level of finishes, inclusions, facade materials, roof type (tiled roofs are generally less expensive) ease of build  (a flat block is easier to build on and requires less or no retaining walls compared to a sloping block).

Build costs alone  can be upwards of $1000/sqm for basic single storey to $1350 upwards for a double storey.

Subdivision costs- to connect services, driveway and crossover construction- can be around $15,000+ upwards depending on location of existing services, length of driveway and so on.


A recent 5 lot subdivision costs around $45,000 over and above building costs for the five units which were stacked beside each other.

Read on.

Strata titled large subdivision

Strata titled large subdivision

An estate can be subdivided into strata lots. Each lot will most likely hare common properties- like driveways, landscape and similar amenities

Torrens Title

Torrens Title

A large subdivision can have individual lots sharing no common property. The driveways and nature strip will be public access managed by local council


Alternatively, if the land is sufficiently large or the local Council is supportive of a straight out subdivision, without the need approve  the individual house plans, Council  may consider the  subdivision under Clause 56.


In this instance, once the lots are legally created,  the land owner can  sell the vacant portion of the block to a purchaser who will build the new home or homes.

In a Torrens Title, larger blocks of land will be carved out into smaller blocks with generally no common property. Each lot will be serviced by a council owned road which adds significant costs to the development.  Houses/lots  will be numbered, for example as  1,2 3 etc. Brownfield Road  - a road which the developer will create, build and handover to Council to manage. These lots command higher prices as each lot pays individual rates and share no costs to maintain common property.

Each lot must be connected to services and drained in accordance with council requirements.

Roads are wider and built to a higher standard, being a public road. Nature strip, landscaping and street lighting will add costs and reduce developable lot sizes.

The developer  can sell the lots in a larger sized development  prior to registration of titles but will advise the purchaser the titles will be issued in future when they have met Council's subdivision conditions at which stage.

A large estate can also be subdivided into Strata lots  with each lot sharing common property. As a result common property cost are shared among the individual lot owners. Driveways in strata lots  are narrower and more cost effective to build.

In either scenarios services are required to be connected to each lot or "delayed" through agreement with Council. 


What is the subdivision process? Learn more

Can you subdivide your land? How many lots can you create? What type of subdivision will apply to your land? Contact us for a HIGH LEVEL, obligation free and confidential response.

Or call Swarup, our Founder direct on 0448 170 132 for an opinion.


Thank you for completing the form. Your Message was sent to Swarup.Please call him on 0448170132 if you do not hear from him within 48 hours.

Subdivision Costs

Property development costs

Land Purchase Price

Stamp Duty

Finance Application Fee

Conveyancing cost

Pre Purchase Reports

Council Application fee

Council Contribution Fee

Marketing costs

Agents Fee

Legal fees

Interest rate

Holding cost for Land

Interest on Construction loan

Tax if applicable on Profit

Soft and Construction Costs

Land Survey

Soil Test


Structural Engineer

Civil Stormwater Engineer



Landscape Designer

Construction documentation

Other Reports

Project Management fee

Subdivision cost

Council Application fee

Council Contribution Fee

Electricity fee

Drainage fee


Build Cost




Letterbox etc

Subdivision Costs.

There are a number of items to consider.

The following are some of those costs you must budget for.

All of them might not apply to your subdivision.

These costs are approximate and could increase at any time.

  • Approximate contribution fees payable directly to Council. Usually applies to more than 2 lot subdivision and varies from council to council. It can be 5% of the land cost and more.

  • All costs and fees  shown on this website are approximate and  to be verified by the land owner



First stage:  Council ( fees applicable at 2017, are approximate  and to be verified)


$1278            -             Council (subdivision approval fee)

$700              -             Drainage plan checking and supervision fees ( by council)

$  650              -           Sewerage contribution  (if you have commenced building this has already been paid)

$  650              -           Water supply contribution  (if you have commenced building this has already been paid)

$3400              -           Per Power pit – serves up to 6 units. May need more depending on configuration of development (if you have commenced building this has probably already been paid)

$3500 varies            -  Drainage contribution (applies in some Councils where no on site detention is required)

$  600              -          Telecommunications (NBN) report (to be provided by an authorised and accredited Telstra contractor)

$2000              -           Sec. 173 agreement (required if titles are required prior to completion of development)

$5,000             -           Bond per lot for any incomplete works

 $TBC              -           Land Surveyors fees for Re establishment survey and drawing up the Plan of Subdivision

$2500              -           Crossover  widening or reinstatement   approx.

$8000              -           Onsite detention

$18000            -           New driveway ( depends on length of the driveway)


Second stage:  Land Registry


$ 944.80         -           Land Registry registration fee

$  800              -           Solicitor/Conveyancer

$  400              -           Bank endorsement fee (if mortgaged).

$600 TBC       -            Land surveyor  fee per lot to be pegged


The above fees,  whilst approximate, apply generally to a subdivision.

 In some cases however, fees may differ substantially from the above.   

Contacting your servicing authorities and local council  with a specific address may give you a better indication of the fees.   

Bear in mind in the event  titles are required prior to commencement/completion of building, (this may be achieved via a Sec. 173 agreement in some councils)  council or an authority may require certain works (e.g. drainage and sewerage works, common driveways, crossovers, power pits etc.) to be completed or bonded.

The Process.

There are several stages involved with the Subdivision. They are summarised as follows:


  • Apply for a  planning approval  for subdivision. When the permit  is granted it will contain  conditions which must be satisfied.

  • Council also certifies the plan of subdivision, which legally approves the subdivision under the Subdivision Act 1988

  • Thereafter the Applicant must meet the Permit conditions (eg installing the required services like sewer, power etc or  building crossover if required under the Permit). On completion  Statement of Compliance is  issued. 

  • A registered surveyor draws up the subdivision plan which is certified by Council.

  • Your conveyancer or representative can then lodge the  certified Plan of Subdivision and Compliance Certificate with  Land Victoria, which allows new titles to be issued for each lot created under the subdivision.  Read on for More information.

When can you sell the new lot?

Technically you can sell the new lot(s) after they are registered with Land Victoria which issues the titles to each new lot created.

However, if you are not prepared to do those essential works required by the Planning Permit condition ( eg installing sewer, water, telecomms , connecting to storm water discharge point and other services to new lots, creating driveways or crossovers)  a purchaser who maybe a builder could  be interested in purchasing the backyard prior to each lot being registered with Land Vic and negotiate a price  with you where  the builder carries out the works required by the Conditions of the Permit and obtains the Certificate Of Compliance. You can then register the lots.

Or you could enter into a Section 173 Agreement with your council promising to do those essential works in future. This promise would be registered on your title so a prospective buyer will be aware of the condition.



Building the new dual Occupancy or triple occupancy home at the back.

When a parcel of land is proposed for subdivision, several steps must occur.


They include:

• A planning permit must be issued for the proposed subdivision; and

• The plan of subdivision must be certified by the relevant council; and

• The plan of subdivision must be registered by the Registrar of Titles.