» What does a Town Planner do?

The role of a private consultant town planner such as Steffan Town Planning is to know the Council rules and regulations to give your development the best chances of success in the most time and cost efficient manner. Whether that be a small carport or a 100 lot subdivision, without a town planner, you're significantly increasing your risk of refusal or costly delays.

» Why use a Town Planner?

Town planning issues are continually becoming more complex. For example, the Brisbane City Plan 2014 is 5500 pages long. That’s 5500 pages of legislation that could negatively (or positively) impact your outcome. Our team has a direct line to familiar, senior Council staff to ensure we get the quickest answers. With 30+ years of experience handling these documents, our extensive knowledge ensures prompt service and best possible results for our clients to ensure the project costs less, gets underway faster, and you the maximum return.

» How much does a Town Planner cost?

A Town Planner can cost between $1800 - $15000+, dependent upon the scale and complexity of the project. Small works such as house extension or renovations, will likely cost between $1800 - $2600 + GST. A small subdivision around $3500 - $4000+GST. There are a range of variables to consider. We can provide a more accurate estimate over the phone. Give us a call and we will give you a free, no strings attached quote.

» What information will you need from me?

If you have a property or a specific project you want to undertake, send us the address and/or an overview of your goals, and we’ll take it from there! Even if you’re just thinking about looking for a site for a particular project, we can help at a very early stage.

» What is an application for development approval and when is it required?

A town planning application (AKA a development application or DA) is a legal document that allows you to undertake a development. The Council require this when works may impact upon the amenity or livelihood of nearby sensitive uses or will potentially have wider impacts on the locality. These days, a town planning application can be triggered for almost anything! You can avoid town planning approval sometimes. We recommend having a quick conversation with one of our Town Planners to check.

» When is development approval not required?

Most Councils have a lot of building work that is exempt from planning approval. These exemptions can be complicated and open to interpretation. Give us a call to clarify it for you. We are known to talk our way out of a job by recommending ways to avoid town planning approval altogether.

» What is the different between a town planning approval and a building approval?

A town planning approval is granted by a Local Council authority and is usually in respect to how something looks and how it impacts upon the neighbourhood. We also deal with design and siting issues, for example reduced boundary setbacks. Building approval deals with the structural integrity of a building and compliance against the Building Code of Australia (e.g. Queensland Development Codes) and National Construction Codes. All of which, we do not deal with as Town Planners.

» What services do you offer?

Click here for more information on which services we offer.

» I have a block of land that I want to develop. When do I approach a Town Planner?

As soon as you come across a block of land that you are intending on developing, we recommend calling us. With just an address, we can give you a high-level desktop analysis to give you pros and cons of the site. A short 2-minute call is usually enough to identify all the major issues for the site. This way, you won’t accidentally buy a lemon!

» How do I get a quote for your services?

We can usually give an indicate quote over the phone. Once we have a set of conceptual plans, or a good indication of what the project entails, we can provide a more detailed fee proposal with a scope of works.

» What information can I get from the Council about a DA?

Most Local Government websites have an online portal that will allow you to search any address and Development Applications over a property. Brisbane City Council has PDOnline, Logan City Council has ‘PDHub’. If you’re unsure, call us and we can talk you through it.

» Can a development be approved without the neighbours being notified?

The only time we need to notify neighbours of a development application being lodged is if it is ‘impact assessable’ which requires public consultation or, if we need to seek their permission for a reduced boundary setback. 90% of the time, the community are not notified that an application has been lodged.

» Can I challenge a development approval?

You can lodge a submission against any development application directly to your local Council. You may have rights to appeal the Council decision in the Planning and Environment court if the application was formally put to public consultation. If you want to challenge or object to a development application or approval, call us! Our Town Planners can help.

» What is exempt and accepted or complying development?

Exempt development is work that Council do not require approval for. They don’t even want to know about it. This kind of work is prescribed in the Planning Scheme and Planning Regulation. Accepted development is work that may not need approval but needs to comply with the Council codes. For example, a granny flat is ‘accepted’ so long as it is less than 80sqm. We are happy to assist in attempting to make your development ‘exempt’ or ‘accepted’.

» How long can it take to get a town planning approval?

It depends on the complexity. It can take 1 week to 3 months to prepare your development application for lodgement. If you already have the plans for a simple project, we try to lodge it in the same week. More significant projects may require a specialist – this can take an extra few weeks. If it’s Code Assessable, it can take 45 business days from lodgement date, for Council approval. It it’s Impact Assessable, it can take 65-90 business days from lodgement date, dependent upon the public consultant event.

» What are infrastructure charges and when are they payable?

Sometimes your new development will mean an increase in demand on the Council. If you subdivide your property into 2 lots, that’s twice the amount of people using the road network, sewers, water etc. The infrastructure charges are a ‘contribution’ to local Council to cover the costs to upgrade and maintain local services. These charges are not payable until after development approval.