Why use a private town planner?

These days, there is a lot of free information online about how you can prepare and lodge your own development application, which gives every person (who has the time) the ability to become their own town planner. So why use a professional consulting town planner?

Other than the obvious issues of time and cost, we recently took on a job for a seemingly simple carport extension to a pre-1947 Dwelling house. The issues were obvious, it is a character house, and it didn’t comply with the small lot code. The relevant codes that needed addressing were also obvious, Traditional Building Character overlay code, and Dwelling House (Small Lot) Code. Nevertheless, our lodgement documentation ended up being 79 pages long. Why?

1946 aerial imagery

Our recent experience dealing with Brisbane City Council on partial demolition matters gave us an insight into how they are currently assessing these kinds of applications. We know that Council are going above and beyond their call to preserve and protect pre-1947 fabric and traditional character elements of housing. So this simple carport extension that required some demolition, isn’t so simple after all.


How did we prepare the lodgement? Knowing the partial demolition was going to be the key issue, we needed to give Council something that will take away the decision making from them, and put the responsibility of the justification on the private sector. So, we engaged a highly reputable private consulting heritage architect to prepare an Architectural Statement in respect to the proposed extension and impact the associated demolition would have on the house and the character of the streetscape. In addition to their report, we prepared a 50 page planning report including a detailed streetscape analysis breaking down the different character elements found throughout the street. We concluded that although the house is a pre-1947 dwelling, the street has no common or obvious ‘character’. The houses were a mix of late-1800s bungalows right through to 1980s blocks of brick units, which gave us the ability to argue that by removing a small gable, it won’t break the built form through the street or be outside of what the community would expect as an extension to a Dwelling house.


It was easy to summarise the 79 pages of documentation into one paragraph in the above, but the knowledge and experience behind above argument is what will get it over the line.


Need to get some advice? Give me a call 07 3317 0042.

What is a planning scheme?

planning scheme is a statutory document that sets out objectives, policies and provisions for the use, development and protection of land in the area to which it applies. A planning scheme regulates the use and development of land through planning provisions to achieve those objectives and policies. For example, Brisbane has the City Plan 2014, Moreton Bay has the MBRC Planning Scheme...etc. 

planning scheme

What does the planning scheme mean for you? It is the single document that will allow you to or stop you from building what you want on your property. It determines provisions such as minimum lot sizes, maximum building height, maximum density, allowable land uses, site cover...etc. Sounds simple enough, but when you discover that the Brisbane City Plan 2014 alone is 4500 pages long and that is only one of 537+ planning schemes around Australia, that means you could have 2,416,500 pages of planning schemes to read, understand and interpret. Hence, the town planning profession becoming an integral component of any development.

The first thing I would advise someone looking at getting into property development would be to make contact with a local town planner because they are soon going to become your best friend.

When you first start looking at planning schemes, you won't know where to start, and when you're looking through at 30-50 properties a day, you'll need to have a base understanding on what to look for. PropertEASE was created to be your initial point of the investigation so you don't need to annoy a town planner for every single property you're looking at and when you've narrowed it down to a handful, that is when a professionals interpretation of the planning scheme would be valuable.

As always, I'm happy to have a chat and connect with anyone who is needing help in the town planning space. Call me any time on 07 3844 8818 or pop an email