How Many Units Will Fit on my Block?

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Are you wondering if your block is large enough to develop on? There are many things to consider, and many factors come into it when making this decision. We often receive projects where we are asked to maximise a size, naturally this is what we try to achieve in most instances, as the larger the dwelling, and the more bedrooms it has, the better your profit.

One of the key things that always stings us is the compulsory setbacks. You front setback must be an average of the two adjacent properties, and to councils, this is generally undebatable. You can try to argue no more than less than half a metre in most instances, otherwise your application will most likely end up at VCAT, which is something we most certainly want to avoid.

Rear setbacks also tend to be an issue when every metre counts. Easements have to be avoided and are usually 2-3 meters wide and run across the rear end of you site.

Side setbacks are the ones which most clients are confused about. Even to us designers, this one is always the tricky one that can totally compromise the entire design and even make what seems a completely achievable development, totally impossible. These setbacks come from council guidelines and have a lot to do with (P.O.S) Private Open Space and (S.P.O.S) Secluded Private Open Space. Every council is different, some have similarities, but we should never make any assumptions when it comes to these guidelines. Some zones require only 40 square metres for P.O.S and other require 100 square metres, that is a significant figure, and needs to be checked prior to decision making.

For example, you could have dealt with the same council in the past, and become familiar with their guidelines, however, recently most councils have re-zoned certain areas and this may effect the type of development that you can achieve on the property. Another example, you could be developing in the same suburb as previously, this suburb could have several different zones, therefore completely different guidelines.

In conclusion, we have to be aware of the obstacles that may come with planning and building, and even if you have an enormous piece of land which looks worthy of 10 units, due to setbacks, only 6 or 7 may be achievable. It is best to seek out professional advice and do your homework before proceeding with any development.