When we receive a client’s Development Application (DA) Consent it’s always an exciting time.
Receiving council approval is one of the major milestones of a property development and it should be celebrated. But the champagne and toasts can wait because there is one thing you must do immediately.
Should you send it to your builder? Yes, but it will also need to go to other consultants
Should you file it safely? Yes, it’s a legal document so keep it safe.
But before you do this, the first thing you need to do is check the conditions of the DA.
You’ll see in the Consent a number of conditions. The one I’m reviewing right now; a consent for two attached dwellings and Torrens title subdivision, has 58.
58 Conditions that we need to make sure we’ve allowed for in the building costs, plans and our development processes.
There are usually three main areas that the Conditions relate to and must be satisfied by:
- Prior to the issue of a Construction Certificate (CC)
- Prior to the commencement of work and during the construction phase
- Prior to the issue of an Occupation Certificate (OC) or a Subdivision Certificate
The very first condition that my eyes scan for is the one relating to the Section 94 Contribution.
This is a council charge that goes towards the provision of public amenities and services within the locality. In our area, it’s only charged for a dual occupancy or larger projects, not for a single house build.
I call it a ‘cost of doing business’ and it’s usually several thousand dollars, this one I’m reading now is for $12,822.53. but we knew it would be about this much and had allowed $12,900 in this client’s feasibility, and so we are covered. This fee will be different not only by council, but by suburbs. Some suburbs (under the same council) need more infrastructure spending and the Section 94 can cost up to $30,000. For obvious reasons, we do not develop in those locations. That is a lot of money to be giving to council for the privilege of building new dwellings. There is no intrinsic value in a Section 94 contribution cost. So the lower the better. Don’t be surprised by this cost, you can find out before you buy a development site what council are likely to charge you, so do your research.
Once I’ve checked this major cost against our allowance, my eye scans the rest of the conditions that must be met prior to the CC being issued, as we don’t want to hold up this process now we have our consent. Property Bloom always uses a private certifier to issue the CC as we know it is much faster than using council.
There are a few relating to the stormwater management and we will have our engineer confirm our stormwater plan is meeting these. The rest of the conditions in this section are standard. We must send this DA Consent to our private certifier as he will be the one making sure they are all covered off on the CC plans.
Next I scan the rest of the conditions. The ones relating to the construction phase are all standard and relate to things the builder needs to cover off like vehicle access crossings to the site and how it should be constructed, signage, waste management on site, work hours etc.
The next section shows the conditions that need to be met before an OC will be issued. This is very important as we don’t want to be holding up tenants moving in on completion. Most of these conditions again are standard but be careful as sometimes there will be particular reports required such as a Works As Executed report which needs to be done by an engineer or surveyor after the drainage system is in place and completed. It takes our surveyor just a few days but if forgotten can hold up your valuable rental income.
The other important condition is to check when you can apply for the subdivision certificate. In this case, it’s at Lock Up stage, which is great and means we can usually have the Torrens title subdivision completed as we finish construction. Very important if you are refinancing as the bank will value the two separate registered titles higher than both dwellings on one title.
There may also be a section where a number of conditions fall under refered to as “Advisory Matters”. These conditions usually relate to state planning policies and work place practice.
make sure you check your Consent carefully, then send it to all the relevant consultants and get everyone started on the next phase of your development journey, obtaining the Construction Certificate consent. Then sit back for a few minutes and celebrate passing this exciting milestone.