WHAT IS TOWN PLANNING, AND HOW CAN XPRESS BUILDING DESIGN ASSIST YOU?
Town planning is the process of approving and overseeing the construction and development of a town or urban area. It includes the design and planning of new structures, roads, parks, precincts, and other important components that shape and enhance urban and regional areas for the benefit of those who live and work there.
Our goal and main focus at Xpress Building Design is to collaborate with landowners, first-time homebuyers, developers, and others to produce custom home and multi-dwelling designs that will support Victoria's ever-changing housing needs and requirements while also facilitating growth and future development.
As part of your initial consultation with Xpress Building Design, we will assist you through the right channels and relevant areas at your Local Council to assess the parameters of your development and whether your requirements will involve the need for a Planning Permit.
After it has been determined that your proposed development will require Planning Approval, either through a Town Planning or VICSmart Application, our Town Planning Department will work closely with you to prepare and compile a complete Town Planning Application to lodge with Council.
ResCode is the fundamental component of the Town Planning Process and what dictates both our design and what every Council in Victoria enforces and assesses against each Town Planning Application.
WHAT IS RESCODE?
All sections of land in the state that are zoned for residential use must adhere to the ResCode design code. ResCode essentially consists of a series of clauses that regulate what you are allowed to do on your land. Each design is prepared and created in line with the particular ResCode specifications that are relevant to your property and zone.
Xpress Building Design is the link between getting what you want on your land and what the council will approve for onsite because we represent you and your development the entire way from submission to decision. We have 20+ years of expertise working with Councils all around Victoria. The Council's job is to represent your neighbours, the larger community, and to uphold ResCode through the Town Planning Process.
TOWN PLANNING PROCESS
The Town Planning Process can be broken down into the below steps
1. We will work closely with you on a custom design for your property that address both your needs and the ResCode Requirements
2. We will prepare a Town Planning Package for Council Submission and make the formal lodgement on your behalf
3. We will liaise directly with the Council and their relevant internal departments (such as Parks, Engineering, Traffic etc.) and providing a comprehensive response to their initial assessment of your Town Planning Application while keeping you in the loop the entire way
4. We will guide you through the Advertising Process once Council deem the Town Planning Package to address their requests for further information
5. We will continue to liaise and support your application through the Council’s continued assessment of your Town Planning Package once the advertising period is over, and will assist in addressing any objections and/or further comments received
6. We will be on hand to assist you with the next steps when Council have completed their assessment and issue their decision
7. Planning permit received
The formal lodgement of your Town Planning Package will signify the start of the Town Planning Process with your Local Council.
Xpress & the Planning Application Process
Our role is to prepare a comprehensive Town Planning Application to lodge on your behalf to Council to obtain a Planning Permit, allowing you to move to the next stage of the process.
Having done thousands of Planning Applications across all Council’s in Victoria, we will work with you to prepare a high-level Town Planning Application Package to lodge to Council and begin the Town Planning Journey.
Our Town Planning Package includes
- A multi-functional and original custom design for your new development proposal, using every available millimeter to our advantage
- A comprehensive Neighborhood & Site Description Analysis, documenting the current existing conditions and adjoining surroundings
- A detailed Design Response, highlighting the proposed outcome on site and how it responds to and reflects the adjoining areas and surrounding streetscape
- A comprehensive Site Layout & Floor Plan, comprising of easy-to-read plans that detail the proposed layout and design of each dwelling proposed on site
- A Garden Area Requirement Plan that details how our proposed building footprint complies with the minimum garden area requirement in conjunction with the minimum percentage of your lot to be set aside as garden area (dependent on lot size and property zoning)
- A Private Open Space Plan that documents the location, minimum size and depth of secluded and private open spaces in conjunction with the relevant zoning requirements of your property
- Clear 2D elevations from each vantage point, confirming proposed building heights and materials as well as the external look and design of the dwellings
- Streetscape Elevations that document the existing and proposed conditions of the side from a 2D Elevation Perspective, showing how the new dwellings will fit in with the adjoinings on site
- A Shadow Diagram Analysis for the hours of 9am, 12pm and 3pm which demonstrate the shadowing cast by the townhouses on September 22nd
- Basic 3D Render Perspectives that showcase a visual representation of the proposal on site
- A detailed Town Planning Report to accompany the Planning Drawings that is written in response to the relevant Local and State Planning Policies, taking into consideration the property zoning and ResCode Requirements
Additional items that may be requested by Council include
- Responses to specific Housing Design Guidelines/Neighbourhood Character Study Reports, outlining how the design responds to specific overlays and requirements of the municipality
- An External Materials & Colours Schedule which outlines the colours of the external materials chosen for the look and design of the dwellings
- A detailed Landscape Plan outlining landscaping and vegetation proposed within all open areas of the site, surface finishes of pathways and driveways and tree/shrub selections in line with the relevant Council/Zoning/Overlay requirements
- A Sustainable Design Assessment incorporating a Stormwater Management Plan and Preliminary NatHERS Ratings that demonstrate the proposed Environmentally Sustainable Design initiatives to be implemented on site
Additional reports/works requested by Council that are prepared by Qualified External Consultants may include
(but are not limited to)
Title Re-Establishment Survey & Feature and Levels Plan by a Licensed Land Surveyor
Arboricultural Report, Tree Management Plan and/or Root Investigation Report by a Qualified Arborist
Waste Management Plan by a qualified firm
Swept Path Analysis by a qualified Traffic Engineer
Acoustic Report by a qualified Acoustic Engineer
Covenant Removal/Variation by a Private Town Planner/Property Solicitor
With over 20 years of ongoing relationships with our land surveyors, arborists, traffic, and acoustic engineers, Xpress Building Design has made sure that the work and commitment of our team are carried out every day by our consultants, and that the service, dedication, and excellence that our clients are accustomed to is also demonstrated by our trusted consultants.
The Decision Stage
In almost all scenarios, the Town Planning Process ends with the Council issuing a decision on your Town Planning Application. Depending on whether you receive objections during the advertising stage, the Council may issue a Planning Permit right away or the Planning Approval may come in the form of a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit.
If a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit is issued by the Council, this means that whilst Council are prepared to approve your application it now is subject to the objectors to lodge an appeal to VCAT to overturn the decision. Each objector has approximately 28 days to do so, if no VCAT appeal is made the Council will then proceed and issue you with a Planning Permit. If a formal appeal is made at VCAT, we have a number of well-experienced consultants that can engage as representation against the appeal.
The issuing of a Planning Permit means that Council have granted you approval, and you can begin the next stage in the process. When a Permit is granted, we will need to address any conditions that are relevant to the Town Planning Drawings (this may mean the completion of a Landscape Plan or additional notes/changes) as we will need to resubmit your Planning Drawings back to Council for their final stamp of approval which you’ll need to provide to your Building Surveyor when the time comes. It’s important you keep your Planning Permit valid as each has an expiry date.
Throughout the duration of the Town Planning Process and the journey with Council, we’ll have an understanding as to where Council stands in relation to the proposed development of your site. We’ll let you know along the way whether the application being put forward is pushing the boundaries in terms of ResCode compliance, and Council will generally be clear as to whether they intend to put their support behind the proposal or whether the application is at risk of refusal.
Having worked with a number of high-level consultants throughout Xpress Building Design’s history, we can seek the engagement of a Private Town Planner at any stage where the Council are of the position that the application warrants refusal and you want to push for your desired outcome. This can either be at Council’s initial assessment stage or when a formal Notice of Refusal is issued. This isn’t the case for every application put forward to Council, and we’ll let you know along the way if and when a Private Planner will benefit your application.
At Xpress Building Design, full transparency and communication between us and our clientele is one of the core principles of our business. With our extensive history of the Town Planning Process across all Councils, we understand and acknowledge all possible outcomes and risks that present themselves with every single Town Planning Application.