Land Surveyors Central Coast Trehy Ingold Neate
Town Planning Central Coast Trehy Ingold Neate
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is a survey necessary when buying a house?

A survey was formerly required by lending authorities to certify that all dwellings and/or improvements were erected on the correct property and to ensure there were no encroachments onto adjacent properties. It also reported on any easements, rights of way, restrictions or covenants that affected the property. A survey is not always requested these days as insurance may be obtained instead. However, a savvy buyer should arrange a survey of the property for peace of mind.


Why does my architect need a survey in order to design our new home?

Architects require a topographical/detail survey to design your new home as a survey includes the following information:

This information is required for Council to assess the Development Application. It also assists the architect who is responsible with the design of the home. It gives an indication for positioning of the home on the property and the architect must ensure that the amenity, privacy and view of the adjacent landowners is protected.


How much does a survey cost?

The cost of a survey can vary depending on travel, the size of the property and the proposed development, the quantity/density of vegetation that needs to be located, the amount of information affecting adjacent properties.

The cost of a detail/topographic survey currently starts from $1,200, excluding GST, for a vacant, easily accessible property.


Can I subdivide my property?

A preliminary investigation/brief desktop audit can be carried out to assess the suitability of the site for a proposed subdivision and current state/regional planning policies and development standards need to be reviewed. Councils have their own Development Control Plans and proposed subdivisions need the meet the aims, objectives, site-specific provisions and environmental constraints of the DCPs.

To keep costs down before investing too much money in a proposal that may not be approved by Council, a pre-DA meeting can be organised by a Town Planner. The Planner meets with Council officers to obtain Council’s comments and advice before going ahead with further investigations/works.


My land has been rezoned and we are now able to subdivide. What steps are involved should we decide to go ahead?

  1. Engage a Town Planner to investigate and carry out a brief desktop audit on the property to assess the requirements of the local Council with development controls and environmental constraints and, if required, attend a pre-DA meeting.

    If the pre-DA meeting results in a favourable outcome, the Town Planner will:

    • aArrange for a Surveyor to carry out a topographic survey and prepare a plan of proposed subdivision;
    • Engage sub-consultants, such as geotechnical, environmental, bushfire, landscape, etc., if required, to prepare reports for inclusion in a Statement of Environmental Effects;
    • Prepare a Statement of Environmental Effects and supporting documentation for submission to Council with the Development Application (DA); and
    • Lodge the DA with Council for assessment. During the assessment process, the Town Planner can monitor the progress of the application and advise the landowner accordingly.
  2. On approval of the DA, conditions of the development consent must be satisfied. These conditions can involve engineering design and construction works, preparation of more detailed civil design plans, final survey and preparation of the final plan of subdivision, payment of Council fees and so on. Trehy Ingold Neate can assist in the preparation of a majority of this information on your behalf. This will be discussed with you in more detail upon receipt of a favourable determination by Council.
  3. The next step in the process basically involves engineering design of the required construction works and application for the Construction Certificate for approval by Council and contacting service authorities to determine their requirements.
  4. Once Council approve the engineering plans (the issuing of the Construction Certificate), and depending on the size of the development, you may require a schedule of quantities to issue to civil contractors to obtain quotations for the construction works. A civil contractor needs to be engaged to carry out the required works and, depending on the scale of the work, either Trehy Ingold Neate or the civil contractor can provide Project Management / supervision of the work.
  5. When the civil works are completed and all conditions of the development consent have been satisfied, including preparation of the final plan of subdivision, application is made to Council for issue of the Subdivision Certificate.
  6. On Council’s release of the final plan and Subdivision Certificate, the landowners and any mortgagees sign the documents and the plan is electronically lodged with Land and Property Information for registration and issue of the new Certificates of Title for the subdivided lots. Once separate Certificates of Title are issued, each newly created lot can now be sold.

What costs will I be up for to subdivide my land?

There is no definite cost to subdivide land as there are so many variables. Works associated with subdividing land may include some or all of the following:

Fee proposals can be provided for each stage of the development on request.


I want to build a dual occupancy property on my vacant block of land. What do I need to do?

The following procedure needs to be followed if you are thinking of a dual occupancy development:


What are the 9 different types of developments?

There are nine different planning approval pathways in NSW. The size and scale of the development will determine which of the assessment pathways is appropriate.

Many types of minor home renovations and small building projects such as the erection of a carport, balcony, deck or garden shed don't need a planning or building approval. These types of projects are called exempt development. As long as the building project meets specific development standards and land requirements, no planning or building approval is needed.

Other straightforward, low impact residential, commercial and industrial developments that do require planning approval may qualify for a fast track approval process known as complying development. If the application meets specific standards and land requirements a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) can be obtained through your local Council or an accredited certifier without the need for a full development application.

Find out more about all nine planning approval pathways in NSW here:

  1. Exempt Development
  2. Complying Development
  3. Local Development
  4. Regional Development
  5. State Significant Development
  6. State Significant Infrastructure
  7. Part 3A Development
  8. Development without Consent
  9. Designated Fishing Activities

The consent authority that assesses and determines a development application (DA) or complying development certificate (CDC) is guided by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EP&A Reg), and a number of State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and Local Environmental Plans (LEPs).


How long does it take to get council approval?

Depending upon the complexity of the proposed development, gaining Council approval may take between six weeks to nine months. However, this can vary depending on Council’s workload at the time of the application and on the size, difficulty and type of the proposed development. Trehy Ingold Neate has vast experience on all types of developments and takes a thorough approach to any proposals. We pride ourselves on submitting a complete development application to reduce any time at Council’s assessment stage.


What is the difference between a Development Application (DA) and a Complying Development Certificate (CDC)?

A Development Application (DA) is the application made to Council seeking consent to carry out a development. A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is an alternative to a DA and can be known as a fast track approval process when dealing with a more straight-forward development.

The major difference between the two is that a CDC’s requirements for development approval are a more universal set of requirements and cannot be amended to suit the needs of your development. The requirements for a CDC are considered to be “black and white” and these requirements apply across the state of NSW. The requirements for a DA will vary depending on the type and scale of development and between the local councils of NSW.


What happens if my Development Application is declined and I believe the ruling is unfair?

If you believe the ruling is unfair, firstly approach Council and check Council’s internal reviewing procedures. You may be able to arrange to discuss the matter with Council’s planning department. The planner could suggest amending the plans to address the unsatisfactory issues. It is better to review all options at this stage than during a Court Case.

Submission of a new DA would be another approach to have a good chance of obtaining consent.

There are also more formal review options available, required under legislation where a refused DA, or consent to a DA with challenging conditions can be re-assessed by a different Council planning officer under a Section 82A review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 NSW.

As a last resort, you may consider appeal options to the Land and Environment Court (L&E Court). Once an appeal is commenced, there are limited opportunities to amend your plans.

There are time limits for lodging Section 82A review applications and commencing L&E Court proceedings. It is recommended that advice is sought on the time limits that apply so that any review or appeal rights are not lost.


I want to add a garage to my property and have been told I need council approval. It’s my land so why do I need to go through the Development Application process?

Generally Council approval for any alterations or additions to your property is required. Many projects have been completed without Council approval. If you choose to sell the property and Council records are checked through the settlement process and they don’t match, all the works must be brought up to today’s standards, even if they were completed several years ago.

Another area of concern is insurance. If your property was damaged by fire or flood and it started from that illegal addition/alteration or there was a structural failure damaging property or injuring someone, your insurer may have reason not to honour the policy.


What is surveying?

Surveying and land surveying is the measurement and mapping of our surrounding environment using mathematics, specialised technology and equipment. It is the science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensioned position of points and the distances and angles between them.

Surveying encompasses some of the following activities:


What is a Land Surveyor?

Land Surveyors determine property boundaries and prepare maps and survey plots.

They are professionals with academic qualifications, technical expertise, interpretative ability and management skills to practice the discipline of surveying for the benefit of society. Registered surveyors are often referred to as cadastral surveyors because of their involvement in maintaining the cadastre by the locating and marking of property boundaries.


What is an Accredited Certifier?

An Accredited Certifier is a private accredited professional, who, depending on their accreditation, can act as a certifying authority in place of Council.


Why appoint a Strata Certifier?

A Certifier can issue a strata certificate for a Strata Plan. This allows the Strata Plan to be lodged at the Land and Property Information office for registration. A strata certificate can be issued by an accredited Certifier or the local Council. A Strata Certifier is accredited by the NSW Government through the Building Professionals Board.

Robert Polson is an Accredited Certifier (Registration No BPB1897) and a Registered Land Surveyor. Robert can sign Strata Plans in place of Council and can issue Complying Development Certificates for consent for strata subdivision.

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