By Lily Mason – Central Vic Planning Consultants
The process of building a house in Victoria is not straightforward. Meeting the requirements of local councils can depend on so many factors: the zoning of your land, what overlays cover your property, which council you’re with and so on. A planning consultant can help clarify all this and work with you to realise your dream home. But here are a few things to think about before you start filling out the paperwork:
1. Know what you can and can’t do
Being clear on what is possible given your specific circumstances is a must before you begin the costly and time consuming exercise of applying for a planning permit. Your local council’s planning department can help you determine whether or not you need a permit. They will advise you on whether your plans are feasible given your zoning. They are also keen to guide you on what additional information the planners might need to get the permit passed.
2. Work out what you want
Going into the planning process without being very clear on what you want to achieve – and what is possible – can be very time and budget consuming. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Can you orient your home and garden to take advantage of a northerly aspect? Do you want to build a shed as part of the development?
3. Find a builder
Once you’re clear on what you’d like to build, it’s time to find someone who can make your dreams a reality. And that might mean talking to several builders to find the one who understands what you’re trying to achieve. Get several quotes and ask lots of questions!
4. Talk to your neighbours
To maintain great relationships AND to smooth the process of building your home, it’s a great idea to talk through your plans with your neighbours. You’ll then be aware of any potential issues and can address their concerns early on in the process – saving time and money later.
5. Get advice from the professionals
Planning is a complicated process and as the old saying goes: two heads are better than one. Planning consultants have all the information and inside knowledge you’ll need right at their fingertips. Often they’ll be happy to have a chat about your proposal to assess how viable it is. You can seek a feasibility study if you’d like more concrete advice. And, of course, they can do all the complicated paperwork and speak with council on your behalf.