Planning and Subdivision Fees Review – Oct 2016

Planning and Subdivision Fees Review – October 2016victoria-future

The Victorian Government have released information concerning significant increases to a range of fees in their Planning and Subdivision Fees Review. The stating that council costs to deliver services and fact that successive governments have failed to review fee’s for 12 years have therefor allowed this Victorian Labor Government to increase the many fee’s by approx.150% or more.

The introduction of a new fee structure for dwelling under $10,000 demonstrate lack of any real awareness to costs (I would love a house built for under $10,000) and continues the inefficiency of the department and its administration of regulations to the detriment of the public. Simply can’t believe they think this category square things up. Really?

The following link to proposed fee’s can be found here

Planning and Subdivision Fees Review

A few snap shot review of a few classic segments of planning developments:

Developments – single dwelling development and  also used for extensions and projects like Verandahs, Sheds and garages

  • Up to $100K        Was $239 Proposed $592 Increase $352 or 147% Increase
  • $100K to $500K  Was $490 Proposed $1213 Increase $723 or  147% Increase

Some new levels are introduced. Sneaky new fee’s not discussed.

  • $500K to $1 Million Was $490 Proposed $1310 Increase $820 or 167% Increase
  • $1Million to 2 Million Was $490 Proposed $1408 Increase $918 or 187% Increase

Amendments to Permits had fee such as listed below

  • $0 to $10,000 Nil
  • $10,000 to $100,000 $239
  • $100,000+ $490

Proposed is now a complicated calculation which is sure to cause significant and unnecessary confusion and costs for owners wanting small extensions or additions to a lot which already has a planning permit and therefore requires that permit to be amended. It is unclear what they proposed to charge but it could be classed under schedule attached.

Amend an existing planning permit – 75% of fee applicable to the original permit class plus the difference in fees if the amendment moves the permit into a different class. The lowest fee starts at $1080 but will they charge 75% of this or the original development cost. Even if at lower end the increase is

  • $0 to $10,000             Was $ Nil    Proposed $810 Increase $810
  • $10,000 to $100,000  Was $239  Proposed $810 Increase $571 Increase 239%
  • $100,000+                  Was $490  Proposed $810 Increase $320 Increase 65%

Lack of a community and business opportunity, and therefore critical response, will ensure Labor Government, who have demonstrated no real care for consumer consultation (our company was asked only 2 weeks ago but no indication of proposed fee’s were provided), to smash consumers with this exceptionally unrealistic increase based on their previous and continued incompetence is wrong. Strong words but true.

I do feel sorry for council planning staff, at the coal face, with the negative responses they will need to field over the coming months. Somewhat feel the same for our company who initially have to advise a client’s first then take the negative flak or the cancellation.


I was expecting change and my first thoughts were

  1. It was wrong that fee’s were not raised yearly similar to the building & other government department. But why had they not? But rise then by 147% Really?
  2. It is true current fee’s do not cover costs fee’s needed to be raised. But is this the right and responsible way?
  3. It is true significant numbers of time wasting applications are triggered for no real public advantage. Why no real significant change particularly to NIL impact projects cluttering the system.
  4. It is true some fee’s are realistic for some more complicated projects but many are not particularly class 10 projects and small dwelling extensions.
  5. it is also true that the government has such lack of transparency, just look at the infrastructure issues, CFA and rail development for other examples that no reasonable consultation with industry was undertaken to those who deal with the consumer. Either that or our association BDAV have failed us building designers and our clients.

The new fee’s will ensure consumers will continue pay for lack of real planning improvement or desire for improvement which successive governments, Labor or Liberal, have simply failed in their elected duties and the Planning Department who seem to have no grasp on their duty.

If your not happy consult your local member I’m sure they will provide the applicable lip service do not blame the council staff or my staff we don’t make the fees.

We, at The Project Centre hope this information will assist those consumers with understanding some of the associated unseen costs of building within Victoria.

Planning Red Tape under fire from Government.

As associated with a number of planning application every year I was please to read recent advice from BDAV which advised ” Victoria’s Planning minister, Mathew Guy, has declared war on planning red tape in a media release which the minister has announced cuts to planning red tape. In a move to reform the planning system the media release has not yet been posted to Governments website, you can access the details CLICKING HERE.”

As The Project Centre is directly involved with the Extension side of the building segment the need to obtain a planning permit is triggered constantly due to reduced lot sizes, questionable parameters such as Verandah having maximum height of 3m and decks above 800mm. The facts that almost 99% of applications are approved and for good reason indicates the some trigger parameters must be changed to reflect usual outcomes and reduce planning application numbers. its gotta help the community deal with the real planning issues.

My hope is that the planning review committee is able to understand residents constant frustration to the added cost and delays that a 99% approved outcome provides. Simply there are many planning triggers outside planning real community service domain. To have building and planning at odds due to poor base regulation is producing substantial non productive cost to community at a time when all budgets are under stain. The system should not be based on the community should just pay for ineffective regulation. I note I’m referring mainly to one segment I’m generally involved in the planning area not all planning controls.

As Drafting  Company providing building services we are constantly embroiled in the time delay and extra costs whereby our professionally is questioned by clients for delays beyond our control.. Clearly the Planning community cannot accept ResCode as a reasonable outcome. This should be reviewed. The costs to councils in processing these applications also must be factor that is hurting the community services for no real gain. Yes there is good reason to have planning overlays but they should be reasonable in structure, impact and deliver communities with real gains.

So lets hope changes made will be productive to the planning departments massive workloads and therefore the community.

Congratulations to the Planning Minister Mathew Guy for starting the process let’s hope he keeps his nerve amongst the vested parties.

To see more ….

The Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee’s report and the government’s response are available online at

Oh by the way “Remember have you say”

This is another community service new release from The Project Centre  – Narre Warren

“Making projects come alive” 

I want to build a Pergola

Architectural Design & Drafting

“I want to build a Pergola”

This statement is common for customers proposing to make a “pergola or verandah” addition to their house.

When posed with this question we ask following questions:

  • Do you want a roof or open structure or a combination of both?
  • Do you want a flat or pitched roof style or combination of both?
  • What materials do you want to use timber or metal frames?
  • Roofing – thinking of metal, skylights, tiles?
  • Budget – what is your preferred budget range?
  • Are you building it yourself or getting a builder?
  • When do you want project complete by?

Once we have these questions known and we have established location and size we can now begin our design and project options review.

I’m amazed how many times of I’ve been to a house with similar location of a previous project but after viewing site have above discussion I’ve came away with a new design option. I like to feel what we have decided on is exciting and a true addition to our house – our most important financial asset.

The factors influencing design can be so varied. Each location, set of proposed usage needs, budget, proposed materials, style and clients owns ideas and research ensures a new a exciting approach to what is the staple of all Australian extensions.

The needs and uses of the Aussie Pergola (or Verandah if it has a roof) have significantly grown over the last 20 years from what would be called humble origins of the lean-to 6 x 3 on the back of the house.

Change in Melbourne Victoria (where I live) has not only been driven by advancements in design and materials but also home owners increased usage and needs from their outdoor space. Custom has developed where entertaining has “moved outside” rather than inside… and generally in warmer more active months.

In the 70’s and 80’s pergolas were largely an open structure attached to the dwelling or walkways covered but not areas were aimed an gatherings of people. Sometimes these parts of original house design were to provide ambience to dwelling or shade to north/west elevations.

Progressively these areas usage started to extended and then needs to provide “dry” areas increased.  Victoria with a 6 – 8 month average external temperature below 20°C, has meant long periods where outside living needed protection.  In warmer climate’s outside living to take advantage of cooling breezes etc., have been a factor for many more years. The “Queenslander” being a classic example of verandah usage for more than a walkway.

Strangely house designers were still not heavily involved to make these structures for new homes through mid 80’ to late 90’s.Centenary Gable - FreespanAs entertainment customs started to evolve (TV through shows like Bert’s backyard initiating external interest) and building block’s quickly reducing in size, with little to no shading outdoors including street scape, owners began the a drive to “build a pergola” to rear of dwelling with a renewed vigor and growth of usage.

From the mid 1990’s pergolas started to expand in size, design and budget whereby the advent of the outdoor verandah area has become commonplace.

Builder’s noting the changing needs started to provide owners with external roofed area’s that became known as the “Alfresco” area. Initially no more than a glorified walkway by 2005 builders had learnt and started provide actual areas that outdoor living could be realised.

Year 2010 and beyond – With the new Energy rating standards going to 6 stars in 2011 another change to home building has put at risk the standard Alfresco area. Many reasons not lest of all rising home costs with energy issues may find another twist with pergola locations to dwellings.

In 2012,  I find the answer to the simple question posed above “I want to build a pergola” have vastly changed whilst the name remains the same. Owners want their outdoor living space to be a full extension of dwelling lifestyle. With a growing to smaller homes plus energy requirements, building cost and land size will see the need for 3 or 4 living zones within the home reduced and replaced with the outdoor room or living space.

Gable - solar span with screen wallsThe outdoors living space is developing whereby smaller dwelling will be matched with ever growing external living spaces that can be conditioned by improved roofing options, longer warrantied & durable products, flexible walling (screens, blinds) that will make our “aussie pergola” a full extension to the dwelling.

As I’ve been involved throughout this period I can’t help but be continually reinvented by the change and the freshness that come from my clients ideas and excitement. Before I know it I’m teaming with them to find that perfect solution to their home and their project.

So “I want a pergola” now days can mean anything from the 6 x 3 to full-on Outdoor Living Space that truly is an extension of the dwelling and our lifestyle..

The statement we respond to remains unchanged but, the outcomes have changed and with the threat of global warming influencing our energy requirements are just motor to drive the external room forward in design, usage and budget.

While different climates will dictate the type and style for the best suitable outcome the trend overall will continue in all states towards owners own outdoor living statement that is theirs alone.

Comment by Ross J. Seddon

Prepared for  The Project Centre – Narre Warren

Location Factory I,  26-28 Abbott Road Hallam Vic. 3806

Telephone: 9796 6799

Web Site:

Dated April 2012

Check out our Verandah & Pergola Display Centre

Display Centre built by Totally Outdoors 

“Making Projects Come Alive”