Subdividing land

Aerial-view-of-a-subdivided-housing-estateIf you are planning to perform a subdivision on a lot, you should firstly find out the key facts about the property (zoning, constraints and lot size) and then use the following information to find out if your subdivision project needs planning approval.

You can also watch our instructional video on subdividing land.

Definition

Subdividing, also known as ‘reconfiguration of a lot’, includes:  

  • creating two lots from one existing house lot
  • creating a number of lots from one larger parcel
  • rearranging the boundaries of a lot, without creating a new lot
  • creating a community title scheme
  • creating a ‘volumetric subdivision’ (using space above or below the land)
  • subdivision by lease exceeding 10 years

No development application required

The following subdivisions are exempt from assessment under the City Plan and the Sustainable Planning Act 2009:

  • building format plans (that is, defines land using the structural elements of a building, including floors, walls and ceilings) that do not subdivide land on or below the surface of the land
  • amalgamation of lots
  • subdivision activities in community title schemes
  • subdivision for road widening purposes and truncations
  • subdivision where required by state legislation (for example acquisition of land for water infrastructure projects)

Exempt development means that no development application is required and there are no Council rules to comply with.  You can proceed to register the title with the Queensland Government.

Preferred locations

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If your subdivision project is not one of the exempt projects listed above, then you will be required to submit an application for assessment. Proposed subdivision applications must address the Subdivision Code (PDF - 905kb).

Residential Zones

Subdividing requires a Code Assessable development application if your property is in one of the following zones:

  • low density residential
  • character residential
  • low-medium density residential
  • medium density residential
  • high density residential

A code assessable development application is also required if:

  • all proposed lots are 450m2 or greater with an average width of 15m or greater, and all proposed rear lots are 600m2 or greater (excluding access way), or
  • the projects entail only the subdivision of existing or approved buildings, except houses.

Subdivision (other than subdivision of existing or approved buildings) requires a Code Notifiable development application where:

  • in the Low Density Residential Zone, where not in a Demolition Control Precinct (DCP), any proposed lot is 400m² or greater but less than 450m², or with an average width or 10m or greater but less than 15m
  • in the Low Density Residential Zone, where in a DCP, any proposed lot is 450m² or greater than an average width of 10m or greater but less than 15m
  • in the Character Residential or Low-medium Density Residential Zones – any proposed lot is 400m², or with an average width of 10m or greater but less than 15m
  • in the Medium Density and High Density Residential Zones – where any resulting lot is 400m² or greater but less than 450m², or with an average width of 10m or greater but less than 15m

Subdivisions in the Residential Zones that do not fit with the above will require an Impact Assessable - Generally Inappropriate development application.

Emerging community zone

In the Emerging Community Zone, subdivision requires a Code Assessable development application where all proposed lots are 10ha or greater.

If any of the lots proposed to be created are smaller than 10ha and are in accordance with an approved structure plan, an Impact Assessable – Generally Appropriate development application is required.

Light, General, Heavy & Extractive Industry Zones

In the light, general, heavy or extractive industry zones, a subdivision, other than volumetric, not associated with an existing or approved building requires a Code Assessable development application.

Future industry

In the Future Industry Zone, a subdivision requires a Code Assessable development application, where the proposed lots are 10ha or greater. Where the proposed lots are smaller than 10ha and are in accordance with an approved Structure Plan, then an Impact Assessable – Generally Appropriate development application is required.  

Other locations

If your subdivision is not in one of the preferred locations above, or relates to a volumetric subdivision or subdivision by lease contact Council on 07 3403 8888 for advice specific to your situation.

Constraints

Constraints are restrictions placed on a property.  You need to check the key facts about the property to see if there are any constraints.  Constraints may include being in a Demolition Control Precinct, a Local Plan area, or Heritage listing.  If there are constraints, contact Council on 07 3403 8888 for advice specific to your situation.

Subdivision process

Before a new lot can be sold, it has to be created and its title registered. The process is:

  1. Planning approval - submit planning application to Council, including proposed plan of subdivision.
  2. Assessment - Council assesses application against rules in City Plan and Local or Neighbourhood Plans.
  3. Compliance - you comply (or make changes to comply) with conditions, undertake required works and pay charges.
  4. Plan sealing - Council 'seals' the plan of survey and returns it to you.
  5. Registration of title - Applicant/owner arranges for registration of the sealed survey plan with the Queensland Government and title is issued under the Land Title Act 1994.

Application fees

You will need to pay a development application fee when you lodge your application.

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In addition to Development Application fees, there are Infrastructure Charges. For each new lot you create, there is a $26,000 infrastructure charge. This money contributes to the road, sewerage, water supply and community facilities networks.

You may need to give Council part of your land (as part of conditions of approval) for purposes like:

  • road widening
  • parkland
  • access easements

There are also fees for plan sealing, compliance assessment and to connect new lots to Council infrastructure, which are incurred after receiving development approval.

Expert help

Expert help can save you time and make the subdivision process a lot easier for you. You will need to engage a surveyor to design your subdivision so it complies with the relevant Code criteria.  Surveyors are familiar with the Subdivision Code (PDF - 905kb) and Council's Subdivision and Development Guidelines (which provide guidance on how to interpret and meet the requirements of the Subdivision Code and other relevant Codes).

You may also choose to engage a town planning consultant to help you prepare your planning application. This is not mandatory but will save you time and make the process easier. A town planner will make sure that all relevant Codes are considered, such as the Services, Works and Infrastructure Code and the Transport, Access, Parking and Servicing Code.

Proposed subdivisions with 10 lots or less may be suitable for fast-tracked assessment using the RiskSMART process.