Your ultimate guide to land subdivision in Perth
If your property investment strategy includes subdividing land, you have likely started looking into the relevant rules and regulations.
And that means you know how complex land subdivision in Perth can become.
Unless you’re an expert on subdivisions in Perth, navigating the applications, approvals, legal requirements, costs, and construction plans can quickly become overwhelming.
However, the potential upsides to subdividing land are well worth the effort.
Just ask the 13,000 Western Australians who receive subdivision approval every year.
The benefits of subdividing land
- Sell subdivided lots to owner-builders
- Build homes to rent or sell
- Take advantage of rising property prices
- Earn passive income
- Downsize your home without moving
In this guide, we’re going to outline everything you need to know about land subdivision so you can make an informed decision and achieve your property investment goals.
The following points are not intended as legal advice, but we hope they help you understand more about the subdivision process.
How land subdivision in Perth works: Breaking down the process
Before you can start planning a subdivision, you first need to check whether your block is zoned correctly.
“Zoning” refers to the Council designation that determines minimum block size, dwelling density, building height and more.
Zoning even determines how wide your garage can be!
Every block is zoned using an R Code, so the first item on your land subdivision checklist is finding your block’s R Code.
What are R Codes?
R Codes, or Residential Design Codes, govern building design requirements in residential areas.
Most importantly, R Codes define the minimum block size for land subdivisions.
A lot zoned as R20, used to mean a maximum dwelling density is 20 units per hectare of land.
R30 used to allow for 30 units per hectare, R40 for 40 – you get the idea. But things have changed since then, and in many cases if you understand the planning requirements, you can significantly increase your property’s yields.
But R Codes also dictate a range of important design features:
- Street setback
- Lot boundary setback
- Percentage of open space required
- Maximum building height
- Street surveillance requirements
- Maximum garage width
The takeaway here is that block size isn’t the only consideration.
A combination of parameters determines whether a subdivision is possible depending on the lot zoning.
- R20 lots have a 350m2 minimum site area (the average is 450m2), a 6m street setback, and the residence must cover 50% of the site with 30m2 of outdoor space.
- R30 lots have a 260m2 minimum site area (the average is 450m2), a 4m street setback, and the residence must cover 45% of the site with 24m2 of outdoor space.
How to find your lot’s R Code
Thankfully, zoning information is easy to find using the free IntraMaps database.
Simply perform an online search for “IntraMaps” and your local council (e.g., IntraMaps City of Perth).
Find the correct link to the council maps and use the address search at the bottom of the page to find your property.
A quick tip: if your lot has an R-MD Code, it is zoned for medium density housing, so you can build more units on the block.
Subdivision feasibility study
So, your lot is large enough to subdivide – but is it a good idea?
Land subdivisions can yield impressive returns and long-term rental income, but it’s prudent to gauge the potential returns before getting too far.
A Perth subdivision expert can conduct a feasibility study to determine the best path forward.
By studying your block in the context of the broader property market, the expert can advise on:
- Type of subdivision (Green Title or Strata)
- Renovation requirements
- Whether to knock down and rebuild
- Site clearing considerations
At the same time, you should receive an estimate of the subdivision costs.
The cost of subdivision in Perth can be significant, but the added value and property investment gains can be far more considerable.
Subdivision costs can range depending on the size and complexity of your land subdivision.
You can use our subdivision costs guideline to understand what costs are involved and how to evaluate the costs against your financial goals.
Or, if you prefer, you can book a free consultation with a Perth subdivision expert to talk through indicative subdivision costs, considerations and a plan moving forward.
Applying for subdivision in Perth
The WA Planning Commission (WAPC) receives, processes and rules on all subdivision applications in Perth.
Land subdivision applications take some time to complete and process.
The application process itself is quite complex because it requires detailed plans and lots of official documentation.
While you can gather these documents and submit them yourself, navigating the requirements is cumbersome.
We suggest partnering with a subdivision project manager who can take care of the entire process on your behalf.
As well as saving you time and stress, this will significantly increase your chances of receiving approval to proceed with the subdivision.
Preparing the site
WAPC approval is often contingent on site clearing and remediation work.
Before you can start building, you need to address any concerns around the site and under the soil.
Site clearing generally includes:
- Utility requirements (water, power and sewer services)
- Clearing trees or protecting native bushland
- Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) risk management
- Engineering for sloped lots
- Moving or rebuilding boundary fences
- Removing asbestos or other building material
Every subdivision project is unique, and the Development Approval (DA) may outline other conditions.
As an experienced subdivision expert, we have a trusted network of contractors to handle any and all conditions in the DA.
Once all conditions are met, your subdivision project manager will submit the required forms and designs to the WAPC, Landgate and any other invested stakeholders to receive final approval.
Title lodgements and clearance forms are legally complex but essential for your subdivision project.
(You can read more about the importance of land surveying in our previous post here.)
But don’t worry – we can help you avoid delays and get sign-off to start your life-changing subdivision project.
Congratulations! Your application is approved, and you can start construction.
Whether you are building compact homes on subdivided lots or subdividing to sell the empty land, some construction will be required.
The process of building on a subdivision is a topic for another post.
For now, we will leave you to ponder the pros and cons of subdividing land.