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Getting On The Fast Track To Development Profits
For budding Property Developers, one of the "hidden" expenses they often don't take into consideration is holding costs...

Given that developing a property can take anything from months to years, it's a cost that can go from being relatively small to suddenly chewing up a lot of your profit.

In some states the planning process is reasonably well-defined and efficient, so you can have a fairly good idea of how long it's going to take, and allow for an appropriate level of holdings costs in your feasibility.

And then there are states (and I'm looking at you, Victoria!) where the planning process can be excruciatingly slow and completely throw all your timelines out the window.

So if I were to tell you there's a way to fast track your development approval, giving you confidence when allocating holding costs and enabling you to reach your profit goals quicker, would you be interested?
Sounds like the holy grail of property developing, right? Let me be clear about something though - this is only available for simple, basic development projects. If you're planning to build a multi-storey apartment building, you're going to have to stick with the normal process. Or if you're in Tasmania, who doesn't have a fast track system. Sorry Tasmanians!

But in most other states, there is some type of fast track planning system available for permits considered to be for "minor" development projects. The definition does vary, but one of my favourite development strategies, a small land subdivision, is a great example.
Some states have a statewide system, for example NSW and their Complying Development Code (CDC). Other states manage it at a Council level, and you may find differences between Councils as a result. One common feature, though, is that the process of verifying the project ticks all the necessary boxes for approval is taken outside of Council to an external consultant. This is usually a private Town Planner, but may be a Building Surveyor. By doing this, you bypass any backlogs in Council, as you have a lot more options to choose from.

A typical timeframe for a fast track development is just a few weeks. That's not set in concrete, but unless you're wrong in thinking your development complies, most of the time it applies.

Let's take a look at how it works, state by state....

Queensland

In Queensland the process is known as Risk Smart, and is managed at Council level. The main Councils in South East Queensland use it, including the Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast City Councils. Outside of those areas, check with your local council.

New South Wales

NSW has the Complying Development Code (CDC) which applies statewide. Here's a good place to start  https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/onlinecdc
Victoria

Victoria uses VicSmart, and similarly to NSW, it applies statewide. More information is available here

South Australia

South Australia has also chosen to take a statewide route in implementing their new planning approach. Theirs is called "Deemed to Satisfy Developments". Here's a good starting point: https://plan.sa.gov.au/

Western Australia

Check with your local Council, as rules differ.

Tasmania and Northern Territory

You're out of luck I’m sorry...but maybe that's because volumes are low enough that they don't need a fast track option?!

New Zealand

The Streamlined Planning Process is still being rolled out across New Zealand. It’s been developed centrally, but each Council needs to implement it separately.

So there you have it. Take the time to check out your local Council’s planning process to see if there’s a way you can use a fast track approval process and hear the ‘ka-ching’ sound from your property development project being completed sooner rather than later.
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