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Design & Town Planning Fees

Discussion in 'Development' started by opal3259, 20th Oct, 2015.

  1. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Folks,

    Interested to get your feedback/thoughts on design + town planning fees.
    Have a site that I'm looking to build 4-6 townhouses on.

    Site is inner city Melbourne under 500sqm.
    Medium type finish, shared walls, double story with basement parking.

    Roughly speaking, what type of fees would you expect to incur to get to planning approval stage?

    Not including external consultants (e.g. arborist, land surveyor, etc) - just the concept drawings, revisions and documentation required to obtain the planning permit from council.

    Have spoken to a couple of designers/architects and the quote range has varied dramatically.

    With a multi-unit development - do the design/permit fees increase for each unit you build... even if the units are clones? In other words, would a 10 townhouse development be double the cost of a 5 townhouse development?
     
  2. Be Developer

    Be Developer Property Developer Business Member

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    For Right architect/Building Designer you looking at 15-20k Inc/exc town planner fee.

    When you doing 4-6 townhouse, it is wise to hire independent town planner.
     
  3. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback bedeveloper.

    You mentioned that it's wise to hire an independent town planner.

    The designer I spoke to said that they would bring on a town planner if the need arises. But you're saying that it makes more sense to bring them on from the get go?
     
  4. Be Developer

    Be Developer Property Developer Business Member

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    Yes, I recommend using someone (town planner)familiar with your local council will be efficient and most likely would have worked with designer In a past.
     
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  5. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    Got it - thanks for the tip. Will do some digging.
     
  6. AndrewTDP

    AndrewTDP Urban Planning Consultant Business Member

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    Can't really comment on the Melbourne market, but your last point - no.

    There is an economy of scale with doing more units, especially when they are relatively standard units. So a 6 townhouse development might be 14k in architect fees, but a 10 would be around 22k, as an example. Things like site plan, site landscape plan etc all still have to be done, but if you are doing more repeated developments then you can cut the per unit cost down.
     
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  7. Aaron Sice

    Aaron Sice Well-Known Member

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    +1 for this advice.

    Costs also change across typology too. Apartments and townhouses and houses and hotels and commercial all change the level of input and work required which means costs can and do vary.
     
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  8. Planning Permit

    Planning Permit Active Member

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    Im assuming you will need stackers and maybe car lift if your site length is insufficient to achieve a ramp down. How many levels- fire engineer, accoustic, hydraulics all play a role at construction stage. A $10-14K fee for 6 units sounds doable for full design and town planning. Building costs vary depending on finishes number of floors etc and basement. Seen them to be around the $1800-$2500 sqm mark. Think tilt slabs for less traffic management costs.... lots to think of. Worked on a 400sqm apartment project in Carlton. Got 8 level student apartment- parking dispensation except for 4 stackers. Services co ordination was critical. Council to council requirements vary.
     
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  9. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense. My thought process was that economies of scale would kick in... but not sure which 'lens' the designers were looking through when coming up with their fee proposals. Imagine how much lower/nicer real estate commissions would be if the same approach was applied. Selling a 2.8 million dollar property is rarely 'double' the amount of work as selling a 1.4 million property... but that's a different rant altogether.
     
  10. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    Yes. I'm hoping the close proximity to train stations will help with the parking dispensation request with council. Very good point re: tilt slabs. It was a method I was looking at... but not from the traffic management angle, which is a very valid point given how tight the site envelop is.
     
  11. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    Have started speaking to a few more designers and the price variance for what 'appears' to be an apples for apples comparison is huge. So far the range is 10 to 40k for the same project (i.e. concept designs, pre construction tender docs, and town planning application).

    From the more experienced developers out there... is it safe to say that the biggest factor is whether you're dealing with a firm or an individual designer?

    I'm trying to wrap my head around whether the 'quality' of the plans at the end of the road are any better at 40k vs 10k. Obviously there are good designers and bad ones... but does the price variance represent quality of work - or is it simply the difference in overheads and profit margin?
     
  12. AndrewTDP

    AndrewTDP Urban Planning Consultant Business Member

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    Ask to see examples of work. Overheads have a big impact on costs so I wouldn't base it on quality v cost.
     
  13. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    Yup, in the process of doing this now. As a planner who's seen plenty of permits, what are the key things you're looking at to evaluate the quality of the designs? Outside or practicality and design aesthetic... does it mainly come down to the level of detail in the plans?
     
  14. Planning Permit

    Planning Permit Active Member

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    Experience matters: Please don't hesitate to ask the simple question:
    How many planning permits did you obtain? The answer will reveal your compass.
    There is talk- and more talk; but track records count!
     
  15. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense, but as a newbie developer... is realistic to be able to sit down with two sets of plans and make a determination between good vs bad? I guess what I'm getting at is... is it possible to spot a 'bad' planning permit before you get anywhere near the build phase? I've heard some horror stories of permits being granted by council, but not being 'buildable' once you progress further.
     
  16. Planning Permit

    Planning Permit Active Member

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    Town Planning input is critical to get your design supported at Council. A designer/architect with town planning skills is an asset as they can communicate the storey and respond successfully at those critical meetings with council officers, other statutory authorities and of course objectors who are bound to pop up ( and more so with the new Bill which came into effect on 15 October 2015 which gives number of objectors a voice at Council and VCAT)
    What is good design to a town planning officer at Council may not be what your real estate agent will be looking for! I have seen top tier Architect firms designs not selling or not maximising the yield. Both of these are important after all its your money we are playing with- not ours! Good design applies as much to the residents comfort as it does to the the streetscape- how does it present itself. Does it have that WOW! factor which tells a purchaser I want to be part of this community. A small practice will be devoted to your project as there will be a great sense of ownership and pride and collaboration. The time sheets don't matter as much.. Look at that sincerity to get great outcomes.
     
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  17. Mumbai

    Mumbai Well-Known Member

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    Am I missing something? Is it even possible to fit 6 townhouses in a under 500sqm block?
    That would be some plan!
     
  18. opal3259

    opal3259 Well-Known Member

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    With the right design, in the right area, on the right block... most definitely. I've seen 4 townhouse developments built on as little as 200sqm. Here's one recent example (this block was 189sqm) I believe:

    http://openbuildings.com/buildings/north-melbourne-townhouses-profile-46128
     
  19. LloydThomas

    LloydThomas Active Member

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    Hi AU, Are you able to PM your details. Would like to have a chat about subdivision projects.

    Thanks
     
  20. Aaron Sice

    Aaron Sice Well-Known Member

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    +1 for that....!

    ^^^ see that? that's talk from someone who understands both sides of the coin and who's flipping it.

    find someone who wants to do the job and is passionate about the result, not necessarily whom is the cheapest or the size of the business.

    it might look like a lot now, but $30k in extra fees could add $100k to your bottom line if the product is what the market wants, has some zing to it and sails through planning.

    food for thought.
     
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