Subdivision is a process where a parcel of land is 'cut' or subdivided into smaller allotments.
Each of these smaller allotments is given a unique Lot and Deposited Plan (DP) number, which is how land is described and identified. These numbers are shown on the Certificate of Title for the land.
Land subdivision can be a lengthy, complicated and expensive process. It is usually carried out by an experienced property developer. However individuals can do small subdivisions with help from consultants.
Subdivision approval process
Stage 1 - Development Application (DA)
Stage 1 involves submitting a Development Application, which includes supporting documentation known as a Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) and lodgement with the Consent Authority.
The Consent Authority could be Council or the Department of Planning (please seek pre lodgement advice to confirm).
- Assessment of the Statement of Environmental Effects is carried out by Council Officers and/or the relevant state government departments.
- Requests for Further Information (RFI) may be required during the assessment process to clarify certain matters.
- Determination of the DA (approval with consent conditions or refusal).
See DA checklist - subdivision (exempt and complying development codes)(PDF, 227KB)
Stage 2 - Subdivision Works Certificate
If the DA is approved it is likely that a Subdivision Works Certificate for public infrastructure will be required.
A Subdivision Works Certificate includes engineering drawings that show a Contractor how to build the infrastructure for the subdivision. It may include (but is not limited to) roads, earthworks and stormwater drainage. See below for more details about sewer and water reticulation.
Subdivision Works Certificate applications may be approved by either Council or a Private Certifier. The engineering plans for the application must be prepared by a Professional Engineer experienced in the design of public infrastructure with National Engineer Registration (NER) accreditation or a NSW Registered Surveyor.
If public sewer and water reticulation is needed to service the subdivision, a Certificate of Compliance must be obtained under Section 307 of the Water Management Act 2000.
The applicant must submit engineering plans for the sewer and water reticulation, and get approval for these plans under Section 68 of the Local Government Act.
Stage 3 - Works start
After the Subdivision Works Certificate and Section 68 is approved, the contractor can start works (as per the consent, the approved drawings and Council's design and construction specifications).
Inspections of the public infrastructure works by Council officers will be required during the course of construction. The engineer engaged by the developer must also attend these inspections and certify the completed works.
Stage 4 - Work As Executed (WAX) Plans
When all works are completed the developer must submit a Work As Executed application.
(Works must be completed in accordance with the development consent and the approved Subdivision Works Certificate, and a successful Final Practical Inspection must have been carried out by Council or the Private Certifier (where the Private Certifier has issued the Subdivision Works Certificate).
The WAX application includes plans prepared by the same consultancy that prepared the Subdivision Works Certificate plans, plus the engaged Surveyor, showing the location of the constructed infrastructure against that which was approved, highlighting any variation in allowable tolerance.
Once Council is satisfied with the construction, a Subdivision Works As Executed Plans Compliance Certificate (SWAXCC) is issued by Council.
The SWAXCC certificate is a pre-requisite for the submission of the associated Subdivision Certificate.
Stage 5 - Subdivision Certificate
Once the SWAXCC certificate is issued, the Developer must submit an application for a Subdivision Certificate.
The Subdivision Certificate application is a comprehensive package of documents that provide evidence of compliance with the conditions of consent contained in the DA approval. Professional assistance is recommended for the preparation and submission of this application.
The Subdivision Certificate application will be assessed by Council's Development Engineers. If all conditions have been satisfactorily complied with the Development Engineer will recommend that the Subdivision Certificate be endorsed by Council's Authorised Officer.
Endorsement (signature/approval) of the Subdivision Certificate is required before NSW Land Registry Services will register the new Lot and DP number and subsequently issue the new title.
At this stage the new allotment or property is legal. Land ownership can only be transferred after the new Lot and DP number (title) are issued.
Frequently asked questions
What does ""Call up"" mean?
"Call up" means that Council will utilize the money paid at time of lodging the cash bond to rectify any incomplete/damaged works/infrastructure identified as a result of an unsatisfactory inspection.
What happens if the works are not satisfactorily completed?
If after the inspection the Council officer determines that the works have not been satisfactorily completed and/or damage has occurred then Council will "call up" the bank guarantee.
When will my bank guarantee be returned?
In order for a bank guarantee to be returned, the applicant who applied for the initial bank guarantee will need to write to Council to request that the guarantee be returned.
Council will not return a bank guarantee until it is satisfied that all works associated with the guarantee have been completed. Generally an inspection will be carried out by a Council officer to determine if the works have been completed.
If after the inspection the Council officer determines that all works have been completed satisfactorily then Council will process the return of the bank guarantee.
When will my cash bond be refunded?
In order for a cash bond to be refunded/returned the applicant who applied for the initial cash bond will need to write to Council to request that the bond be returned/refunded.
Council will not refund a cash bond until it is satisfied that all works associated with the cash bond have been completed. Generally an inspection will be carried out by a Council officer to determine if the works have been completed.
If after the inspection the Council officer determines that all works have been completed satisfactorily then Council will process the refund of the cash bond.