Given there are multiple reasons why construction of a single dwelling may require planning and building approval, HIA’s approach will need to be tailored to suit the existing systems in each state and territory.
There is a range of problems that need solving, meaning there will be a range of solutions to bring forward. Currently two approvals may be triggered by:
- restrictions in the residential zoning requirements that mandate planning approval
- additional restrictions in planning schemes that apply overlays or requirements that trigger planning approval
- restrictions in local policies or codes that trigger planning approval
- onerous or excessive design requirements in state or local housing codes that trigger planning approval
- and in some cases, a planning and building system that is linked in such a way that building approval cannot operate without a planning approval.
Of the various approval pathways in each state and territory some are more burdensome than others.
While no jurisdiction can be held up as having the ideal approval system for a single dwelling on residential land, NSW does tick the box today. It took more than a decade of hard work to make it so, but the effort has paid off, with more than 30 per cent of new homes now taking advantage of the 20-day complying development approval process. A figure that was as low as 10 per cent a decade ago.
In NSW, despite having a combined planning and building system like South Australia and Queensland, the use of complying development offers a single approval pathway for specified developments. Complying development is desirable in terms of offering a streamlined approvals system, however, the provisions can be unduly harsh under local planning instruments when compared to the state planning codes, which can limit the ability for a homeowner or builder to use this option.
Other jurisdictions, such as Western Australia and Victoria, do have provisions in their planning systems that supposedly create a simplified pathway for the construction of a single dwelling. However, in the past decade, these provisions have come under pressure and are now seldom able to be broadly utilised, making them of limited benefit.
It should be a reasonable expectation for home buyers and builders that the construction of a new single dwelling on residential land can proceed with minimal planning intervention. Only in exceptional circumstances should planning be triggered and when it is, the requirements should be supported by clear standards and outcomes that need to be assessed prior to approval being granted. Overlays and local policies that simply trigger a planning check ‘to be sure’ should have no place.