Building Envelope

If you need to fit a large House onto a small block one of the issues you will have to deal with is ‘The Building Envelope”.

What this means is the actual area within your title boundaries that is legally and physically possible to build on.

The building envelope can be affected (reduced) by:

  • The size and positioning of Easements.
  • Required Setbacks from roads.
  • Restrictive Covenants.
  • Setbacks from adjoining blocks.
  • Ability to Build on Boundary.
  • Significant trees.
  • Existing buildings/structures that can’t /  won’t be removed.
  • Neighbourhood amenities.
  • Location of driveway crossovers.
  • Requirement for vehicles to leave the site travelling forward if the block is on a main road.
  • Nature strip assets such as Fire Hydrants.

So when you are looking at buying a block don’t think you can automatically build on all……. or even 75% of the block.

All councils will have different requirements and may even have varying requirements for different neighbourhoods.

It can be worthwhile talking to the council about permissible Building Envelopes, particularly if you want to  build on more than 50% of the block or are on a corner block.


See Blocks for more things to think about when buying a block.





  1. Harris

    How much should the front setback be?

    1. Brian Ashworth (Post author)

      For a typical new subdivision its typically 5m.
      For established suburbs it could be as little as 0m for a Victorian Terrace or 9-10m for an area with lots of ‘Mansions’ such as Bayside in Melbourne.

      I will be posting more details about Setbacks in the next couple of weeks.


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