Small Strata Developments

A small strata development is a way of retaining an existing house and providing a rear Block. It is an alternative to a Battle Axe Block. Small StrataThis plan shows a typical Small Strata Development.

With this type of development there are 3 Titles as follows:

  • A block title, of reduced size for the original house
  • A block title for the new block shown in red on the plan
  • An area of common title which is jointly owned by the owners of both blocks

So what  are the issues if you are thinking of buying the back block for you new home?


  • If the common driveway is completed it may well get damaged during construction.
  • Getting agreement about driveway repair can be difficult.
  • Getting agreement from your neighbour to use the access for during construction can be difficult.
  • Sharing a driveway means that your parking options are limited and can lead to disputes.
  • Looking after the shared driveway is like some of the
    Community Title

Additional Service Costs

You will be need to bring in some, if not all, of the following service for an extra 20-30m.

  • Power.
  • Phone.
  • Water, could be two services if you want recycled water.
  • Gas, if it is available.
  • Storm water drainage, can be a problem if property drains to road.

The sewer is usually at the back of the block but check before you buy.

Additional Building Costs

I have heard additional building costs of more than $15,000 for these blocks because they are Restricted Sites


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See Blocks for more information on buying land.


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Can You Subdivide?

I would advise calling into the Council Planning Department and discussing your block as early as possible. I have always found them very helpful.

To be better informed here are 4 things to think about before talking to the planner:

State and Local Planning Zones, Schedules , Overlays,  Rules, and Guidelines.

What State and Local Planning Scheme Zone,  Schedules  Overlays and Rules apply to your Block?

Has the council got any Guidelines on:

    • Neighbourhood Character
    • Heritage
    • Strategic Planning

This information can usually be obtained from the Internet, as there should be links on your Council’s website.

The Block Size

Generally the minimum block size most councils like to see is around 300m2. Planners may be flexible depending on the Building Envelope.

I don’t hold too much trust in Real Estate Agents statements so I would either check the Title Plan (follow the link to see an Explanation of Title Plans) or even get a tape measure out.

Building Envelope

This the actual area within your title boundaries that it is legally, and physically possible, to build on.

This can be affected by a wide range of factors described in this post: Building Envelope

Additionally with many block subdivisions there are shared driveways  which usually becomes a separate  common area rather than being  included in the block areas.

This means that you will probably need the original block to considerably more than 600 m2 to get two acceptable blocks.


A similar subdivisions in the area, which establishes a precedent, can improve your chances of an approval. It is therefore well worth having a walk around the area looking at what has already been built.

If you want to see what’s behind the fences I find Google Maps is a useful tool although it can be a year or two out of date. Another website is, which generally have more up to date maps than Google,  but you will have to pay to view them.

Even though you may decide to use a Surveyor or Planning Consultant to prepare your application, your research will give you a better  understanding of what is likely to be successful.


For More information see Subdivision Process

Another useful post is Subdivision Costs


Subdivision Costs

Are you thinking about splitting an existing house block to get a 2nd house block for free?………..Well it might be cheap compared with an existing block in the same area, but it won’t be free!

The costs can easily exceed $20,000 for a simple dividing a single block in two.

Below are some indications of costs for a subdivision:

  • Surveyor  – Around $2,500 for a simple subdivision. but can easily double for more difficult sites where a specialist plannner and/or engineer may need to be involved.
  • Solicitor – Typically around $1000-$1500.
  • Application Fees – Land Title, Council Planning Permit and other Authority fees can easily add another $2,000.
  • Infrastructure Charges – A charge  fee that Councils, and Water Authorities, charge as your new lot will  be placing extra load on existing  infrastructure, This can vary considerably depending on both the State and Council area you live in.  Figures over $30,000 are not unknown for Inner City Subdivisions.
  • Installation of Services -Connecting; power, gas, water,  stormwater, and the sewer  can easily add several thousand to the price. If you are required to have a storm water detention tank then add another $10,000 -$50,000.
  • Access – A separate footpath crossing can add over $1,500 but if you have a Battleaxe Block it can easily be $3-4,000.

And that’s before you started constructing anything on the block!

Because of the many variables its worth spending some time researching the costs for your area before you go too far.

 Also see Subdivision Process