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When looking into subdividing any piece of land, the first and most important step is to determine whether your land can be subdivided.

“Can my land be subdivided?”

This question might be one of the most common enquiries that our team handles from week to week, but it’s a bit more complex than first thought.

Without inspecting your land in more detail, it’s hard to provide a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer – but there are a few things that a Licensed Surveyor will look for when putting together their advice.

In South Australia, there are a number of factors that will determine whether or not your land is suitable for subdivision. These contributing factors include, but are not limited to:

  • your local council’s zoning rules;
  • access to the land;
  • the shape or slope of your land; and
  • the utilities or services connected to your land.

Your local council’s zoning rules

Each local council area has a unique set of zoning rules, which determines how big or small a block can be, the percentage of the block that can be used for a dwelling, the minimum setback distance, and other important requirements.

The simplest way to understand this often complex information is to speak to your local town planner or council representative for advice. Alternatively, a trusted Licensed Surveyor from Alexander Symonds can conduct an appraisal of your land, liaise with your local council on your behalf, provide expert advice and guide you on your next course of action.

The shape, size and slope of your land

The shape, size and slope of your land can affect how easy it is to access, or restrict the ‘workable’ area of the land. Construction could be very expensive or simply impractical, especially if you’re subdividing a very steep slope.

As with your local council’s zoning regulations, the size of your block will dictate if and how you can subdivide. You will need to consider the shape and size of the new separate blocks of land, the type of Title that might best suit the land, and how these factors will affect future development or construction plans.You should also carefully consider how you could access the subdivided blocks of land.

Things to consider include:

  • Could any new driveways or access routes be easily built?
  • How do the location of street trees and stobie poles affect access?
  • Does the new access route affect any neighbouring blocks or land owners?
  • Is the new access route legal?

It’s a good idea to enquire with an experienced civil contractor, a Licensed Surveyor or your local council about the best way to proceed.

Street with terrace houses

Connections to utilities and services, such as sewerage, water and electricity

When looking into whether or not your land is suitable for subdividing, you should also consider some of the practical aspects of creating a new piece of land: water, power and sewerage connections.

Sewer and water are mandatory requirements of completing a land division, and for obtaining new titles for your land.

Sewerage

When subdividing, it’s important to consider the cost of new sewerage connections or extensions. These can often be one of the most expensive pieces of the subdivision process, especially if your newly subdivided piece of land does not currently reach an existing part of the mains sewer system. If you have a steep block, you’ll also need to consider the cost of installing a pump to ensure waste can reach the sewer main from the lowest points on your block.

Water

Similarly, you’ll also need to take into consideration the connection to a water supply. You can obtain advice about water supply for your land from SA Water or from a Licensed Surveyor, who’ll liaise with SA Water, your local council and other authorities on your behalf.

Electricity, telephone & NBN

While not mandatory requirements for land division, Telephone, NBN and electricity connections should all be considered carefully in a development project, and easements may be required.

Connecting a newly subdivided block to electricity supplies can be costly, and might require the creation of easements for power poles, underground cables and other infrastructure. You’ll need agreement from any adjoining land owners for this easement creation, which can sometimes be difficult.


Before you begin the lengthy subdivision process, it’s vital that you understand whether or not your land can actually be subdivided, and, if so, the rules or regulations you need to be aware of within your local council area.

Complex application forms, strict standards and regulations to meet, along with a number of government and local council authorities to liaise with – the process can quickly become overwhelming. Hiring a Licensed Surveyor to take care of this complex process on your behalf can save you precious time and money, so you can get on with building your new investment property or selling your newly divided land.

Our team of consultants, planners and Licensed Surveyors can help you understand the lay of your land, providing honest, expert advice. If you are able to subdivide, our team can manage the entire process for you, from start to finish – that means less time spent on paperwork, and more time to plan your future development.

Need expert advice for your land?

Request a free quote and site appraisal from our land division specialists.

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