Subdivision Design Explained

Subdivision Design Explained

Subdivision is one of the most effective ways you can add value to your property. Having a property that is capable of being subdivided will greatly expand its development possibilities, and therefore drive up its market value.

Rear view of two adjoined subdivided bricked buildings

Subdivision Design Explained

There are a large number of things involved in subdivision design. Read our interesting blog on tips to guide Queensland property owners through the subdivision process.

Here are a few of the ways that effective subdivision design can add significant potential and value to your property.

The Factors of Subdivision Design  

Subdivision design sits at the nexus of land surveying and urban planning – and involves consideration of factors ranging from soil quality to surrounding local infrastructure.

Land Survey  

Having an effective land survey is the first step before considering (and then applying for) subdivision of land.  A registered surveyor will be required (and one who has cadastral endorsement) is needed to determine the following:

  • The precise boundary reconfiguration being considered
  • The multiple lots the client plans to create
  • Dimensions, setbacks and frontages of existing dwellings
  • Information on contours, easements, and services to the site
  • Costing information determined with reference to the size, slope, and access to the client’s site

Land surveys are an essential foundation for assessing the best way to subdivide land to create its optimum value – but different subdivisions will have to meet different criteria. For instance, a duplex will generally require a larger amount of frontage.


Essential Factors to Consider in Subdivision Design

The manner in which the property is subdivided will obviously matter a great deal to its utility and value.

Some factors to consider when subdividing the block include:

  • Topography and vegetation
  • Surrounding road and pavement design, including regulation of traffic flows and the impact on accessibility
  • Subsurface drainage design
  • Stormwater drainage design
  • Site regrading to the purpose
  • Erosion control and stormwater management
  • Waterfront development (if applicable)
  • Orientation, solar access, and prevailing wind direction


Other Things to Consider

A subdivision is a complex process extending beyond the strict practical considerations involved.

One must always be aware of the local council planning constraints in place. The main factors affecting planning constraints include:

  • Lot sizes (generally minimum sizes of subdivided land)
  • Depth to frontage ratio standards
  • Zoning
  • Overlays (e.g. flooding, vegetation, waterway setbacks, bushfires, etc.)
  • Neighbourhood plans (i.e. character protection)

There are also many accompanying fees and required reports to be lodged with local council, including:

  • Planning report
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Public notification
  • Council application
  • Registering Titles
  • Council contributions (which can be as high as $28,000/lot in Queensland)
  • Sewer and water provision
  • Utility installation (e.g. electricity & phone)
  • Compliance certificates
  • Traffic Engineering
  • Acoustic Engineering
  • Environmental Reports
  • Landscape Intent Reporting
  • Architectural Intent Reporting (especially on steep land or small lot designs)
  • Civil Engineering services Provision Reporting
  • Structural Engineering (if there are retaining walls)


Subdividing your land can be a great way to add value to your property if it is done correctly. Arnold Development Consultants is a holistically focused and multidisciplinary team that can see you through all the stages of the subdivision process. Contact us today to get the most out of your investment.