Due Diligence of a Development
Before you commit to buying a development site, carry out a due diligence
investigation to safeguard your investment. Surely you do not want to end up purchasing a
problem site, a lemon or paying too much, do you?
Do not fall into the trap of believing an overzealous real estate agent's claim on
what can be built on a site!!
Individual circumstances of each site has to be assessed to determine their
development potential and possible contraints. Your site need to be assessed against local
laws, through planning scheme provisions including zoning, overlays and codes and against
related registers such as flooding, contaminated sites and past approvals.
Check ownership details. Are there any encumbrances on
title? Read more...
If your site does not have development approval (or
DA) find out what can it be used for or what can be built on it under the existing planning
scheme. Read more...
Land contaminated by
former waste disposal, industrial and similar activities is often discovered during changes
to land use - for example, an industrial manufacturing complex is demolished to make way for
a residential development.
Typically sites where pollution of land and/or groundwater
poses an unacceptable risk to human health or to the environment require costly clean-up,
monitoring and/or institutional controls.
Before buying a development site find out whether
it is listed in the EPA Priority Sites Register? The last thing you want is to unknowingly purchase a contaminated site and
be ordered to remediate the problem. In Victoria liability for site contamination rests mainly
with the polluter or the occupier of the premises. However, the broad definition of occupier is
such that 'innocent' persons (i.e. those who did not cause the contamination) may be liable
although they may be able to recover remediation costs from the actual culprit (the
The impact such liability may have on a property's
value reinforces the importance of due diligence investigations at the time of purchase.
Heritage and Archeological
Pay particular attention to identification and
protection of cultural and historic heritage sites including those associated with Aboriginal
heritage. Sensitive areas could include sites with historic values, including landscape and
building elements, meeting places, burial grounds and places of historical or cultural
significance to the Aboriginal community.
Resolving such matters can introduce significant
delays and expense to the planning process, and impact on the development potential of a
site, which in turn will have direct adverse effects on the site
If your site is located close to
a creek, a river or a lake, it is most likely to be included in a
land subject to inundation overlay? A flood report from your local Council would
However, even if the flood
report gives your place the all-clear, there is still the possibility of overland flow,
which basically occurs when there's more water than the underground drainage system can
handle, causing the excess water to back up causing flooding.
Flora and Fauna
Mature native trees and
native grass lands and other vegetation can be a significant constraint on the development
potential of a site and they must be taken into careful consideration. Some planning
authorities require off-set plantings to be undertaken to compensate for any loss of
vegetation. To accommodate such off-set plantings require land, which can be a
significant constraint on development and feasibility of a