Subdivision Masterclass
Join the Digital Development Masterclass hosted by Alex Steffan from STP
PST - 4pm March 25th, 2021
EST - 7pm March 25th, 2021
Sydney, Aus - 10am March 26th, 2021
Register now

Subdivision: Getting the balance right between software and experts.

March 12, 2021

Unsurprisingly, subdividing a piece of land into multiple parcels isn’t as easy as knocking up a fence and a for sale sign. The process can involve literally hundreds of people from town planners, surveyors, engineers right through to the person that digs the fence post holes.

We’ve taken some of the work out for you, but the art of subdivision is knowing what will get approved. This is where you’ll need an experienced Town Planner to give you the inside story. 

Let’s go through some fundamental steps of qualifying a subdivision, with some input from Brisbane based development assessment expert, Alexander Steffan (Steffan Town Planning).

Step 1 – Chat to a local town planner to identify any potential issues, early.

The first integral step of any new subdivision project is to identify all of the potential issues and requirements for the prospective development. Your local town planner should be familiar with the intricacies of the council rules and regulations, which will help you significantly.

Some key issues that your planner may need to help you work through might include bushfire hazards, protected vegetation, flooding, and infrastructure networks.  

ProTip: Open Giraffe to the site you are looking at, pull in the relevant government layers and get on the phone to your Town Planner. You will save both of you a lot of time to have that information at your fingertips.

Step 2 – Get to work on some concept plans!

Once a town planner has identified all key issues and concerns with the property, you should now have an enveloped area that you can start designing your subdivision within.

This is where Giraffe really comes in handy!

Using our subdivision application, anyone can whip up a range of conceptual subdivision proposal plans using various attributes (such as the frontage width, or the total area of each individual allotment).

As seen in the below video, it takes merely seconds to draw multiple subdivision options and quickly test the possible yield of a property.

Alexander Steffan lets us know the most used feature for his team.

“One of our favourite features is being able to adjust the development footprint. We’re able to test what the amended yield will be, if the development footprint is moved slightly into one of the mapped overlays”.

In the below example, we’ve pushed the envelope so each allotment slightly extends within a flood overlay. You can see how quickly we’ve turned a 3-lot yield into 5 lots.

Money in the bank!

Step 3 – Meet with your local Council to discuss your options. 

Once you have a few options panned out, it’s time to get your local council involved. As an expert in development assessment, Alex always recommends an early meeting with the council – especially if you’re looking to push some boundaries with your project.

A pre-lodgement meeting can give you confidence that you’re not wasting your time or money on a subdivision that won’t ever be approved. 

ProTip: Taking the Giraffe model to the council meeting, and working through the various scenarios makes a world of difference. Having the data at your fingertips reacting live to suggestions in the pre-lodgement meeting gives you the power.

Step 4 – Fine-tune the proposal plan. Hire a surveyor and any other specialists required.

Now that you have feedback from Council, your subdivision proposal might have changed! In the below example, I’ve deleted the flood overlays. By moving the property boundaries, we now have 7 lots! 

Don’t get too excited though, the feedback from Council might be negative and you may only end up with 2-lots, instead of the original 5.

Step 5 – Lodge your application & eagerly await your approval.

At this stage, with guidance from your town planning consultant, you can now engage all of the relevant consultants to formally draw your subdivision proposal (e.g. on a survey plan).

It’s finally time to lodge the required documentation to Council for approval. Easy done!



By using the Giraffe platform to collaborate with Council & your town planner - you can fast track steps 2-4 and run many more options to ensure highest and best use. In our above example, we turned a 3-lot subdivision into 5 lots, then again into 7 lots, with the click of a few buttons. Not only have we saved a lot of time (and time is money!) – we’ve also doubled our yield and potential profits on the project. 

While software can help to speed things up - it can’t help you with what rules are hard and what rules are negotiable with Council. By collaborating in Giraffe - you get the speed of the computer - the IP of your town planner & can translate human negotiation into real outcomes at the speed of conversation.

If you’d like to learn how you can supercharge your development team - sign up for the Subdivision Masterclass on the 18th of March.

Thank you to Alexander Steffan from Steffan Town Planning for the tips! 


Subdivision Masterclass
Join the Digital Development Masterclass hosted by Alex Steffan from STP
PST - 2pm March 18th, 2021
EST - 5pm March 18th, 2021
Sydney, Aus - 9am March 19th, 2021
Register now