Never start a project unprepared. Avoid issues and minimise your risks by understanding and following the planning and zoning rules that apply to your area.

Planning guidelines dictate that developers must follow to complete their projects within the confines of the legislation. But in fact, they’re much more than that.

As the economy of states and territories may differ, the regional planning guidelines are as well. And in most Australian cities, planning and zoning policies also impact emerging and future economic patterns of activity. 

It’s the reason why the Council on Federal Financial Relations issued a guide to policymakers across the country in response to the COVID pandemic. New regulations focus on practicality and performance while also targeting areas in need of immediate improvement.

No development project can move forward or be profitable unless you have a firm understanding of the planning guidelines in your area of operation – and how to follow them to a tee. 

This article will focus on the planning guidelines that you should know and offer five tips on easily sticking to the guidelines.

The Planning Guidelines

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) defines sound planning as preparing for urban growth, securing infrastructure investment, identifying settlement patterns, and fostering positive economic development.

Good Planning Principles

According to the PIA, the guidelines should improve legibility, urban form, and coherence. The goal is to reach desirable economic, social, and environmental outcomes. 

Furthermore, these principles should lead to the optimisation of settlement patterns in an attempt to achieve prosperity and a fair distribution of opportunities and resources.

Good planning principles should also highlight the national character and build vibrant communities. They’re designed to forecast, prevent, and minimise the impact of various consequences stemming from human activities, all while encouraging the cautious use of non-renewable resources and promoting sustainable ones instead.

The Core Elements

Eight key points make up the core elements of good planning. These emphasise creating opportunities in the community and for stakeholders to efficiently contribute to the planning process.

Another core element is strong leadership on both fronts, from both elected officials and industry leaders. Furthermore, good planning requires a professional culture that revolves around valuing planning.

Legislation that creates a hierarchy and integrates local policies is equally important. The same applies to an evidence-based strategic planning process displayed at all levels of government.

A core element of good planning dictates that rules and all approval conditions should deliver positive results for the environment and society. In addition, performance-based, equitable, and legible planning instruments are preferred for certainty regarding the planned outcomes.

The final core element is having guidance and support from various professions related to property development, such as engineering, ecology, social planning, urban design, etc.

The Five Tips

Learning the guidelines is one thing. Sticking to them is something entirely different. The five following tips will hopefully make the latter easier for you.

Tip #1. Reach Out to the Local Council

If you’re looking for the ultimate source of information regarding planning guidelines and zoning policies, visiting the local council should be the first on your agenda. 

Make sure to get the guidance you need before starting your project to avoid potential issues and delays along the way. Both in-person meetings and regular checking of the website should give you ample assistance in approaching a development project.

Tip #2. Attend Industry Conferences

Networking shouldn’t be something you do only to grow your business. Keep in mind that attending conferences is also a great way to learn about new methods to safeguard your company.

You can meet other people in the industry, perhaps some more knowledgeable than you. And you can listen to influencers and experts in your field.

Take these as opportunities to expand your own knowledge of planning and zoning policies, how to approach projects, and the entire industry.

Tip #3. Become an Industry Association Member

To go one step further, consider joining an industry association as well. 

Membership can open new doors for you in terms of knowledge and connections. Furthermore, it can help you build authority in your field and earn trust from project collaborators and buyers faster.

Besides, associations take good care of their members. They can provide constant updates on planning and zoning regulations in your area. Associations also have dedicated members who spend most of their time learning and understanding new laws as they’re published.

Thus, you can get a jumpstart on any project adjustments you may have to make.

Tip #4. Get the Latest Information

Since most developers get their information online, it’s important to remember one thing – never rely on a single source of updates.

For example, your local council may not be as prompt with their website uploads. Other websites may even have better management and provide critical planning and zoning amendments sooner.

In some cases, official websites don’t update followers as fast as their social media accounts. So, it’s a good idea to follow regulatory bodies, councils, and industry associations on various social media platforms.

Tip #5. Leverage Archistar

If you want to be even more professional and safe, consider leveraging Archistar’s AI technology and database. 

It’s ideally suited for identifying the best development sites. Moreover, it keeps and updates its massive national database regarding planning and zoning regulations. You can use the platform to inform yourself of new legislation while cutting down research time dramatically.

Avoid Costly Delays by Following the Rules

Every project you take on will require you to follow a specific set of guidelines in terms of planning and zoning. It can differ between states, which is why it’s vital to double-check your information in this area at all times.

Changes to the legislation can happen before, after, or even during a project. That’s why consistent updates are crucial for safeguarding your business and projects. If you follow the rules, you can minimise the impact of a dispute and the chances of getting delayed. 

You need to stay on top of the news and understand every guideline to ensure that your projects can move along without a hitch. 

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You can explore its national-wide database containing all the essential planning and zoning rules and use that information to find the most suitable projects. Also, you can leverage the platform to identify any adjustments you may have to make to your ongoing projects to avoid legal issues. On top of that, Archistar makes it easy to discover ideal planning areas for your vision by referencing the database of planning and zoning laws.