How Much Does A Town Planner Cost For A Dual Occupancy (Ep135)

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Getting a town planner is an (almost) necessary step you need to take if you want to create a dual occupancy or go ahead with a subdivision of development.

Today I talk with Rochelle and Nicole from PfP Urban Planning about the costs of a town planner so you can get some ballpark figures when considering your next project.


Dual occupancies can be a great way to increase your rental income and get a better return on investment on your property.  But, they aren’t free to do, and they do come with a cost. There is the cost of a town planner, the cost to get approval and obviously there is other cost such as construction.

Today I sit down with Rochelle and Nicole from and we talk about the cost of getting a dual occupancy approved, so you can go ahead and make it happen. Now, it is very site specific, depending on what you want to do will affect the cost, but regardless, we had a look at an example, so at least you can get a ballpark figure of what it’s going to cost you.

In yesterday’s episode, we talked about dual occupancies in more detail and you can get that at

Before we go into the interview, I just want to let you know that I’ve listed another property for sale, and this one is a neutral cash flow property, so it actually is going to generate a couple of dollars per year in positive cash flow, but that’s close enough to zero that we call it neutral. It’s got a 7.19% rental yield and that’s definitely something that you are going to want to have a look at.  Head over to, to check that out.

Okay, so over to the interview with Rochelle and Nicole.

Ryan: Hi guys, this is Ryan from, your daily dose of property education and inspiration, and today I have with me, Nicole and Rochelle from PFP Urban Planning.

So guys, thank you for coming on the show today.

Rochelle: Hi Ryan.

Nicole: Thank you.

Rochelle: Thanks for having us.

Ryan:  What are we looking at, in terms of cost, when we are actually going to go ahead and do this? We already own a property, how much is the cost to hire a town planner?

Rochelle: Good question.

Nicole: It is a good question and it’s probably quite difficult to say.

Ryan:  Ballpark figures are fine.

Nicole:  Depend on, like the government areas as well, in terms of application fee to lodge.  Let’s just break it down. So, in terms of getting costing-wise, you are going to have your consultants fees, so that would be your town planner, a draughts person, and any other consultants that might be relevant for that particular site and that proposal you want to build. And then you’ve got your application cost. For every Council, to lodge an application, you need to pay an application fee, so there is that portion.  And then generally, there what’s called infrastructure charges or in other terms, developer contribution. So depending  on  again like government and what’s already, I guess, current uses, there is difference in charges that happen there.  So people are unaware of these costs.

Ryan:  I wasn’t aware of any of this, for example, so it’s good to learn.

Nicole:  Exactly. And as great as the idea is, yes, we are going to convert downstairs into a granny flat and we rent that out as individual single line apartment or we are going to this individual apartment and we are going to stick another house in the backyard, and we are going to sell it off, there are all costs associated with that. So, it’s just important to be aware that these costs do actually exist.

Now, some planners, and depending on the size, and how complex the size might be, we often by some councils offer services for lodgment service, so virtually you can go into accounts or with a basic  report done up on the proposal that you want to lodge, and go and have a meeting with the council. They will look at the information you have provided.  It’s very basic information and then they will give you some feedback straight up  to say, yes look, this is going to be a challenge, or these are things you need to be looking at before you lodge the application.  And that’s a really good way to engage. If we should do anything to it, it would be more of a higher risk type of application just to engage Council’s sort of opinion ….

Rochelle: ……or if there are particular issues that we need to resolve ahead of lodging an application.

So, we haven’t really answered your question as yet. It is because it is a very hard question to answer.

Ryan:  Well let’s just say again, let me give you a more specific example and maybe that will help.  Let’s say, I purchased a two storey property and basically I want to convert downstairs into one area and upstairs into a second dwelling. So we are talking not construction cost, but just getting planning approval and that sort of stuff. It would be thousands of dollars, hundreds of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars?

Nicole:  We are talking thousands of dollars.

Ryan:  Okay

Rochelle: Yea.

It would depend on your Local Government Council application fee, it would be …

Nicole: I have done this (unclear – 4:56 -4:58). I distinctly cost up a rough cost estimate for a client last week on this actual issue, so it’s probably a good time to talk about that, and as you   said, ballpark figures allow between $20,000.00 and 20,000.00 and that was looking at family accommodations, so that was having the granny flat downstairs and upgrading it separately, so if you have family…..

Rochelle:  That’s including infrastructure charges.

Nicole: Yes, and that’s including infrastructure….

Rochelle: That’s all fees.

Nicole: That’s all fees from beginning.

Ryan:  So, that’s like construction would be included?

Nicole:  No, not including construction, this is just to get through to the approval happening.

Rochelle:  So that would be consultants’ fees, city council fees and the infrastructure charges which are things that you pay to ….

Nichole:  Towards roads and things like that, you’ve got to make a contribution towards those

That was a smaller scale version, so depending on what they wanted to do, that could have reduced to about $5000.00.

Ryan: Wow, that’s pretty different.

Nicole: It is very different and that’s depending on this particular scenario and this particular government area. He could get (unclear – 5:58-6:00) and have to pay infrastructure charges if he had a final small fine print and not just getting over….and this scenario was 100 square meters, a small area of course, if it had been over that, it would jump straight up, with infrastructure charges it would be three times the cost

Rochelle: Our town planner’s fee, they are not that much.

Nicole: Couple of thousand dollars for town planning fees, and the application fee is about the same.

So usually the consultant fee isn’t that much, it might be around  $3000 for the town planning fees and it depends on the other consultants that you might need to have involved. The council application fee, again, it is different in every local government area so you have got to check specifically which area you are developing in, but, you might be looking around say $2000 to account for lodgment fees and then it’s the infrastructure charges which could be anything up from $0 to $16,000 to $17,000 to  $20,000 depending on the area.

Ryan:   Okay, so it is extremely sight specific as to what they want to achieve.

Nicole:  It is.

Ryan: So there is really no point of saying what it is you are going to expect.

Rochelle: No.

Ryan: What people should realistically do is go out and talk to yourself, or talk to a town planner on the estimate.

Nicole: Yes.

Ryan: And so at least, I assume you’ll get a rough idea over the phone. It is kind of more site specific of what we are after, but realistically we can’t just go into our property and say we are going to convert this into dual occupancy and just think that we are going to do it for free or for a couple of hundred dollars.

Rochelle:  There is an investment, definitely.

Ryan:  Yea.

Nicole: Saying that, you get the returns on your investment, once you get the income coming through.

Rochelle:  And you’ve got legal approval, so you can un-sell, I guess, down the track.

Ryan:  If anyone wants to get in contact with you, how can they best get in contact with you?

Rochelle:  You can head to our website which is and that’s got  our emails, our phone numbers.  We are probably going to put a link through your website with this podcast, I’m guessing.

Ryan:  Yea.

Rochelle: So you can just click on that link, give us a call, or send us an email if you’ve got a property that you are specifically looking at, or you just got some specific questions, as part of our service is to give you some advice, up front initially.  I’m happy to go through any queries that you might have.  Nichole, do you have anything to add?

Nichole:  Nothing to add. You actually covered it.

So, as you can see, trying to get them down to a price of exactly what it is going to cost is very difficult, because it is very site specific.  But, as they mentioned, you can give them a call and they offer some free advice over the phone.  So if you have an idea of what you want to do and you are not a 100% sure whether it could happen or how much it is going to cost, then just go to, give Rochelle and Nicole a call, and then work out with them what kind of cost you are going to be in for.

So, the rough estimate that I could get out of that was your town planner fee is going to be somewhere around the $3000 mark, but obviously they are very significantly as well and then you got council lodgment fee which again the ballpark figure is around $2000 and you have also got what’s call infrastructure charges which can be anywhere from $0 upwards to $17,000  or $20,000.  So it can be very significantly based on what you want to do, and how to round those things up, but at least that  gives you something to take away and to think about tonight before you start going to an architect and getting drawings done up.

So I hope that this has been helpful to you.

For the full transcription, head over to and if you want to check out that property that I mentioned that is a neutral give with a 7.19% rental yield, head over to to check that out today.

So until tomorrow, remember that your long term success is only achieved one day at a time.

Calculating the cost of a town planner and dual occupancy into a property is important to understand EXACTLY what your cash flow will be. The Advanced Property Calculator has an inbuilt option allowing you to add miscellaneous costs to your loan or cash investment to easily calculate your return on investment. Make investing easy – get the Advanced Property Calculator today.

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