DIVIDING FENCES ACT 1991
The Dividing Fences Act 1991 (the Act) deals with many matters for the construction of fencing along shared boundaries. This includes the type and height of fencing, the shared cost of the new fence and the position of the fence. These matters can be agreed upon by the neighbours but if there are any contentious aspects of the sharing of a fence then the Act regulates neighbours’ responsibilities.
A Registered Land Surveyor is involved with the position of the fence and can mark the position of the boundary for fencing purposes when instructed. Clause 18 of the Act refers to the procedure of defining the boundary line and the costs of surveys.
OLD SYSTEM BOUNDARIES
The majority of land in NSW is held under Torrens Title but some property boundaries are still either under the Old System or Limited Torrens Title system. Even though the Torrens Title system was introduced in NSW in 1863 and all land granted by the Crown after that date was Torrens Title there remains many urban and rural properties that were part of land originally granted by the Crown prior to that date. Many inner city suburbs of Newcastle still have a lot of land that is not under the Torrens Title system including within the areas of Cooks Hill, Carrington and Hamilton.
In most cases the Old System boundaries require a lot more survey investigation in both the field and in the office to redefine than Torrens Title boundaries. A survey involving land under Old System or Limited Torrens Title system requires the Registered Land Surveyor to consider any old descriptions of the land boundaries contained in Deeds of Conveyance as well as the age, nature and position of occupations on or near the boundaries of the property. If occupations along or near the boundaries are older than 12 years, then there may be a possibility that the occupier of this land has a claim over this land. Importantly, if the location of a boundary redefined from a Deed of Conveyance lies outside of occupations greater than 12 years old then there is potential that that land will be lost to the benefit of the adjoining owner. Therefore, it is very important to have surveys undertaken by a Registered Surveyor when purchasing these properties so that you are aware of any of these types of issues. Often your Bank or lending company will request a survey when these types of properties are purchased so that these matters are investigated and outlined in an Identification Survey Report by a Registered Land Surveyor.
Land can be converted from Old System Title to Torrens Title through a Primary Application. This can be a lengthy process that normally requires a full plan of survey to be undertaken and prepared and lodged at the Land and Registry Office with a Primary Application form and other documents.
In general, land subdivisions will create separate lots that will enable the separate ownership of parcels of land which may or may not contain buildings. They range in complexity from a 2 lot subdivision to major staged developments requiring the construction of extensive infrastructure. The town planning required as part of the Development Application (DA) & approval process also varies in accordance with the constraints of the property and the planning legislation that applies to the development. Some smaller scale projects are deceptively difficult to manage due to site specific matters. More complex land subdivisions usually require the input from several areas of professional expertise. In some situations, a subdivision may be either an Exempt or Complying Development which allows the subdivision to bypass most, if not all, of the planning legislation.
The time period of undertaking a subdivision from start to finish can vary significantly, but all require a step by step process to undertake the project. Even a straightforward subdivision which may only require some limited changes to services such as sewer and water may take at least 6 months to register the final separate Certificate of Titles to enable lot sales. Other more complex projects will take a lot longer in particular if major works are required on site.
Typical steps in the process are as follows (these are indicative only);
• Site and Planning Investigation which normally includes site surveys.
• Prepare lot layout plans.
• Engage other sub-consultants if required for further studies/plans.
• Prepare and lodge DA including a Statement of Environmental Effects at Council.
• Await Council’s request for further information and then DA approval. (Councils are renown for being inconsistent in their assessment of DA’s and their requirements constantly change, therefore it is often difficult to predetermine all of the matters that they believe are required to assess the DA.)
• Council issue their list of Conditions of Consent that need to be addressed.
• Prepare final Engineering Plans etc (if required) for a Construction Certificate Application (CC) and approval.
• Prepare sewer/water designs for approval if required
• Construct major works including any roads, stormwater drainage and sewer, plus satisfy the relevant service authorities.
• Obtain a Compliance Certificate stating that the works have been constructed to the approved design.
• Undertake final surveys and prepare final Deposited Plan (DP) and associated documents for lodgement at Council for their sign off.
• The owners of the land and any other parties with an interest in the land (such as Banks) need to sign the required forms.
• Lodgement of the DP and other documents at the Land and Registry Services (LRS) for Registration of the DP and the issue of the separate Certificate of Titles for the new lots.
Registered Land Surveyors manage these projects in the normal course of their business. Cookson Land Surveyors (CLS) can provide you with a quote to manage this entire process as well as undertake the surveying and town planning components.
Strata subdivisions generally allow the subdivision of buildings into separate strata lots. They allow subdivision in both a horizontal line and a vertical line. Examples of these are as follows;
• Separate single buildings on a property.
• Townhouse developments.
• Residential flat buildings.
• High rise developments.
The types of land use that may be strata subdivided include residential, commercial, retail and industrial. The town planning requirements for the strata subdivision of a property will vary for different sites as well as the age of the building. Some more recent developments may be able to be strata subdivided as complying development which means that the approval process will be a lot more straightforward. A survey plan for strata subdivision will be required to be prepared, then signed off by a qualified Strata Certifier and lodged at the Land and Registry Services (LRS) for registration.
Cookson Land Surveyors (CLS) can provide you with a quote to manage this entire process as well as undertake the surveying and town planning components.