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SPP-21 Subdivision and Project Management Issues

Version 2 - 11/01/2022

This guide is intended as general information only. If you are uncertain of your rights or interests, please seek professional legal advice. Landgate staff are not able to give legal advice or to draft your documents. Please read our Terms of Use above.

1. Compiled Plans

See General Drafting Practices Section 43.

2. Subdivision Processes

The Land Surveyors Licensing Board has approved guidelines for surveys and Plans for all new developments involving more than 10 serviced lots where new roads are created.  The Guidelines are referred to as Survey Practice Guidelines for Subdivisions within Special Survey Areas (SSA guidelines). These Guidelines apply to Crown, Freehold and Survey-Strata developments and can be accessed on the Board website at

There are two different processes of land development that can be used for Crown and Freehold subdivisions. One is known as the ‘Special Survey Area’ (SSA) process and the other is known as the ’Normal’ process.

The SSA process allows for a Plan based on calculated dimensions to be lodged at Landgate before any lot corners have been marked.

The Normal process requires full marking (including referencing in accordance with the regulations) of the survey prior to lodgement of the Plan at Landgate. The normal process would usually be used only for small urban developments and rural subdivisions.  Where marks are likely to be destroyed by site works, road construction or servicing the SSA process should be used.

Landgate will not accept Plans based on calculated dimensions unless the SSA guidelines have been complied with or approval for a special survey from the Inspector of Plans and Surveys or an authorised land officer.

Table 20.1: Comparison between the SSA Process and the Normal Process.

Special Survey Area


Surround survey required

Re-establishment of only relevant alignments in accordance with the regulations

Control Survey/s related to surround survey required

Control survey optional

Connections to geodetic network required

Connections to geodetic network required in accordance with General Regulation 22A

Plan lodged at Landgate. Full marking after site works and lot services installed. The ‘Deferred Final Marking’ option can be used for bonded developments *

Full marking required before Plan lodgement at Landgate (reference marks must be safe from disturbance). Limited marking or deferred referencing options are available*

Lot detail not required in field record

Full lot detail and referencing required in field record

Non-standard marking included on Survey Sheet/s added to Plan

Non-standard marking included on Plan prior to lodgement

Plan ‘Survey Sheets’ and eFB required following final control survey and marking

Final pegging and referencing if approval to defer referencing was granted *

Release consent required for Landgate to release Plan to WAPC**

Release consent required for Landgate to release Plan to WAPC

FSC, Survey Sheet(s), eFB and WAPC approval required before Plan placed In Order for Dealings (IOFD)**

WAPC approval required before Plan placed In Order for Dealings (IOFD)

* Regulation 26A approval from the IPS for limited or deferred marking/referencing required before Plan lodged at Landgate.

**Where the Deferred Final Marking option is used then Plan sent to WAPC on release consent and Plan placed IOFD following WAPC approval and receipt of ISC.

Refer to the appropriate Plan examples in APX-04 to indicate what information is to be depicted on such Plans.

3. Crown Subdivisions

Legislation governing the various aspects of Crown subdivisional survey includes:

  • Subdivision and development of Crown land under section 27 of the LAA.
  • Reservation of land parcels under section 41 of the LAA.
  • Management, leasing, etc. of reserves under section 46 of the LAA.
  • Redescription/Cancellation of ‘A’ Class reserves (excluding Conservation Parks, National Parks and ‘A’ Class nature reserves) via a Ministerial Order. Conservation Parks, National Parks and ‘A’ Class nature reserves still require a Reserves Bill.
  • Redescription/Cancellation of other than ‘A’ Class reserves under section 51 of the LAA.
  • Amendment of townsite boundary under section 26 of the LAA.
  • Revestment of land - Freehold land acquired by the Crown, whether by transfer or acquisition (taking) or pursuant to other provisions such as those in the Local Government Act 1995 relating to forfeiture of land for non-payment of rates may be revested in the Crown under section 82 of the LAA (see section 243 of the TLA also).

If the previous tenure is Unallocated Crown Land (UCL) no Crown Land Title (CLT) would exist for the subject land.  If the previous tenure of the subject land has a PI (parcel identifier), a Title will have been created.

Land that is to be transferred and revested from a Crown Grant in Trust or any other Freehold land cannot be amalgamated with adjoining Crown land under a single PI unless the status of the two parcels of land is the same. Revested Freehold land automatically assumes the status of a CLT, therefore the adjoining Crown land to attain CLT status must undergo a process where all the interests are declared by way of a Statutory Declaration by the controlling authority and any other interest holders.

See also Specific Plan Purpose Section 11for a specific type of crown subdivision.

4. Balance Lots and Project Management

Regulation 5 of the Transfer of Land (Surveys) Regulations 1995 requires surveyors to include in Plans of subdivision, acquisition and amalgamation (this includes amalgamations of Crown land with Freehold land) any residue land from the original certificate of title as a separate balance lot or lots. (See General Drafting Practices Section 15.) Where a road has an existing lot number and a portion is to be closed, a balance lot must be created showing any existing interests carried forward. The heading is to include ‘and Dedicated Roads (Lot 300)’.

If the boundaries of the residue are extensive the Registrar of Titles, Inspector of Plans and Surveys or an Authorised Land Officer may allow the part of the Plan showing the residue to be compiled and the distances, angles or bearings (where applicable) for the boundaries, easements or covenants to be omitted.

The Registrar of Titles or an Authorised Land Officer may direct that this Regulation does not apply to a particular Plan (or specific types of Plan) of Crown land.  Such situations will most likely occur where Pastoral leases, State Forests and large reserves are involved.  To meet the requirements of this Regulation it may be necessary to use several sheets for a single Plan. (See General Drafting Practices Sections 4 and 5.)

Surveyors will need to consult with the developer (or project manager) to ensure the balance lot or lots are consistent with the proposed land release strategies.. Where a series of Plans are lodged simultaneously, the first Plan should show balance lots that contain the land included in subsequent Plans.  The ‘Former Tenure Table’ on the subsequent Plans would refer to the lots being created on the first Plan.

To avoid planning and valuation problems, surveyors must identify any balance lots that are not to receive servicing facilities with a lot number in the 9000 number range.  Any “ lots” that are the subject of future stages in the subdivision can be identified using the 9500 number series.

If an existing Certificate of Title contains multiple lots and only one of the lots is being subdivided it is necessary for the new Plan of subdivision to show all the land in the Title.  It may suit some developments to separate the lots into several titles, including new multi-lot titles, prior to subdivision.

4.1. Stage Merging and Minimising Balance Lots

Where there is a high level of activity in large urban subdivisions, Landgate experiences difficulties with downstream processes such as Electronic Advice of Sale where numerous stages of subdivisions are being dealt on simultaneously.

To avoid these problems occurring and any potential delays in Titles being issued surveyors should, where they are aware that stages of a subdivision are likely to be dealt on (ie. applications for new Titles made) simultaneously, consider merging the stages into a single Deposited Plan prior to lodging at Landgate.

It would also be helpful if surveyors could minimise the Plan surrounds of large subdivisions by creating manageable and logical balance lots by using ‘ lots’ for proposed stages. This would result in reduced Plan sizes and examination timeframes and therefore provide quicker processing of these developments.

4.2. Stage Jumping

Where a Plan for a stage in a subdivision is delayed and a Plan that was intended to be a subsequent stage is to be dealt on first, subject to WAPC approval, the Deposited Plans may be replaced to allow the dealings to proceed. Replacement plans will often involve changing the Plan heading, the balance lot details and the former tenure information. New CSD files for the Plans are also required, and the statutory fees for replacement plans apply.

4.3. Applications for Balance Titles

New subdivisions must comprise all of the land in the parent Certificate of Title and not leave any residue or part lots. (Refer Plan Approval Requirement section 4.)  Upon lodgement of an application for new Certificates of Title the subject of a DP, a new  Title will also automatically be created for the balance lot, along with the other lots on the DP.

There were many existing paper (manual) Titles that did not refer directly to a whole lot on a Plan and as such Landgate undertook a progressive capture of the graphics for those Titles.  Many of these have be reflected on a ‘Conversion’ Deposited Plan. Landgate no longer creates such conversion plans.

Should an owner apply for a balance Title over land still held on an existing paper (manual) Title and requires an urgent response from Landgate, it must be supported by:

  • A conversion Deposited Plan certified by a licensed surveyor reflecting the balance of the land as a whole new lot.
  • Interests to be brought forward onto the Plan.
  • CSD file to be lodged with the Plan.

There is no requirement for WAPC approval and no Landgate plan lodgement fee will apply.

5. Multiple Owner Subdivisions

The repealing of regulation 44 of the Licensed Surveyors (Transfer of Land Act 1893) Regulations 1961 has allowed for Plans to show land in multiple ownership without the need for conveyancing action to bring the land into single ownership.

Plans involving multiple owners will require all the relevant transfer documents and consents pertaining to encumbrances to be lodged before the Plan is approved.  New Titles will be issued in accordance with a single application (signed by all the affected owners).

The Transfer of Land Act 1893 allows for disposition statements to enable clarity in the allocation of encumbrances in land transfers.

6. Land Acquisitions

See General Drafting Practices Section 17.

7. Crown Land Amalgamations

See section 2 of SPP-11 Specific Plan Purposes.

8. Isolated Crown Surveys

The Registrar of Titles or an Authorised Land Officer may authorise for an isolated Crown parcel to be shown on a Plan without the residue land (see General Drafting Practices Section 15) being shown on the Plan.

Plans of isolated parcels that are not connected to the State Geodetic Network must show bearings and an azimuth source. See General Drafting Practices Section 29 and plan example 65.

9. Lot Number Duplication

It is important that lot numbers allocated to new lots created by a survey are not duplicated with an existing lot number in the same vicinity which can cause confusion as to which lot is being referred to:

  • To eliminate the risk of a mistake in any dealing (by eliminating ambiguity) there must be no duplication between any of the lot numbers created on the Plan, the parent lots, any part lots remaining and any lots abutting the Plan
  • In rural areas (or any other areas where the lot numbers may be used as street addresses) there should be no duplication of lot numbers in the same street or road within the same locality
  • In urban areas, lot numbers are often used as the street addresses during house construction so the surveyor should avoid duplication of lot numbers in the same street within the same suburb.

10. Easement and Covenant Documents

Problems arise where there are inconsistencies between Deposited Plans and documents subsequently lodged for easements and covenants under Part IVA of the Transfer of Land Act 1893. Surveyors need to consult closely with their clients’ solicitor/conveyancer to ensure that the depiction of easements and covenants on Plans is consistent with the supporting documents that are to be lodged.

11. The Use of Restrictive Covenants/ Covenants to Control Access to Roads

See Easements, Covenants, Notifications and Other Interests Section 27.

12. Field Records Lodged for Subdivisions that Do Not Proceed

See SPP-08 10 Field Records Lodged for Subdivisions that Do Not Proceed

13. Gas Pipelines and New Subdivisions

Western Australia has several high pressure gas transmission pipelines servicing the metropolitan area and south west of the State. The pipelines have separate and different legislative requirements that will affect the production of Plans of subdivision lodged at Landgate.

The two major ones for which special conditions may exist are as follows:

  1. Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas PipelineThe DBNGP corridor was established after the sale of the pipeline in 1998 and incorporated most of the previous gas pipeline easements held in the name of SECWA, Alinta Gas or the Gas Corporation.  The Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline Act 1997 regulates the use of land within the DBNGP corridor and is relatively restrictive in its requirements.The Infrastructure Corridors section in the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) manages the DBNGP corridor and has, with Ministerial endorsement, established a policy of not creating additional easements or interests over land in the corridor.  In terms of Plan production, this means it is highly unlikely a Plan presented showing an easement over the DBNGP corridor would be approved or any subsequent endorsement on the Title registered.  Plans that impact on the DBNGP corridor land should show a gap in the easement, or right of carriageway, where they cross the DBNGP corridor.  To facilitate legal access to that portion of land held in the DBNGP corridor the consent of the Minister is usually required.For further information on the requirements in relation to access, easements or the creation of interests in the DBNGP corridor, contact should be made with the Infrastructure Corridors section at DPLH via e-mail:
  2. Parmelia Pipeline

The Parmelia Pipeline (Formerly the WANG or Dongara to Pinjarra Pipeline) is a privately owned gas transmission pipeline.  Its current owners, APA, operate the pipeline within an easement registered on the applicable Titles.

It is therefore important that when preparing Plans of subdivision that have roads going over the pipeline easement, the effect of which would be to extinguish the easement, that early contact be made with APA to provide for future secure tenure for the gas pipeline and/or associated facilities as a replacement for the easement.

For further information, please contact APA directly (See