To construct a multi-unit development, you will always need a Planning Permit and a Building Permit.

You also need an Occupancy Permit for each unit you build.

What is a multi-unit development?

A multi-unit development involves constructing more than one dwelling on a lot.

Apartment buildings, townhouses, terrace houses, duplexes, semi-attached homes and villas are all examples of multi-unit developments.

Apartment building in Balwyn

Movable habitable structures that rely on an existing dwelling (commonly known as granny flats) don’t fall into this category. These 'dependent person’s units' usually don't need a Planning Permit, but will require a Building Permit.

If you are unsure about whether your project is a multi-unit development, contact Statutory Planning at (03) 9278 4888 for more information.

Construct a multi-unit development

Step 1: Before you begin

As a multi-unit development is a complex project, you should engage a suitably qualified professional, such as an architect or draftsperson, to design the plans.

We also recommend seeking advice from town planning, traffic and drainage experts.

Designing the plans

Your designer should ensure the plans comply with the Development Standards in Clauses 55 and 58 of the Boroondara Planning Scheme and the Neighbourhood Character Policy in Clause 22.05.

The plans should also identify and consider where appropriate:

Pre-application meeting

We recommend you book a pre-application meeting so that we can assist may assist by identifying information that will be required and any areas of concern before you make your Planning Permit application. You can find out how to organise a pre-application meeting on our Before you apply for a Planning Permit page.

Step 2: Apply for a Planning Permit

You will need to submit:

  • an application form, fee and a current copy of  the Certificate of Title
  • architectural plans, which include a neighbourhood and site description, as well as site, elevation and floor plans, material schedule and shadow diagrams
    The plans should also be to scale, fully dimensional and include actual ground and finished floor levels.
  • any additional supporting documentation required, such as a Clause 55 'ResCode' assessment, arborist report, environmental sustainability assessments, or traffic report.

For information on how to apply and to download the application form, visit our Apply for a Planning Permit page.

If the cost of your works is greater than $1,133,000, the State Revenue Office (SRO) requires you pay a Metropolitan Planning Levy. The SRO will issue a certificate to include in your application. For more information, see the State Revenue Office website.

Step 3: Apply for a Building Permit

  1. Read the Building Permit application checklist (PDF) to determine which supporting documents you need.
  2. If relevant, apply for Report and Consent. Visit our Report and Consent page for more information. For example, for corner property fences, building over an easement or public protection (building close to public space).
  3. Lodge the Building Permit application form, fee and supporting documents.
You may lodge the application for a Building Permit while other permit applications are still being processed, but may only begin construction when all permits and approvals are granted.

You can download the Building Permit application form and submit the application on our Apply for a Building Permit page.

Step 4: Begin construction

You may begin construction after all required permits and approvals have been granted.

Read your Planning Permit and Building Permit carefully. The work will need to be inspected and approved by the Relevant Building Surveyor. Mandatory inspections continue until the work is completed and complies to building legislation.

Step 5: Apply for an Occupancy Permit for each unit

Apply to the Relevant Building Surveyor for an Occupancy Permit for each unit you build by filling in and submitting our Apply for an Occupancy Permit (DOC). A resident may only occupy a unit after the Occupancy Permit for that unit has been issued.


If you wish to subdivide the land into individual titles, you need to engage a land surveyor to prepare a plan of subdivision and apply for subdivision approvals.

Find out more on our Permits for subdivision page.


Planning Permit applications for multi-unit developments often take longer to assess than simple structures. Public notice periods and requests for new plans often extend the timeline. For more information about Planning Permit assessment stages, see our Assessing a Planning Permit application page.

Building Permit applications sent to Council are assessed within 10 business days. The response is usually a request for further information. Private Building Surveyors have their own timelines, and you can find out more on our Private Building Surveyors page.

Planning standards for multi-unit developments

The following Boroondara Planning Scheme clauses provide criteria for assessing Planning Permit applications for multi-unit developments. You can find out more about these on the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning website.

Clause Title
Clause 22.05 Neighbourhood Character Policy
Clause 55.00 Two or more dwellings on a lot and residential buildings
Clause 55.01 Neighbourhood and site description and design response
Clause 55.02 Neighbourhood character and infrastructure
Clause 55.03 Site layout and building massing
Clause 55.04 Amenity impacts
Clause 55.05 On-site amenity and facilities
Clause 55.06 Detailed design
Clause 55.07 Apartment developments
Clause 58.00 Apartment developments

More information

For Planning Permit enquires, contact our Statutory Planning team on (03) 9278 4888. For Building Permit enquiries, contact our Building Services team on (03) 9278 4999.

Email Planning and Building enquires to [email protected].

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