Town Planning
Consultancy Services

WABCA’s FORMSCAPE planning division provides you a range of services tailored to your needs which focus on delivering acurate advice and quick resolutions. Whether you’re an individual property owner, small builder, or part of a fledging property development enterprise, FORMSCAPE will tend to your needs with affordable rates and rapid turnaround times.

We Help

  • Owner Builders – create an extremely unique project.

  • Small Builders & Project Builders – seeking justification and ongoing design advice.

  • Architects – help make sense of planning framework

  • Business Owners – relocating, expanding or seeking a change of use.

We Offer a Range of Quality Town Planning Services

Statutory Planning

WABCA has a comprehensive understanding of the statutory planning system and its key instruments in Western Australia.

Our town planning division provides statutory planning services which align with our ‘built form’ focus. Statutory Planning, the legal based component of town planning, is becoming an increasingly important key to the success and timely delivery of built form project approvals.

The legal provisions of each local authority can alter significantly and will require accurate interpretation and treatment on each project during the design and planning stages.


WABCA is able to provide advice on refusals and lodging appeals with the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

An appeal is referred to as an ‘application for review’ by the Tribunal. A Town Planning application is dealt with by the development and resources stream of the Tribunal.

How Long do I have to Appeal? – You must lodge your application within 28 days of the date on which the original decision-maker gives notice of the decision.

Will I Win? – The Tribunal boasts a rate of successful mediation between the 75-80% range. Should the mediation process fail to deliver an outcome, a hearing will be scheduled within 3-4 months. The outcome of a tribunal will see only one winner. If an option is formally proposed by the applicant, but rejected during the mediation process, that option is generally used by the Tribunal in determining the appeal and will formalise the approval should your appeal be successful.

Do I Need a Lawyer? – There are two classes of planning matters at the Tribunal, Class 1 and 2. In a Class 1 appeal, an applicant can opt to be without the presence of lawyers in a proceeding forcing the respondent to also go without. In Class 2 appeals, parties can still be (and are commonly) represented by a town planner, however there is no opportunity to implore the other party from using the services of a lawyer. A Town Planner’s fees are often significantly less than that of a lawyer.

What is the Difference Between a Class 1 and Class 2 Appeal? – If your appeal involves a development with a value less than $250,000 (or $500,000 if it is a house or a subdivision of a lot to create no more than three lots) it is considered a Class 1. Class 1 applications are treated less formally than Class 2 and different fees apply. If your application does not meet the above criteria is it a Class 2.

How Long Does a Decision Take? – Once the hearing has been concluded, most Members presiding over the hearing will reserve their judgement. The Member has three months to provide their judgement.

Planning Assessment

You may be drafting your own design or simply want to ensure your plans are compliant before applying for planning approval. Planning applicants often face disappointment and delays when their planning application is rejected or heavily conditioned for reasons they were unaware of prior to submission. Allowing a qualified planner at  to assess your plans prior to planning approval can quickly identify and address issues which may result in your application being deemed non-compliant or insufficient. We can advise of how best to address these issues in the quickest possible way. Often it is a simple as drafting a letter.

Often our clients are aware they are potentially facing a planning issue, careful negotiation combined with a calculated strategy can often mean the difference between a fast and positive outcome or long winded headache. Call us today to discuss your project with us.

Variation Reports

If you are creating a customised design, or even trying to fit a predesigned home on a lot, you will most likely will be submitting an application for planning approval that does not meet the ‘deemed-to-comply’ criteria of a Local Planning Policy or the Residential Design Codes of Western Australia 2016 (R-Codes). Without submitting a variation report with your application, the assessing authority will typically either reject your application or advise you of the area of non-compliance often a month after receiving your planning application.

WABCA provides advice on your proposed design variations in terms of the likelihood of it being approved with an appropriately drafted report, or provide alternative design solutions for your consideration. When we prepare variation reports for our clients, we try to ensure that such a variation will be approved based on advice from Council and previous experience in dealing with that local authority.

A WABCA variation report will provide as much detail and clarity possible whilst constructing a concise argument outlining why such a variation should be approved based on the relevant ‘performance criteria’ or ‘design principles.’

Developer Approvals

The WABCA Planning Department provides Developer Approvals to purchasers within new estates and developments.

Developers are increasingly requiring purchasers of newly created lots to enter into a contract, or agree to a covenant placed on the Certificate of Title to ensure that new dwellings are built to a certain standard and incorporate design features that the development team deem important and create a high quality estate. Adherence to these requirements is usually presented in Design Guidelines, prepared by the project architect or planner.

Prior to applying for planning or building approval it is generally required that approval is granted on behalf of the developer to ensure a covenant can be released when the property is sold in the future or requirements of the contract can be met.

WABCA is able to not only check proposals against your requirements, we are qualified to assess them against planning regulations, reducing delays for your clients and ensure development for your estates are in line with the high standards expected by not only the developer, but also individual home owners and investors who know and trust your brand.

Building Certification

The preliminary stages of providing building surveying advice for a client often begins prior to a planning application being lodged.

Commercial projects are often flagged prior to issuing planning approval by the Local Shire, requiring a range of building compliance issues to be resolved before proceeding any further. These interdisciplinary requirements are easily resolved by working with WABCA’s knowledge and consulting with the Local Government to determine if your planning approval may require details of disabled access, fire separation, waste management plans, storm water retention, hydrant/booster locations, acoustic reports and a range of other preliminary issues identified by engineering, health and technical services departments.

Other services we provide

  • Preliminary Built Form Design Advice. E.g. Vehicles Access and Car Park Designs, Preempting Compliance Issues, Identifying which Planning Requirements are flexible.
  • Statutory Planning
  • Variation and Justification Reports and Letters (Fixed prices available)
  • Management of SAT appeals and mediation
  • Planning assessment and advice before you lodge for a Development Approval (Fixed prices available)
  • Due Diligence and Feasibility Assesments (Fixed prices available)
  • Change of Use Development Applications

Start Your Free Consultation

For an obligation free discussion, give us a call on 9355 5484