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Constructing a road and dedicating to Council - the process

This post describes the typical process of constructing a new road and dedicating it to Council under the NSW planning system. Most new roads are created as part of new developments involving the subdivision and creation of new lots.



Firstly, most new roads require a Development Application to be lodged with the local Council. The level of information required by each Council may vary, although typical information may include:


- Concept subdivision layout

- Concept road layout plan

- Concept stormwater drainage plan

- Landscape plan in some cases

- Survey of property

- Statement of environmental effects and potentially other specialist reports depending on the nature of the site


After approval has been issued for the Development Application, it is necessary to obtain a "Subdivision Works Certificate". This is a certificate giving approval to the detailed construction drawings. Information that would normally be provided at this stage include detailed construction drawings showing:


- Levels of the proposed road, footpaths and adjoining lots

- Proposed stormwater drainage arrangements including the type/size of pipes and pits and stormwater calculations

- Road gradients/crossfall

- Details of proposed kerbing and footpaths

- Road line marking and signage details

- Proposed street tree and lighting details


A Subdivision Works Certificate can in most cases be issued either by Council or a private certifier. Even though a private certifier has the power to issue this certificate, Council will need to be involved later and issue further approvals, so I believe care should be taken in making a decision to appoint a private certifier to issue a certificate for a future public road. If Council is not happy with details of the approval issued by the certifier or feel that they should have been given the opportunity to issue the certificate, there is the potential for problems to arise later.


Concurrently to this, design for water and electricity would proceed. For developments in the Sydney area, this involves appointing a water servicing coordinator acting on behalf of Sydney Water. An electrical designer would also normally be appointed to design proposed power supply/street lighting and seek approval for this design from the relevant electricity company eg. Ausgrid or Endeavour Energy.


Before commencing construction, it is necessary to appoint a "Principal Certifier". For the vast majority of new subdivisions, the principal certifier must be the local Council (the main exception being some state-significant developments that involve subdivision). The principal certifying authority will perform inspections of the works during construction. These inspections may be dictated by DA conditions and include inspections at the following stages:


- Start of works/soil and erosion control measures installed

- Road pavement various levels (subgrade, subbase/base layers, rubberised seal, wearing course)

- Stormwater drainage various levels (trenching, bedding, pipework, backfill of trenches)

- Stormwater pits

- Kerb and gutter

- Footpath construction

- Final inspection once all works completed


Once all works have been completed, Council is responsible for issuing a Subdivision Certificate. In addition to being satisfied with all of the required inspections, Council may also require various reports and certification to be submitted at this stage. These could include:


- Compliance certificates from the parties who provided road materials (asphaltic concrete, rubberised seal, pits etc.) demonstrating that they meet relevant standards

- Geotechnical/pavement tests of the road demonstrating that it meets relevant standards

- Geotechnical/compaction testing of lots subject to fill


It will normally be the case that before Council can issue a subdivision certificate, compliance certificates are required from utilities involved (eg. Sydney Water, Endeavour Energy). These bodies will have their own separate requirements for inspections during construction and certification before issuing the compliance certificate. For example, Sydney Water will normally require filling, pressure testing and disinfection of pipes before this stage.


Council will issue a Subdivision Certificate once it is satisfied that all conditions of approval have been satisfied and required matters have been addressed. This involves a detailed "linen plan" prepared by a surveyor being signed by Council.


Once the subdivision certificate has been issued, the linen plan is sent to Land Registry Services to register the plan and create new titles. Once the plan is registered, the new road is created and becomes the "property" of the Council. Given that roads in NSW are managed under the provisions of the Roads Act, this is slightly different to the ownership of a normal lot.


For enquiries regarding the development of roads, feel free to get in contact.

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@ Copyright by David Carey | Urban City Planner, Project Manager and Development Consultant

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