73 – Planning system decay, dispute and disappointment in property development

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By Justin Gehde. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Ted Baillieu speaks on the Property Developer PodcastDecay, dispute and disappointment is how former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu describes the planning system. In this thought provoking discussion we will cover who cares about rising construction costs and how developers can deliver better outcomes.

Most property developers lament at their experiences of going through the planning system.

There often seems so much about it that is frustrating and inexplicable for marginal outcomes. That’s why this discussion with Ted Baillieu is so interesting and thought provoking.

Ted is a trained architect, turned politician, who was premier of Victoria from 2010 to 2013. His family also has a long connection to the real estate industry across Victoria.

Most property developers lament at their experiences of going through the planning system

This is not a uniquely Victorian story, I think the topics we cover are relevant in most areas and I’m sure they will be familiar to most developers.

Pro Property Development

While Ted openly admits to being pro-development, that doesn’t mean its just open slather for projects getting approval.

While in opposition, Ted was among other things, the shadow minister for planning, so he understands the issues and challenges that relate to property developing, coupled with his professional training in architecture. So I think Ted brings a unique perspective to the table in terms of the wider social/political environment in which planning occurs, and then the practical aspects of the developing process. He also has a unique insight into what it’s like balancing the competing interests on all side of planning and developing when you are the government of the day.

During the conversation we cover some very interesting ground including why construction costs continue to rise, what’s wrong with the planning process, and the ongoing importance of understanding your local market.

Keep an ear out for Ted describing the slow decay of the planning process and the impact that has on the confidence that all parties have in the system.

Now, the audio of this recording is not as great as I would like, but stick with it, as there is some real gold in this conversation.

Lessons for real estate developers

Okay, there you go. I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. I found it fascinating to hear some of Ted’s thoughts on how the planning process is letting many people down, including developers, and what can be done to fix it. Sadly, I think many governments are too afraid of upsetting people to make any meaningful changes to the system. Anyway, here are three things I took away from the discussion:

1. Property developers should raise their sights

Ted’s key piece of advice for property developers looking to take their business to the next level is to raise their sights. So, how can you improve your current or next project? Can you up the quality of the design, improve communal spaces, sharpen the finish? There’s so many little things that you can look at to improve your overall project.

2. Keep your local community on board when proposing new property development projects

For some people, community engagement can be a challenge, and I think that relates to people saying no or rejecting your proposal. As Ted says, these people are often your potential buyers, and may actually have some good ideas on how aspects of the project could be improved. I’ve certainly experienced anger and frustration from locals on new projects so I understand how challenging it can be at times, but I think listening and being open to community feedback is a good skill to have.

3. Understand your local property market

This was an interesting point that Ted made about delivering product that the local market needs or wants, versus what you can build based on the planning scheme in the area. I think there will always be some tension between residents who live in an area in a certain type of dwelling, say larger blocks with singe houses on them, and developers who may want to add a different type of stock in the area, and maybe attract a slightly different group into the area. I think listening to the concerns of locals, and genuinely seeing what can be done to alleviate those concerns, is a good first step to overcoming resistance. And there will always be a group of people who simply don’t want any change at all. It all comes back to being certain about what you are offering is in demand for the area.

Alright, if you enjoyed that chat with Ted Baillieu, you might like to go back and listen to episode 40 where I spoke with planning expert David Crowder about how you can give yourself the best chance of obtaining a good planning outcome. There is a lot of gold in that chat so be sure to revisit episode 40 with David Crowder.

Okay, don’t forget to email me if you want to learn more about the property developing mentoring program, email justin@propertydeveloperpodcast.com and I will send you some further info.

You can always find me on Insta [https://www.instagram.com/property_developer_podcast/] and Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/propertydeveloperpodcast] for my latest project updates, videos and other fun stuff, just search for Property Developer Podcast.

Feel free to drop a comment on iTunes if you are enjoying the show, and until next time, may all your planning applications be speedy and positive.

81 episodes