My projects Process
  • Welcome
  • Design Stage
  • Town Planning Stage
  • Construction Stage
  • Completion Stage

Tab 1

Welcome to Little Fish

By this stage, your project has been onboarded into the system, assigned a PM and we are about to get started.

This is a roadmap as to how these things generally run and the process we will be looking to follow throughout your project, in saying that we are always looking for ways of fast-tracking our projects also.

Remember the quicker they run is not only in your interests but squarely in ours as well!

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Tab 2

Your Design

Site survey – We will organise a site survey to be completed, this is required for the designer to get started on the drawings. We will need access requirements to the site, if the property is tenanted we will need property manager details so we coordinate things. It’s usually about a 1-2 week lead time to schedule and complete work and about another week to receive the survey documentation.

Onboard relevant consultants – While the surveyor is doing their thing, we will be onboarding consultants like your town planner, arborist, traffic engineer and any other specialised consultant that may be required. This team of experts is going to help us through the town planning process!

Project design brief – Again, while the surveying team is hard at work, between yourself and your Little Fish PM you will be collaborating on your design brief. It’s important we have this ready to go to the designer when the survey documentation comes back. This will allow the designer to kick things off into the concept drawings.

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Concept drawings – Once we receive the survey docs back, we will send them across with your design brief to the designer, to put pen to paper, it usually takes about 2 weeks to receive the first concept drawing set back for review. This will be the floor plans of your drawings, together both Little Fish and the client will provide feedback to the designer to get things right, this might take a couple of times to get right, which is very common!

Preliminary design – Once the concept drawings are complete we move ahead with the preliminary design which includes facades and elevations. So, looking at window locations, facade designs, and external materials. It’s important to remember that these things need to be resolved but there are further opportunities to make changes throughout the planning process so we are not looking to get everything 100%, which will slow the process down. Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress!
This design phase will take about 1-2 weeks.

Town planning set – Once the above 2 stages have been finalised (for now!) we will move into the full TP set that will be submitted to the council, there will be more drawings completed, with further angles, shadow diagrams, and landscape plan etc. etc. Once complete off to council we go!
This takes about 2 weeks. Remember these drawings are not final and still there is still an opportunity to tweak things, things will no doubt need to be tweaked once we get the council’s feedback anyway!

Tab 3

Your Town Planning

Town planning submission – You have completed your drawings for town planning submission. These will be submitted with the town planning report that argues and supports what we are trying to achieve. It’s important we get into the council as economically as possible (within reason!), as it’s critical we get some feedback from the council about what they like and don’t like and get advised of any potential show stoppers, once we have this information we are looking good. That’s why I mentioned earlier we don’t need to be at 100%, once we get council feedback, that’s when we want to get to 100%.

Request for Further Information (RFI) – This will take about 30 days for the council to come back to us from submission. This is where the council will give us their feedback on the application, requesting more detail, maybe asking for more information from a specialist consultant, essentially giving us their likes, dislikes, concerns and hopefully no ‘showstoppers’. The key now is to collaborate, make design decisions, organise extra information, update plans and all in a timely manner to get back into the council. Depending on what is required, this process will take about 2-4 weeks. At this point, we want to be pretty much 100% on the design, windows, façade etc. The internal layout can be tweaked down the track, as long as it doesn’t affect the exterior of the building.

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Council notice to advertise – This will take another 30 or so days to come back from the council (that’s assuming there isn’t another RFI, as the council may still require more information, ideally not!). This is the stage the council is generally content with the application and happy to put it to the neighbourhood! The public advertising usually needs to be displayed for 14 days (can be slightly longer depending on the council you are in). This gives your neighbours the opportunity to object if they don’t approve of the development, so this is when you should be baking them muffins and cookies!

Notice of decision (objections) – Once the advertising is complete, we will follow up council to see if there were any objections (fingers crossed) and if there are council will assess if there is any merit to the objections and look to deliver their notice of decision (NOD – It can take council anywhere between 30 – 90 days to issue this). This means this is what the council has decided and it gives any objector 28 days to appeal the council’s decision at VCAT. With these types of small-scale development projects, it’s rare for anyone to take the council to VCAT. If no appeals have been lodged council will issue the planning permit.

Planner permit (no objections) – As I have alluded to above, if you don’t receive any objections council will look to issue a planning permit, this again can take council anywhere from 30 – 60 days, but it’s a great outcome and much quicker than receiving an objection and going down the NOD path. Once we get either the NOD or the permit it will have councils conditions in the document, this gives us an opportunity in most cases to start the working drawing package, as we know everything from the council and where they stand, it carries some slight risk if you are in your NOD period, but a great way to make up some time!

Endorsed drawings – The endorsed drawings are where the council put a big stamp on the plans which mean they are endorsed and these plans are what have to be followed! It is good practice to start on your working drawing set before submitting the final plans for endorsement, on the odd occasion while doing the WD’s we will discover that some items may need to alter to work and it’s important those changes are carried out through to the endorsed set.

Tab 4

Your Construction

Working drawings, engineering, energy report – everything required for your building permit – It’s great when this process begins as it means we have more or less seen the back of the council! The working docs often take about 6 weeks to complete. We will need to organise a soil test at site for engineering purposes and also need to lock away any final internal changes or updates before the drawings are completed, as once the drawings are complete this is how the project is going to be built!

Interior designer – This is an exciting step as you get to work with the interiors team to put colours and some wow into the project which will be brought to life over the build. The interior designer will work with the client to follow a brief, follow the budget and the overall vision! They will also deliver some required elevations, like kitchen, bathroom, and ensuite to make sure the overall vision is achieved.

This process usually takes around 4-5 weeks, but we can start a bit earlier in the process to make sure it’s done with plenty of time!

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Build tender process – Once your WD’s are complete and your interiors specification is done we are looking to go out to the chosen group of builders the projects team has identified as a suitable fit for your project, also any other builders the client would like to have a part of the tender process will be put into the mix also!

This process takes around 4-6 for the builder to price, carry out post-tender clarifications and replies, maybe look to value manage some areas of the project and of course negotiate the final price with the chosen builder!

Demolition process – This is where we round up the demo quotes from Little Fish’s preferred contractors, make sure everything is allowed for, and always make sure the correct insurances are in place to carry out the works. We engage the demo contractor, get the demolition permit, and arrange the abolishment of power and gas services.

In this process, we work closely with the client to make sure tenants have been given the notice to vacate, or if the client is occupying the property they have sort alternate living arrangements, it’s even important that the client has sort approval from their broker/bank to knock down the house on the site. All this process is impossible to reverse so we just need to be sure everything is in order!


This is the exciting bit, between Little Fish and the client we have chosen a builder, agreed on the price and the terms and we will sign up the contract and look to lock in a start date and work with the builder to provide a schedule of works.
Little Fish will manage the builder through the whole construction, providing them with support, having stern conversations where required and also enjoying the successes along the journey also!

It’s Little Fish’s job to make sure the project is always managed towards the best outcome, there will be issues, there will be things that need to be managed, and there will be headaches along the way but that’s what we are here for, to minimise those issues and carry that load for the client!

There will be defects and we will manage that process with the builder to tidy things up before the property is to be occupied. As per the building contract, there is a defects and maintenance liability period for the builder, this is where after 3months (in most cases, can be 6 months) the builder will return to tidy up small defects that maybe have occurred over that period of the new settling in, maybe small cracks, a cupboard hinge may be loose or door handle may need adjusting!

Tab 5

Completing Your Project

Plan of subdivision – We have the plan of subdivision in the completion stage, but in reality, we have been working towards it from the very first stage when we completed the land survey. Before we start the build we request the ‘proposed plan of subdivision’ from the land surveyor, this is what they are proposing the titles to be based on what the council has approved for us. Once we start the build, we will apply for our subdivision through the council, council we supply us with a list of requirements and conditions that need to be met for them to issue their statement of compliance, which is the approval needed to lodge our application for updated titles into the titles office.

The conditions will include things like new NBN, power, water to the site and items like the build being significantly underway and driveways and footpaths completed also.

Once we have received new titles and our certificate of occupancy from the builder it will mean the properties can be settled if they have been sold off the plan and can be re-financed if that is the plan also!

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