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Building over easements

If you intend to build over an easement, you must first obtain consent from any service authorities who have rights to your easement and then obtain a building permit for the project.

An easement is an area of land, or part of an allotment, reserved by law for a specific purpose, which may include:

  • drainage pipelines
  • municipal services
  • natural gas lines power and telephone lines
  • water and sewage mains
  • right of way/passage

Find out if your property has easements

Check your Land Title to find out if you have an easement, and if so you need to find out which services the easement contains.

If you do not have a copy of your Title, contact the Land titles Office.

To find out the location of any drainage pipes, request property information report.

For sewerage pipe information, you must contact Yarra Valley Water.

How easements affect your property

Even if you own the land where an easement is located, the authorities who maintain the services it contains have the right to control how that land may be used.

You are restricted in:

  • what you can build
  • the building location
  • the type of footings

The relevant service authorities can also excavate the easement if they need to work on their pipe or assets.

Get approval to build over an easement

We discourage building over easements because a service authority has the right to gain access to the easement for maintenance or replacement of the service.

However, there are some cases where you may be permitted to build over an easement as outlined below and subject to strict conditions.

If you propose to build over an easement, and Yarra Valley Water is the service authority, you must first apply to them for a permit.

Where easement s exist for other services (for example gas, telecommunications, electricity), you must first get written consent from each of the relevant service authorities before we can give our consent.

After you gain approval, you must then apply to our Building Services Department for a Report and consent to build over an easement.

Generally the only types of buildings that we permit to be constructed over an easement containing drainage assets are:

  • minor detached outbuildings (for example, sheds less than 10m2 in area, or open freestanding carports), as long as the outbuilding will not be constructed over a pit or inspection opening, or in a way that may adversely affect any asset
  • pergolas
  • a maximum of 600mm eave overhang, providing the eave height is at least 3m above the finished ground surface at the easement

Apply for a Report and Consent to build over an easement

You should do the following when applying to us for a Report and Consent to build over an easement:

  1. Provide us with the following completed and signed documents:
    • Over easement permit application and consent form
    • 3 copies of plans for the proposed structure.
    • A sketch plan of your property showing:
      • existing buildings and distances from property boundaries
      • location of the easement
      • new building proposed and where this is located over the easement
    • Copy of the Certificate of Title
    • Written consent from any relevant service authorities (e.g. Melbourne Water/Yarra Valley Water/gas authority) that have rights to the easement, along with a plan showing the locations and depth of any service mains.
    • Details of the location and depth of stormwater drains from our Engineering Services Department.
    • If the easement contains sewer and/or stormwater main(s), submit an engineer’s design for a suspended slab, pier and beam, or deep footings, as the footings for the structure must be designed to go around, across or along the side of drains. Excavations and footings must be kept at least 600mm clear of any drain.
  2. Include the building over easement permit fee - we accept cheque, cash, credit card or EFTPOS, but mailed applications can only be paid by cheque or credit card.

To apply in person, bring the above items to our Building Services counter at the Civic Centre.

Alternatively, you can mail your application with payment to:

City of Whittlesea
Locked Bag 1
Bundoora MDC VIC 3083

Council approval guidelines

We will only approve your application to build over an easement if it meets the following guidelines:

  • a viable alternative location for the proposed building or work is not possible on the site
  • the proposed structure or work will not obstruct or limit the ongoing maintenance of any existing Council stormwater drain, asset or other inspection opening located within the easement
  • the building is not constructed over the property stormwater inlet
  • overland flow is unlikely to take place along the line of the easement, in the event that the easement drainage capacity is exceeded
  • the proposed structure will not impact the drainage of an adjoining allotment or our future drainage network
  • excavations and footings are kept at least 600mm clear of any drain
  • all statutory authorities and organisations that have rights over the easement have granted written approval to build over the easement
  • the proposed structure conforms to the Building Code of Australia