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Survey Plans, Easements & Covenants

Survey Plans are essential in determining rights and duties in relation to subdivisions and strata title construction.  The two most common types of Survey Plans are:

  • The Building Format Plan, and
  • The Standard Format Plan.

A Building Format plan deals with the type of subdivision that usually occurs within a building.  The boundaries are defined by boundary structures such as walls, floors or ceilings and the boundary is normally the centre of these structures as covered by sections 48C and 49c of the Land Title Act 1994 (“the Act“).

A Standard Format Plan defines land horizontally with marks on the ground, usually pegs.  An example of where this type of plan might be used could be a townhouse complex, where individual lots have front and back yards.  In this instance, the boundaries of lots and common property are defined by bearings and measurements taken when the land is surveyed.

In relation to matters such as common property, body corporate responsibilities, utility infrastructure, common walls, maintenance provisions for gutters, gardens, water pipes and cables, it is important to be able to understand Survey Plans.  Often a smooth working relationship between owners and developers, and successful adjudication of disputed issues is dependent on precise interpretation of Survey Plans.


Other items such as easements are provided for under the Act.  These easements, known as Statutory Easements, cover a range of situations such as support, shelter and the supply of utility services.  Whilst easements provide for the use of common property or a lot (e.g. in a situation where pipes or cables might need to be re-routed or emergency construction is required), they must not be exercised in a way that unreasonably hinders the use or enjoyment of a lot or common property.


In Queensland, the Act provides for Statutory Covenants, which are written agreements in a prescribed form that may be registered on property title to ensure that the obligation to comply with a covenant is transferred with the transfer of the property.  Landholders and government agencies can use Statutory Covenants to facilitate a range of issues, including linking separate land titles, ensuring land is used for particular purposes, conservation of land, nature or water, protection of cultural heritage or scenic features, maintaining residential amenities and reducing conflict over land use, buffer zones for industry, or adjoining roads.

Quinn & Scattini Lawyers offer professional advice and can prepare easements and Statutory Covenants as well as registering these documents and the survey plan to which they pertain.  Years of experience in acting for developers ensure that client concerns regarding survey plans, easements and covenants are handled with due attention to detail and professionalism.

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