3 Simple Steps to Help You Understand and Interpret Strata Plans

When it comes to subdivision plans, it’s important to understand the differences in the setting out and markings of plans prepared under the Strata Act, and those created under the Subdivision Act.

Before the Subdivision Act 1988 was introduced, building subdivisions in Victoria were governed by the Strata Titles Act 1967 (STA1967). Plans that were registered under the STA1967 show the prefix SP (Strata Plan) or RP (Registered Plan) and look quite different to plans prepared today. This means to accurately interpret them you need a good understanding of how boundaries, structures and other key features are represented on the plans.

So, to help you get started, here are three steps to understanding and interpreting strata plans.

  1. Recognising Boundaries

Identifying the various boundaries shown is a good starting point – here’s an overview of how boundary lines are shown:

  • With thick continuous lines where boundaries are defined by structures, and the boundary lies along the median of the structure (unless otherwise stated in the legend).
  • With thick broken lines that are dimensioned or fixed where boundaries are not defined by structures.
  • In addition, thin or thin hatched lines do not represent parcel boundaries.
  1. Understanding Structures, Buildings and Common Property

Recognising which features are included and how they are represented is a must – here’s what you need to know:

  • As defined by the STA1967, structures shown include fences, walls, floors and ceilings.
  • The outline of buildings are shown on the unit diagram, with the unit number shown inside (which can make it unclear where the parcel boundary lies).
  • Plans under STA1967 always contained common property, which can be located below the surface of the ground or in the airspace above.
  • Where restricted or accessory (car park) units are defined, restricted units can only be transferred together with an accessory unit.
  1. Additional Information in the Legend

The legend contains essential information to help you interpret the strata plans accurately – here’s what you might find:

  • Relevant information about the building in the parcel.
  • A statement regarding the common property.
  • Information explaining the location of the upper and lower boundaries.
  • A notice of restriction if applicable.
  • If there are multiple levels, a storey table.
  • Details clarifying whether the boundary lies along the median of a structure.
  • References to units, including restricted, accessory or car park are treated the same as a lot on a Subdivision Act plan.

To Avoid Confusion, Work with Experts

When it comes to subdivisions involving properties with strata plans, it’s important you’re clear on all the ins and outs to avoids any issues during the planning stage.

For example, because the Subdivision Act 1988 allows for the redevelopment of strata plans, boundary definitions within strata plans can be derived from both the Subdivision and Strata Act. The boundaries on a strata plan can only be amended with Section 32 of the Subdivision Act 1988. So, to avoid confusion surrounding these and other key points, working with a Licensed and experienced surveyor is your best bet.