The Guide - Building

Zone in, not out


What is zoning?

Heard the term but not sure what it means? You’re not alone. But really, zoning is a fairly simple concept used in town and city planning to group areas with similar characteristics and establish clear outcomes for those areas through policies.

Zoning is something most people take for granted, but when you’re starting the new home process, it’s important to understand how your land and suburb are zoned. It protects you for the future, and it’s also worth investigating your surrounding suburbs.


Usually, zones are based on what the land will be used for and all areas are allocated one of these certain primary use categories. That might be for people to live (residential zone), for business (commercial zone) or farming (agricultural zone).

Zoning laws

In order to manage these zones effectively, policies and laws are applied to each category of land to make sure the people using them are using them appropriately. In simple terms, these laws protect you from having a sewage plant built next door to your new home. Zoning laws also restrict specific activities for certain blocks of land e.g. a single residential zone might only allow detached homes and no apartment complexes.

What else does zoning affect?

Zone laws will also apply rules to how you build your home, and of course, this is very important for our new home builders. The rules that apply to what you can and can’t do with your new home include things like:

  • Regulation of dimensional requirements for buildings
  • Density of residential or commercial developments
  • Types of animals that can be kept on the grounds

Zoning controls the spaces allocated for institutions in your communities, including parks, schools and hospitals. Zoning also protects local landmarks and areas of historical importance.

Is zoning permanent?

No it’s not. As our cities change and grow, zoning classifications and laws can be changed, although it is not common for major changes to be made frequently.

Who controls zoning?

Your local government bodies will usually manage zoning, and the rules differ across the country. There may even be variations from council to council in the same city.

As a general rule it makes good sense to take a look at the top-level zoning rules for each block of land you look at buying.