Time + Cost

Did you know that achieving an approval can add massive value to a property? It’s like manufacturing your own wealth!

And we’ve got the numbers to back up this claim, because a year or so ago we did a study to find out how much value a council approval really adds to a property. After looking at our 3000+ approvals we’ve achieved for our clients plus what each approval is worth, we worked out that on average a council approval can add over $250,000—yes that’s right, over a quarter of a million dollars—to just one property!

If jumping straight into a development approval seems too big, you could just dip your toes in and find out what is actually allowed on your property. And actually this is what we’d recommend to anyone thinking about getting council approval: doing a preliminary assessment on their property. This service costs just a tiny fraction of the whole project but maximises the chances of approval and confirms that seeking development approval is worth all the effort because you’ve got the best possible chance of getting approval for your property.

Our aim is to find you the quickest and easiest path to approval, amongst one of the most complicated planning regimes in the world. Keep in mind, though, that what’s most important is to apply for the best possible project.

If you engage us to do a Preliminary Planning Assessment on your property, we will determine the best path for approval for you so that you can know that you have put your project on the quickest path to determination.

If your project does need to have a development application lodged, councils have specific mandates on how long they have to assess your application. For example, in NSW councils have 42 working days once your application is lodged (excluding any stop-the-clock requests for further information). Of course councils don’t promise the approval in 42 days, but you do have appeal rights for deemed refusal if they don’t approve your development application within that timeframe.

Thanks to our highly developed systems over the last 25 years, you are not at the mercy of a start-up consultant who wings it.

Whatever the quickest path to success is, we will find it for you.

Just a tiny fraction of the value that getting the approval adds to your property. On average, by achieving council approval, we add $250,000 worth of value to our clients’ property!

We have a saying that anything to do with property is never going to be cheaper than it is today. Therefore, the cost of indecision will be expensive tomorrow.

Every week we hear of someone saying to us, “I wish I had found you years ago before we or I (blank)” or “If only I knew you existed before we or I (blank)”. You can imagine what the blanks might be: something to do with money, hassle, and or stress. Or, most likely, a combination of or all of the above.

If you’re not sure how much it costs to get council approval, doing a Preliminary Planning Assessment on your property will help you decide on the best project. It will also assess what is needed to lodge a development application and the likely cost of that approval.

Each property is as unique as fingerprints, each with its own nuances and varying differences. Also, each council, and each zone, has different requirements for lodging a development application. This is exactly why we offer an initial assessment—a Preliminary Planning Assessment—on your property rather than jumping straight into a development application.

Many times we’ve seen someone spend thousands on plans before getting proper advice on the best project and its likelihood of success.

We don’t want this to be your story. The cost of inaction in property investment is real and can result in a huge opportunity loss. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re here to help.

Side note: The lowest price is probably not something you’ll be looking for when it comes to your project anyway. As you know, poor or cheap advice results again in more time and more money wasted, and more stress added. Achieving the best result, the best project, is the most important.

In our industry there’s a saying,“The time to buy property was yesterday, the second-best time is today”. We often reflect that anything to do with property is never going to be cheaper than it is today. Therefore, indecision costs you and I the most.

Every week we hear of someone saying, “I wish I had found you years ago before we or I (blank)” or “If only I knew you existed before we or I (blank)”. You can imagine what the blanks might be: something to do with money, hassle, or stress. Or, most likely, a combination of or all of the above.

We don’t want this to be your story. The cost of inaction in property investment is real and can result in a huge opportunity cost. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re here to help.

Property in Australia has doubled in value every 7–10 years for the past century. There is no other investment category that comes close when you also take into account the power of leverage. On top of that percentage, we can manufacture even more growth by achieving council approval.

Preliminary Planning Assessment (PPA)

A Preliminary Planning Assessment (PPA), and its Project Strategy session, originally conceived by Council Approval Group, is a property analysis report and planning discussion on your property.

Not only is the purpose of this step to help you make a well-informed decision about the potential development options of your property (there are usually more than one or two options or even a combination of development options available), but it also predicts the sleekest course for an approval and anticipates the smoothest way around and through any anticipated “speed bumps”.

A Preliminary Planning Assessment generally answers the following questions:

  • What is the quickest and easiest path to get approval for the development option I would like to achieve?
  • Are there any planning law loopholes that might simplify the approval process?
  • What are the planning laws that apply to my property in the context of my ambition?
  • What are my chances of success?
  • What major hurdles should I be aware of and what hoops will I need to jump through to achieve approval?
  • Is there a better project than I have thought of?

A Preliminary Planning Assessment is essential for you to:
01. Avoid wasting time and money on an application only to find out later that the development you want is not permissible or is unlikely to be approved
02. Help you to find the easiest way to achieve your selected development option
03. Allow you to discover if there is a development scenario that is better suited to your needs or is more valuable than the option you have in mind
04. Better understand the towning planning laws that apply to your property
05. Explore and expose any planning law loopholes.
06. Receive preliminary advice on the likelihood of your preferred development option and its viability based on our 50+ consecutive years of experience

Consider what we like to call “the prescription without diagnosis is malpractice” parable to help explain this question.

You call up doctor A and explain that you’re ageing and every 24 hours you seem to be getting a day older and ask what the strategies are that can slow this process down. Without asking any questions about your lifestyle or health history, doctor A quotes a ridiculous dollar amount and says that you need an unnecessary yet immediate emergency procedure and alludes that it might literally cost you an arm and a leg.

You have never been so motivated to get a second opinion!

You then call doctor B (like Council Approval Group) and explain your situation using the exact same words. Unlike doctor A, doctor B takes the time to ask you the right questions and talks you through the proper procedure of making a professional and more accurate diagnosis, explains why working together could be the right fit, and is willing to help you every step of the way. And for a small initial fee, the foundational research could be done for further diagnosis. It’s only then that doctor B says they can know what’s really going on and how to tackle it.

Council Approval Group, like doctor B, only prescribes the full “treatment” (or the plan going forward for a development application, for example) once the primary research has been done—that’s the Preliminary Planning Assessment (PPA).

The PPA stipulates what development type or business use is associated with your property. Our team scrutinise each planning instrument to expose every possible development potential available to the property. Excitingly, there is often more than one development opportunity, some superior to others.

The PPA identifies and highlights the probability of issues or hurdles that could come up and how to navigate them.

You can see why it would be a mistake, often an expensive mistake, to jump straight to a development application before having the initial report carried out on your property.

The PPA report acts as a roadmap to help you navigate the subsequent stages of a development application and to offer you the options for the highest value and best use of your property. We believe this step is crucial to the success of any project.

As our Principal, Max Fragar, says, “in property the most expensive advice is free advice”.

Plans are usually indicative of what planning laws apply to your property.

The benefit to getting a Preliminary Planning Assessment completed on your property before doing plans is that it allows you to discover the following:

  • The quickest and easiest path to getting approval for the development option you would like to achieve
  • The best development option for your property
  • If there are any loopholes that might simplify the approval process
  • The planning laws that apply to your property in the context of your ambition.
  • Your chances of success.
  • What major hurdles you should be aware of and what hoops you will need to jump through to achieve approval

If you do talk to council, one of three things is likely to occur. Either you will become discouraged because you can’t get the answers you need, or you’ll give up because the council duty planner tells you what you want to do is not possible, or you cannot understand the language.

They say that “a council town planner will tell you what you can’t do, a consultant town planner will tell you what you can do”.

Many people make the wrong assumption that council officers are there to help you deconstruct the planning rules and provide insight into how to interpret and decipher planning law. Sadly, it is in fact the opposite. A council planner’s job is not to find ways for you to do a project, and they can’t be seen as overtly encouraging a project.

Our team of expert town planners can unravel and interpret planning law to help you discover the best possibilities for your property. All can be revealed in a Preliminary Planning Assessment and Property Strategy Session that exclusively targets the potential development options available to you.

If you’re prepared beforehand with some real opportunities that are permissible on your property before talking to council, you’re already ahead of the game.


Having completed thousands of projects, our expert team are authorities in the council approval process. Our team are spread out in various offices all over New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. Our firm currently has the capacity to assist clients with projects regardless of where they are situated in New South Wales, Victoria, or Queensland.

Over the past 25 years we’ve worked on over 12,000 projects. You might find we have done hundreds of projects in your area and worked directly with your council many, many times. In fact, some of our staff may have even worked within your council before they joined our team, meaning they “speak the same language” as council staff.

All of this means that your project is given the best possible chance of success.

Over the past 25 years we’ve worked on over 12,000 projects. Chances are we have done hundreds of projects in your area and worked directly with your council. In fact, some of our staff may have even worked within your council before they joined our team, meaning they “speak the same language” as council staff.

This means that your project is given the best possible chance of success.


We’re a company that has figured it out. For the first time ever we’ve correlated, collected, and systemised what we’ve learned from over 50 consecutive years of professional and personal experience in property and planning to help you through arguably the most complex and confusing system in NSW.

For us, the council approval process is no longer a Rubik of rules, paperwork, and attempts to reading council’s mind… well, there still might be a bit of that. But what we hope to present is a simplified, concise, and digestible framework to help you get the best outcome possible.

Here is our 7-step formula to achieving council approval. It has been formulated, tested, examined, tested again, and evaluated many times over based on our over 50 consecutive years of experience in the industry and doing this kind of stuff. Each of these steps has been fundamental to the success of our 3000+ projects that we’ve completed before yours. This formula allows us to achieve council approval every 2.5 days for one of our clients.

01. Free Consultation
02. Preliminary Planning Assessment (PPA) and Project Strategy Session (PSS)
03. Development Application Engagement
04. Plan Preparation
05. Lodgement
06. Post-Lodgement Liaison
07. Determination

Our aim is to find you the quickest and easiest path to approval.

Within our Preliminary Planning Assessment we examine your best course of action. Depending on your project, you may be able to utilise planning loopholes or fast tracks that mean you can shave off months of the approval process.

Should we determine that you do need a development application or development consent, we give you access to our highly refined process based on helping over 12,000 people.
This means a faster approval process for you, regardless of which path legislation mandates.

Right Fit

Council Approval Group have helped thousands of property owners and business owners over the last 25 years, giving them the right approval through council.

We continue to add hundreds of thousands of dollars in value to people’s lives through council approval, whether it be monetary in nature or the priceless gift of time. For many of our clients, getting an approval has meant a positive change in lifestyle and a better trajectory for the future. It sometimes has meant avoiding a sticky or complicated situation, or simply avoiding the time, stress, and hassle of dealing with council all on their own (dealing with council all on your own… now there’s a daunting thought).

Not only do we add value to our client’s business or property portfolio in the way of an approval, we are also proud to say that we add value to their lives.

Our years of success and trusted industry reputation can give you the confidence that Council Approval Group can help get you where your property and business dreams should be.

A coach or mentor can often take a decade of learning and experience and put it into a day for the benefit of others. That’s certainly what we aim to do with our over 50+ consecutive years of town planning experience.

We eat council applications for breakfast. Since the 1960s our team have been helping people navigate the council approval process. Having completed over 3000+ projects, we are hypersensitive to the nuances of any development application. Our years of experience help predict councils’ next moves and even dodge the unnecessary red tape. They would never admit it but our team have X-ray vision when it comes to seeing straight through councils’ intricacies and the multiple layers of planning law.

The top 5 benefits of using an expert town planner at Council Approval Group:
-We see and create opportunity
-We speak the town planning council lingo
-We advocate for real people, bringing them hope and clarity
-We ask the right answers to get the best results
-We expand your vision and the possibilities of your property

We’re proud of our history. Rewind to 1967. With Elvis sideburns, Max Fragar confidently sailed into a town planning career of which he would make a huge success and be admirably recognised for decades later. It was clear that Max had the town planning knack and was certainly good at what he did.

But one thing pulled Max Fragar’s heart string one too many times. Max realised that for many Australians the time, stress, and hassle of achieving council approval was a very real challenge. “On frequent occasions, I saw members of the community break down in sheer frustration at the front counter of council because of the daunting task it was to be able to try to understand the complex planning law and approval process. I often saw someone with a great dream and a great project simply give up because the whole process seemed too overwhelming, too stressful, too complicated and too difficult to pursue.”

And Max was determined to help.

So, after 25 years Max bowed out gracefully from his highly successful career within local government and turned instead to embrace the challenge of assisting everyday Australians to better navigate the council approval process. This decision in 1996 would mean that as of today over 12,000 people have been helped to navigate the approval process in Australia.

Since 2011, when Max’s son Colin Fragar partnered with his Dad, the team has continued to grow and expand. Today we are a firm of over 20 exceptional professionals who eat the council approval process for breakfast. Our magnificent team are in pursuit of making the planning and council approval process one to be enjoyed and not endured.

Today, Council Approval Group incorporates Max Fragar & Associates, Fragar Planning & Development, The Council Approval Experts, and Council Approval Design.

We proudly continue the admirable and worthwhile quest and mission that Max Fragar envisioned all those years ago. This vision is the foundational crux today: to simplify, even streamline, the council approval process for as many Australians as will have us help.

Although we’d like to help everyone, if you’re Harry Trigguboff, you’re not who we’re looking for.

If you’re only looking for the cheapest quote, we’re probably not going to be the right fit.

If you’re not ready to find out the true potential of your property and to move forward in the near future, you might like to look somewhere else.

We’re only interested in people who are ready now to change their lives and financial future by enhancing their properties’ potential through getting council approval.

Are you a property owner looking to maximise the potential of your land?

Are you someone who is looking for a secondary income or extra rental return?

Are you a property investor who wants to manufacture property yield through council

Do you have a business that needs council approval?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and you’re serious about moving forward now, well, then what are you waiting for? (That’s your cue to make an appointment to talk to us… Our number is 1300 138 008.)

Once you engage us to do a DA you will work directly with one of our highly experienced Local Government Town Planners.

We’re a firm of over 20 exceptional professionals who eat the council approval process for breakfast. Our magnificent team are in pursuit of making the planning and council approval process one to be enjoyed and not endured.

We don’t just write reports. We don’t just create plans. We achieve council approval. We create dreams.

We know how to talk the council lingo and can perceive, even predict, their next move, and we know how to jump through councils’ hoops of fire.

After helping over 12,000 people with their council approval, we are proud to say there is no one else in Australia like us with as much depth of experience and breadth of project knowledge that focuses on helping Australians achieve council approval.

Our founder, Max Fragar, says that a successful outcome is achieved only when you have all three of the following:

A Good Client + A Good Consultant + A Good Project.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how good your project is or how badly you want to achieve it, a project comes unstuck if you work with the wrong consultant.

With a collective experience of 387 years, our expert team is made up of highly skilled, very knowledgeable, and qualified property consultants, designers, and town planners. You can learn more about our team here.

Our expertise means your council approval is streamlined and given the best chance of success.

Success Rate

We have a 98% percent success rate in achieving council approval, based on our 25-year history.

This means that you can have certainty in knowing that not only you selected the best possible project (based on our Preliminary Planning Assessment) but you also gave your project the best possible chance of success.

To achieve the best result, and capitalise on our 98% success rate over the past 25 years, there are a few essential things that you need to do to maximise your chance of success:

  • First, engage us to do a Preliminary Planning Assessment (don’t skip this step);
  • Work with our internal design team (if a project comes unstuck it is usually because the plans were prepared by someone who has no council approval experience and is not working closely with a consultant town planner); and
  • Be willing to push through council negativity and follow our recommendations all the way through to the end.

The Australian town planning system is one of the most regulated and restricted systems in the world. Despite our track record being possibly the best in Australia, despite having 12,000 plus projects over 25 years under our belt, we do not guarantee approval.

We suggest that anyone who guarantees a council approval is playing in the infant safe zone. They usually are not in business for more than a year. Clients soon realise that if approval is guaranteed, it means that the consultant is not seeking the best outcome from council, as they play it safe so they keep their paycheque.

What we guarantee is that your project will be given the best possible chance of success for the best possible outcome.


With over 25 years of experience and having helped over 12,000 people, we have a highly refined system that can maximise your success when dealing with council. Our 98% success rate with council is mainly based on our clients taking each and all of the following steps:

  • Step 1 – Free 30min Consultation. Claim your free 30 minute consultation with one of our council approval consultants. The purpose of this consultation is to better understand your project, what you are trying to achieve, and your timeframe for achieving council approval. Our council approval consultant will ask you a variety of questions to assess whether we can help you move forward on your project or whether we can refer you elsewhere. We’ll then make a recommendation based on what our consultant thinks is the best roadmap for you to achieve your goals.
  • Step 2 – Preliminary Planning Assessment (PPA). Engage us to conduct a Preliminary Planning Assessment on your property which includes a detailed Project Strategy with one of our directors and a town planner. Basically, the PPA is the research that will allow us to give you good professional advice.
  • Step 3 – Development Application Preparation (DAP). We prepare and submit your development application to council, and we have an astounding 98% success rate. Preparing your application includes us doing the town planning documentation, architectural plan, drawing, and more.
  • Step 4 – Architectural Plans for Council (APC)
  • Step 5 – Lodgement of Application With Council & Council Concerns Management (CCM) to Council Approval
  • Step 6 – Construction Certificate and Construction Management (where desired)

We offer solutions for the following types of projects (and more)… [list out 30 projects]

Yes. Plans are an integral part of the application and council approval process. Your choice of designer will significantly impact your probability of approval and maximise yield.

It is well known in the council approval industry that “undercooked” plans by an underqualified designer are the first thing the council will attack when judging whether your application is even acceptable to lodge. That’s right, even before your application can begin to be assessed, council’s front-counter staff have the option to turn the application away if they find any deficiencies in your plans.

Saving a few dollars on plans by having them drafted by your “cousin’s mate” is a false economy.

After many years of working with hundreds of designers and all councils, we have hand selected our own in-house architect and design team. When you partner with Council Approval Group you are partnering with an award-winning architect, design team, and town planners.

This means you will increase the turnaround time of your council application and skyrocket your probability of getting approval.

Yes. We are a one-stop shop. With 25 years in the business we have personally curated a select group of professionals capable of pulling off all project types. As we work with these experts regularly, we know they are capable of and passionate about achieving the best result every time.

Further, we have a dedicated manager of consultant services who continually strives to reduce costs for our clients and improve service delivery times.

This means you can spend less time managing your project and get back to doing what you love.

Yes. Finding the right property at the best of times can be challenging. But as soon as you are looking for a particular property that you can do a particular type of project on, the complexity escalates.

We offer a premium concierge service to help select clients find the property they are after. By using this service you gain the benefit of working with a buyers’ agency within a sophisticated town planning firm so that you can find the properties with the right zoning, the right size, and the right location.

Please contact us if you would like to find out more about, and how to apply for, this service.

Yes. You don’t want to buy a property only to find you can’t develop it the way you want to.

We’ve assessed thousands of properties that are up for sale so that our clients could move forward confidently with their purchase. Sometimes our advice was to not proceed with the purchase, in which case our clients have managed to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by spending a little on our Preliminary Planning Assessment. Of course in those cases we have talked our way out of that engagement, but we believe that this honest firm advice means that clients come back to us for later advice.

Our commitment to giving you honest advice means you can move forward confidently with a property purchase.

Yes. Auctions are final, usually with no cooling off and no opportunity to insert “subject to council approval” clauses.

If you are looking at purchasing a property via auction and would like a consultant town planner to give you confidence in bidding, for an additional fee we offer a priority service. This premium Preliminary Planning Assessment and associated Strategy Session with a Senior Town Planner usually takes five full working days. Please contact us if you are looking at purchasing a property to see what our current turnaround times are.

We have helped hundreds of clients to buy, or walk away from, a property that is selling by auction. This gives you as much confidence as you can have when buying at an emotionally charged auction.

Of course the advice is always that we cannot guarantee council approval. If you do buy at market value, then your investment is generally safe and a council approval for further development should be seen as a bonus to that.

Absolutely. It would be our pleasure. Actually, this is one of the core drivers of what we do and why we do it.

One of the biggest mistakes people seeking council approval often make is settling too fast on a single development scenario before realising that there could be other, more valuable development options. Make sure you get the right advice early on, as it could potentially unlock hundreds of thousands of dollars in return on investment and at the very least a lot of time saved.

Planning law has become the primary legislation that determines what can be done with a property. An experienced and qualified town planner can help articulate potential development options that can avert spending any more time or money than necessary.

Your next step is to engage us to do a Preliminary Planning Assessment on your property so that you can be sure that you achieve the best possible development outcome for your property.