Stan Zaslavsky

As the planning permit applications have become more complex with objections and refusals which lead to Tribunal mediations and hearings – we are increasingly having to deal with urgent deadlines and timeframes – so the purpose of this article was to shed some light and clarity to what 3D visualisation studios are required to create.

Recently a new version of Practice Note PN VCAT2 came into effect on 1 October 2014 which has updated some requirements and specified others in more detail.

There are two components to 3D imagery being used in the VCAT appeals process – the actual 3D renders of the proposed development and the Statement of Evidence report. If the 3D renders are going to be used as part of the amended plans – they need to be completed and circulated 30 business days prior to the hearing date. However, in most cases, the architect is still completing these plans until the last minute in which case – we only get to see the corrected plans after that date.

Then what is often required of us is to complete 3D images that can form part of expert evidence for the hearing together with the Statement of Evidence report within the next 20 business days as the expert evidence must be submitted 10 business days prior to the hearing date.

The following are the key elements that can streamline the process and achieve this timeframe.

Element 1 – Effective Instructions for the Creation of 3D Imagery

One of the biggest and most important elements is to have effective instructions for the camera points for the 3D renders. We insist upon the planner and if possible the barrister representing the case to be the ones present and instructing us on site when we are setting up the camera points together with the photographer. This then becomes a bit of a juggling act as there are 4-5 parties to coordinate – including the architect and photographer and often the weather and time of day where the proposed building will not be in too much shadow.

Then the camera points and directions are circulated around the consultants to confirm. Below is a diagram of what we’ll send out from one of our latest projects in Brookville Rd, Toorak.

Once everyone is on board with the camera angles and points – from there on our workflows through pretty quickly without needing too much external input.

Element 2 – Statement of Evidence Report

The 3D renders which form part of the “expert evidence report for the application need to be submitted not less than 10 business days prior to the date scheduled for commencement of the mediation” according to #24 of the PNVCAT2 [October 2014]. Consequently, the Tribunal has the power to disregard the report if it is filed outside of the time frame above.

So it is critical that if the decision is made to complete the imagery after the amended plans have been submitted – that the renders are all done and finalised within those 20 business days that follow.

Element 3 – Availability on the date of the Hearing

In the majority of the cases that we have worked on – we rarely get called upon to be present for an examination of our submissions. However, it is vital that the 3D visualisation representative is available on the day of the hearing in case there is a reason for the Tribunal members to get in touch with them.

In summary, the main purpose of this article was to emphasise and clarify the dates of submission of 3D renders and the Statement of Evidence reports. The updated practice notes set out a very clear direction of how these must be presented to the Tribunal and I would encourage you to review them prior to instructing your chosen 3D visualisation suppliers so everyone is clear on what is required.

To your development success,


Stan Zaslavsky

BEng / BTech (Ind Design), LREA, VPELA

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