I’m not referring to the 3Ps of corporate governance:  People, Planet and Profit, or the 3Ps for marketing: Product, Price and Positioning.

The MWa  3Ps are essential for a smooth and successful residential project: Permissible, Possible and Prudent.

As specialists in residential architecture, we  help our clients to answer the three essential questions they need to know at the start of a project, for a smooth and successful renovation or new build:

  •    what’s permissible?
  •    what’s possible?
  •    what’s prudent?


Here’s why the 3Ps are essential for a smooth & successful residential project:


What’s “permissible” by definition is what is permitted or what is allowed to be done on your site and your home.

There are a myriad of development controls which your site and home may be subject to.

At the outset, its important to know planning legislation is relevant to your site – both NSW government state planning controls (State Environmental Planning Policies) and local council planning controls (LEPs or local environment plans and DCPs – development control plans).  These cover both local council DA regulations and the NSW Exempt and Complying Development controls.  These controls can sometimes be complex to establish, the definitions hard to decipher, and sometimes the relevance is not readily apparent.  Zoning uses, minimum lot area, height, FSR, landscape areas are the examples of the main types of controls which define what’s permissible.

Knowing and understanding what’s permissible is an essential part of MWa’s due diligence on each site at the outset of a project.


What’s “possible” by definition is what is able to be done or achieved on your site and your home.  It’s different from what’s permissible, as regardless of the objectives of planning instruments and the numerics of planning controls, the real relevance of controls is how they can be applied physically to a site and home.  Without this analysis of controls over the site, what is permitted on your site may not be able to be physically achieved.

Some simple examples where what’s permissible needs to be physically applied and tested on your site to determine what’s possible:

  • a site where sub division into two lots is permissible, however, for it to be permissible, the two lots need to have a solution for suitable street and  vehicular access to both lots
  • a site where dual occupancy is permissible, however, the size and configuration of the site and the detailed numeric controls of the site must be suitable for a dual occupancy arrangement to be achieved
  • a site where a number of stories is permissible, however due to the site topography and the configuration of an existing dwelling, the location of a second storey may need to be massaged to be located on a certain part of the site to achieved to comply with maximum overall height, maximum wall height, side setbacks or side boundary envelope
  • a site where exempt and complying development controls can be applied, however, a clause in the local council LEP or DCP which relate to a local control for the site may over-ride a state complying development control for a particular part of the site ie: so confirming where a building can be sited to comply with an area for a terrestrial biodiversity


Testing what is permissible and what is possible is where the “gold is found”, in identifying the real constraints & opportunities for a site.


What’s “prudent” by definition is acting with or showing care and thought for the future. Being prudent is making sure the perameters of the project are sensible, suitable and feasible, in particular as they relate to project costs and value.

We work with our clients to assist them in understanding and making good decisions about their project, before moving ahead on the detail of project delivery.

It’s about judgement and getting the foundations right at the start.

If you are not able to answer what’s permissible, what’s possible and what’s prudent for your site, MWa can help provide the answers with clarity and conviction.


MWa’s unique sketch design service guides our clients through a step by step process to understand what’s permissible, possible and prudent.

The first step is an on-site initial consultation, which is a 1.5 to 2 hour, face to face meeting $400+GST. 

Call us on 0421 088 110 or contact us on to arrange at time.







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