Working in the road reserve

Photo of a large excavator on a road next to a foothpath. The curb of the footpath is damaged.


The following information relates to works undertaken by property owners and residents. Find out about how Council maintains our networks of roads, drains and paths here.

An infrastructure works permit is required to perform any works on a Council-managed road reserve.

What is a road reserve?

The road reserve is all the land between property boundaries, including:

  • road surface
  • footpath
  • nature strip
  • drains, verges and shoulders

Permission is required by individuals, contractors and companies wanting to carry out works on any section of the road, footpath or nature strip. This enables the correct mechanisms to be put in place for public liability and ensures that the ‘dug up’ area is appropriately replaced. 

When a permit is required

Council consent (in the form of an infrastructure works permit) is required to conduct work within a road reserve or easement where Council is the responsible authority.

This includes:

  • constructing, altering or removing a vehicle crossing (driveway)
  • drainage, stormwater, gas or water connections
  • modifications or landscaping to the nature strip
  • excavations, trenching, core sampling or soil testing
  • occupying Council land with machinery (including, but not limited to crane, concrete truck/pump, scissor-lift, any machinery over 4 tonnes)

Determine who issues the permit

You must apply for consent from the coordinating road authority. 

VicRoads is the coordinating road authority for all freeways and many arterial roads. Council is the coordinating road authority for all other non-arterial roads and streets in the shire. Find out more about responsibility for roads in Nillumbik.

Vehicle crossings and driveways

'Vehicle crossover' is the technical name for the extension to the driveway which goes into your property or a commercial property from a road. The vehicle crossover crosses over the nature strip, connecting the road to your driveway.

If you wish to construct, extend or relocate a crossover, you should download and read Council's Vehicle Crossing Policy(DOCX, 140KB) to make yourself aware of certain conditions and requirements prior to submitting an application for an infrastructure works permit .

A crossover may be concrete, asphalt or clay/concrete paving.

In some cases a crossover incorporates a pipe culvert to allow the passage of stormwater to pass by uninterrupted. This forms part of the vehicle crossover.

Crossovers (and the pipe culvert, where present) is part of a property’s driveway. It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain the crossover in a safe and serviceable condition. This includes keeping the pipe culvert clear of any debris. 

Gravel driveways 

Unsealed driveways may pose a hazard if the topping material washes onto the road or footpath during rain.

Residents must keep the footpath and roadway in a clean and safe condition if driveway material is washed onto these surfaces.

Nature strips or roadsides

If you want to landscape or plant on your nature strip or roadside, you will need to apply for an infrastructure works permit.

When applying for a permit, make sure to include a map of the area that you would like to plant as well as a list of species.

The work must meet the following conditions:

  • Only plants listed in the Nillumbik publication Live Local Plant Local(PDF, 5MB) can be used in the approved landscaping.
  • An appropriate compactable crushed rock/gravel, such as Lilydale toppings or similar, is acceptable.  This treatment is designed to minimise maintenance and is considered a drought resistant alternative to grass. This is not a formal parking area and Local Laws still apply.
  • All landscaping is to finish 800mm from the back of the kerb and, on the other side, must not encroach onto the footpath.
  • Where there is no constructed footpath, a clearing of 1.2m width from the property line into the road reserve is required for potential pedestrian usage.
  • Plants must not exceed a mature height of 500mm to allow uninterrupted vehicle and pedestrian viewing.
  • Items such as rocks, logs and sleepers must not be used in landscaping on the nature strip or roadside.
  • Garden stakes or star pickets must not be used as temporary fencing or as a parking deterrent on your nature strip or roadside.
  • On roadsides, tree guards and stakes can be used to protect plants while they are establishing.
  • You must not install pavers or concrete or construct stone walls or similar on the nature strip or roadside.
  • You must not prune or remove a street tree on a nature strip without Council approval.

Drainage and stormwater

Works in the road reserve will often need to take into account stormwater drainage.

Legal point of discharge

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of household drains up to the point where they connect into the Council-managed underground or table drain. This point is known as the legal point of discharge.

Stormwater drainage from private properties must link in to the Council-managed drainage system at the nominated legal point of discharge.

To find the legal point of discharge, you will need to apply for infrastructure information so that we can generate a report. We cannot provide this information verbally.

Request infrastructure information

Design of drainage systems

Council's Drainage Design Guidelines(PDF, 2MB) describes efficient, environmentally sensitive and cost effective ways to control stormwater runoff.

If your property is not connected to Council's underground drainage system, Council's Drainage of Unserviced Allotments(DOCX, 575KB) document sets out Council's requirements for absorbing stormwater on site.


A drainage easement is an area of land reserved by law and shown on Title of the property, that has the specific purpose of drainage.

An implied easement is land not shown in an easement on Title that contains a Council stormwater drain.

To locate easements on your property, refer to the Title of the property. A copy of the Title can be ordered from the Landata website

If you intend to build any sort of structure over a draining easement, you must check if you need to apply for consent to build over the easement.

Apply for consent to build over an easement

Site plans

When you apply for an infrastructure works permit, you will need to include a scaled location map showing:

  • proposed works 
  • the location of assets in the vicinity (trees, landscaping, kerb and channel, footpaths, drains, service authority assets and private assets)
  • which road and which part(s) of the road reserve is/are affected
  • proposed depth of cover, clearances and offsets to other road and non-road infrastructure.

Dial before you dig

You will need to undertake a “dial before you dig” enquiry before applying for an infrastructure works permit.

Visit Before You Dig

A copy of all asset plans (Before You Dig plans and information that you've collected) will need to be included with your application. Include all below-ground and above-ground asset plans that you have obtained from Before You Dig.

Note: Asset locations for water and sewer must be obtained directly from Melbourne Water. It's the responsibility of the applicant to locate these assets and services.


Public liability insurance generally provides financial protection to both the public and the responsible persons conducting works in the event of an incident resulting in damages or injury to third party assets or persons.

The minimum policy coverage for persons/companies conducting works within the road reserve of $10 million is required.

Applicants are advised that proof of cover in the form of a certificate of currency is necessary before the infrastructure works permit  application can be completed. 

Standard drawings

Any works in the road reserve must be constructed in accordance with Council's standard drawings.

Standard drawings provide detail for infrastructure assets, such as roads, footpaths, kerb and channel, drains and pits.

They are to be followed when any work is carried out on or around our assets by any developers, contractors and consultants, private or otherwise.

All drawings should be used as a guide. Council must approve all plans before construction can begin.

Download Council's standard drawings

Asset protection permits

Any works that require a building permit and/or an infrastructure works permit will also require an asset protection permit.

These permits protect public assets from damage.

Find out more about Asset Protection Permits.

Apply for an infrastructure works permit

You can submit an application using our online form.

Apply for an infrastructure works permit