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Breaking Bad: How Terrain Approaches Bad News For Clients

Unfortunately, not everything goes perfectly.

The Council or Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), whether its decision is agreeable or not, sometimes rejects a client’s application for a permit or imposes restrictive permit conditions.

However, it need not be the end of the world.

Here a few ways that we make sure an adverse decision is processed, dealt with and moved-on from in a productive manner.

It is important that our clients experience an adverse decision in a sympathetic and empowering way.

We break the news promptly

There’s no use in sitting on it. If their plans are knocked back by the Council, they must hear it from us.

Failure to inform the client as soon as possible means that the client may possibly the hear bad news from another source – from the Council, or worse, the neighbours.

The psychological impact of receiving the bad news from a Council letter is much harder than hearing it from the planning consultant. A down-to-earth, productive phone discussion with one of us leaves clients with a more realistic and hopeful understanding of the state of their plans.

This is why we personally inform our clients of Council knockbacks as soon as possible. We are their best source of support and can unpack the news in the most useful, realistic and informative way.

We Help The Client Manage Their Reaction

Terrain Consulting Group was established in 2000. We have extensive experience in all stages of the planning process.

We’ve noticed that when we have to break news to a client, generally the client’s reaction goes through certain stages.

First, there’s a bit of despair. It is a sudden blow to the client to receive an adverse decision.

However, we find that soon the client enters a state of a calm. They enter this state because they know they are in the right place, talking to the right people. They become productive-minded, eager to move on.

The client knows that the best thing that can be done is, in fact, already underway.

We come up with a plan B

If Plan A is knocked back, we simply talk about Plan B.

Plan B can be many things.

We analyse the decision and explore options to address the Council concerns.

The outcome of the analysis may well be an appeal to VCAT.

Alternatively, it may be the case that only minor changes need to be made to the plans.

Importantly, we organise a meeting with the Architect within a few days.

Straight back to progression. We plan to build. We move forward.