Glossary of Terms

For information on common terms relating to roads,streets and road reserves, please see the following for clarification:

Arterial Roads

Arterial roads are major thoroughfares designed to carry the traffic of people and goods like oxygen-laden blood through the arteries of a city’s streets.

The term is often used to contrast with municipal roads.

Building Overlays

A building overlay is an additional set of building regulations that further define conditions under which you can build in that area.

Sometimes these are for reasons of safety, such as the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay, which affects land that may be in danger of flooding.

Other times overlays may be put in place to preserve the character of an area, such as with the Heritage Overlay.

Building Work

‘Building work’ is defined by Council as “work for/or in connection with the construction, renovation, alteration, demolition, relocation or removal of a building, including landscaping, concreting and subdivision road construction but excludes Minor Building Works.”

“Minor Building Work” refers to building work valued at less than $5,000 with the exception of, (regardless of value):

  • the construction of any masonry structure and/or
  • the demolition and removal of building and structures.

Cross Street

When two streets intersect and keep going, creating the shape of a cross, this intersection can be referred to as a ‘cross street’. The term is more specifically used in building to refer to the nearest road intersection.


An ‘easement’; is a section of your property that someone else has a legal interest in. Specifically it tends to refer to a section of a property reserved for the installation of services; such as stormwater drains or sewers. Where such services exist or will be needed in the future, the easement should be kept clear for maintenance and access. Some drainage easements are also designed to allow stormwater to flow over the surface during large storms.

Environmental Weed

Environmental weeds are plants that take over native ecosystems, thwarting the growth of the native flora and fauna.

They are often dense plants that block light and nutrients from getting to other plants, and tend to be highly flammable.

Because they starve off plants that are part of native animals’ diets, they also starve off native animals.

They may be pretty, you may have paid money for them at your local garden centre, they may even be native plants themselves, but because of the damage they do to our local ecosystem they are considered weeds. 

Replacing them with less aggressive native plants is strongly recommended.

The Nursery and Garden Industry of Queensland has a website called Grow Me Instead offering possible alternatives.

Municipal Roads

A municipality is literally the town or city area which is the specific responsibility of an authority. The municipality of Monash is governed by Monash Council and under the 1989 Local Government Act so are all roads within that ‘municipal’ area that aren’t already governed by another authority such as VicRoads. These ‘municipal’ roads are thus generally defined by what they aren’t rather than any identifying characteristics of their own. So a road is generally ‘municipal’ if it isn’t a:

  1. ‘non-arterial State road’ which means a State road which is not a freeway or an arterial road; such as Blackburn Rd and High St Rd
  2. Freeway, such as the South-Eastern Freeway or
  3. Arterial road, such as the Princes Highway. (Link to Arterial Roads)

Municipal roads can also include any roads on Crown Land reserves, which may include those of Monash University.


If a building work is ‘permanent’ it cannot be quickly and easily removed by two people.

Road Opening

Road opening is literally making an opening in the road, such as to access drains, pipes and electricity.

State Road

A ‘State’ road is usually referred to in contract to a ‘municipal’ road and as with a municipal road; it is named for its governing authority. (Link to Municipal Road)

‘State’ roads fall under the governance of the State. Here in Victoria, this is the Victorian Government’s appointed road authority, ‘Vic-Roads’, unless the road is specifically owned by the:

  1. Extension corporation, or
  2. the Link corporation, or
  3. EastLink Corporation, or
  4. The Peninsula Link Freeway Corporation.

While these commercial corporations tend to be pretty clear on their ownership of their toll-roads, - and the accompanying fees, the managing authority of some roads can be confusing to identify.

Check VicRoads’ handy map showing roads by authorities. Always contact VicRoads rather than Council if you have an issue or a question about a:

  • Freeway
  • Arterial road (Link to Arterial Road)
  • Non-arterial State Road. These roads, despite not actually being a freeway or arterial road, have been declared as State Roads, which makes them the trickiest to spot. 

Standard Drawings

These are examples of the type of technical drawings you’ll need to apply for a permit.

They are provided to give you an idea of the level, (or standard), of detail and accuracy required.

Street Alignment

The Building Regulations define ‘street alignment’ as the line between a street and a plot of land. This is the line where your property ends and the public domain begins. The term is often used in ‘siting’ requirements and in describing the restrictions on fence heights.

In relation to fences, the regulations refer to “within 3 metres of a street alignment” and “within 9 metres of the point of intersection of street alignments”. Your front fence is going to be “within 3 metres of a street alignment”, but the 9 metre measurement is more complex.

The “point of intersection” of street alignments is the corner edge of your property. Your current fences probably have a graduation in height from the front corners of your property due to where they fall within this 9m field on either side.

Vehicle Crossing

This is the part of the driveway access for your vehicle that crosses over the public sidewalk and nature strip.

The ‘kerb and channel’ at the edge of your driveway is part of the vehicle crossing, and serves as a connection to the street drainage system.

The ‘vehicle crossing’ is maintained by Council, but if you use or damage it for purposes of construction, outside normal use, it is your responsibility to repair it.

Works (Road)

‘Works’ by the Road Management Act 2004 definition; include “any kind of activity conducted on or in the vicinity of a road or proposed road in connection with the construction, maintenance or repair of the road or installation, maintenance or repair of any infrastructure in, on, under or over a road.”

This includes, for example:

  • Excavating or breaking up the surface of a road;
  • Constructing a structure in, on or over a road;
  • Removing or interfering with any structure or marking on a road;
  • Planting or removing a tree or other vegetation;
  • Tunnelling under a road;
  • Connecting a road to a road;
  • Installing pipes, drains, cables, poles, buildings, shelters or other structures on a road reserve;
  • Erecting any obstruction on a road or otherwise impeding the use of a road for the purpose of conducting any works

Works Manager (Road Works)

A works manager is “any person or body that is responsible for the conducting of works in, on, under or over the road.”

(Road Management Act 2004 - Definitions)

The Road Management Act goes on to define the primary purpose of a road as “use by members of the public”.

The Works Manager’s job is to manage works so that they affect this primary purpose, (which is members of the public using the road), as little as possible.

Specifically to;

  1. Limit any damage to roads and road infrastructure;
  2. Ensure that works necessary for the provision of non-road infrastructure are conducted as quickly as practicable;
  3. Limit any disruption to road users;
  4. Minimise any risk to the safety and property of road users and the public generally;
  5. Facilitate the design and installation of infrastructure which minimises any risk to the safety of road users;
  6. Ensure that the road and any other infrastructure is reinstated as nearly as practicable to the condition existing before the works necessary for the provision of the non-road infrastructure were conducted;
  7. Protect and preserve existing significant roadside vegetation and sites of biological significance within the road reserve.

(Road Management Act - Schedule 7, Sec 14) Works (Road Management Act 2004 - Definitions)

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Last updated: 23 June 2019