Development Applications are the approvals process most of the public would be familiar with, as this is how all applications to Council were submitted previously. Now, many smaller proposals can be assessed as Complying Development.
A Development Application (DA) looks at an overall project, including setbacks and whether the proposal is permitted in the intended zone. A DA may be for the construction of a new house, a new sign, expansion of an industrial complex and so on. Sometimes the project may not involve any building works such as a ‘Change of Use’ (for example, a commercial use to industrial use).
If the DA is approved by Council, then 'Development Consent' is issued which is valid for up to five years. Consent may be subject to various conditions that need to be met before work can begin on-site. If the proposal involves new building works, then a Construction Certificate is required before work starts on-site.
A Construction Certificate (CC) looks at the proposal in more detail. The Principal Certifying Authority must check that the proposal has met all conditions in the DA approval (or consent) and check that the design meets the construction requirements of the Building Code of Australia or where a subdivision is proposed, the requirements of Council's Development Manual. Once all these details are satisfactory a Construction Certificate is issued and only then can work begin on-site. Typically specification, detailed architectural plans and engineers details are required with an application for a CC.
A DA and CC can be applied for at the same time via the NSW Government Planning Portal NSW Planning Portal. This works well for smaller less complex proposals such as a single dwelling that cannot meet the requirements for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC), however larger or more complicated projects may apply just for a DA initially and a CC at a later date when the project is ready to start.
What is the difference between a Development Application and Complying Development?
The process for obtaining development consent through a DA is more involved than Complying Development for a number of reasons - the site may have constraints that must be accounted for in the design, the proposal may have the potential to impact on neighbours such as a multi-storey development, or the proposal may not meet all the required design standards.
On the other hand, Complying Development is a way of ‘fast tracking’ smaller and less complicated proposals through the approvals process.
How do I find the development standards such as setback and height for a DA?
How much will a DA cost?
The cost of a DA depends on the commercial value of the proposed works – a larger multi-unit development will cost more than a single dwelling. DA fees are set by State legislation and not by Council. They may include other State fees such as NSW Planning Reform Levy (projects over $50,000) and Long Service Levy (projects over $25,000). Please refer to Council's Fees and Chargers or contact Council for a written quote.
After you have submitted your application via the Planning Portal, Council will send a fee schedule back via the portal for payment.
In addition to the DA fees, other fees may be required for separate approvals for items such water or sewer connections, driveway, on-site sewage management, and solid fuel heaters. Please note that the cost of works is the commercial value and does not account for volunteer labour or recycled materials.
How long does it take to assess a DA?
Allow for between four and six weeks in your project planning, unless you have a small-scale development which may take less than four weeks. The time taken to determine a DA will be affected by a number of factors, including:
- Whether you have researched and designed your development to Council's standards;
- Whether you have submitted sufficient information and the quality and professionalism of that information so that we understand your project;
- The response to your application from your neighbours and the wider community if your DA is exhibited;
- Whether Council considers there is a need for you to vary your proposal to meet planning requirements or community concerns;
- Responses from Government agencies involved in assessing your application; and
- Whether your application can be determined entirely under delegation, or whether it needs to be reported to a Council meeting.
How is a DA assessed?
A DA is often referred to as a ‘merit’ based assessment. Merits assessment requires a more rigorous assessment often by a number of professionals within Council.
A DA assessed on its merits provides an opportunity for the applicant to ‘make a case’ for a design that may not quite meet all the standards. For these reasons DAs generally take longer to be determined and when approval is given there may be a number of conditions to be met before work can start on-site.
Who assess a DA?
Council staff assess all DA's and numerous professionals within Council may be involved, such as:
- Building Surveyors;
- Development Engineers;
- Environmental Health Officers; and
- Heritage Advisor.
Sometimes a DA may also require referral to other state government agencies such as NSW Office of Water, Roads and Maritime Services or the Rural Fire Service. These referrals are usually done for ‘Integrated Development’.
After assessment, most applications are determined by Council staff and DA consent (approval) issued. However, in some instances the proposal needs to be determined by the elected Council representatives. In this case Council Planners prepare a report for Councillors to consider and determine at a Council meeting.
Will my application be advertised or notified to my neighbours?
Council may advertise a development proposed in Council’s newspaper page particularly if it is likely to impact on the wider community. Some applications may be notified to neighbouring property owners, particularly if they have the potential to affect neighbouring properties.
Significant development proposals, such as designated development, are required by law to be notified and advertised.
Do I have to get my DA from Council?
Yes - Council determines most DA’s. For larger or significant projects the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel or Department of Planning and Infrastructure be required to determine the application.
When can I start construction work?
You can only start work with an approved Construction Certificate. If a DA is approved you will be issued with Development Consent - this is not approval to begin work.
Please read through the Development Consent documentation carefully. There are likely to be conditions which need to addressed before a Construction Certificate is issued. Some conditions may require details of materials for heritage items, detailed stormwater design, modifications to a design to meet the Building Code of Australia, landscaping details etc. Only when all these conditions have been met will a Construction Certificate be is issued and only then can work begin on-site.
What do I need to do to apply for a DA/ CC?
In the first instance you will need to look at the site constraints, then prepare documentation including plans. Once you have all the correct documentation you can lodge your DA via the NSW Planning Portal