Understanding the development process

Council supports well designed and suitable developments and not all projects require a Development Application (DA). To help you decide if you need to submit a DA or can build using other avenues, you need to consider the planning rules for where you live and what you want to build there.

Exempt Development (no approval required)

Has minimal environmental impact and subject to satisfying pre-specified standards, there is no need for planning or construction approval to be obtained. Visit the NSW Government’s Planning and Environment page to see if your project is exempt development.

Any development and/or works being done as exempt development that may involve the disturbance and/or removal of asbestos materials is to be done in accordance with the provisions of Safework NSW guidelines and to Australian Standard AS 2601 - 2001, Demolition of structures.

Complying Development (strict requirements, 10 day approval process)

Is considered to have a minor environmental impact on neighbourhood amenity which can be addressed by predetermined development standards. Types of complying development include internal alterations to a house, a new single dwelling and a below ground swimming pool.

If your project is not considered exempt or able to be built using Complying Development standards, search Council's planning rules for your property to see if it is permitted with consent. If this is the case you will need to lodge a Development Application.

What is a Development Application (DA)

A Development Application (DA) is a formal request for planning permission to carry out proposed development. 

When is a DA required?

Council’s Planning Instruments and State Environmental Planning Policies identify whether a DA is required and categorises the development as: requiring consent, not requiring consent, or prohibited development.

Development that may require consent includes:

  • construction of new buildings or structures such as dwellings, swimming pools, outbuildings, retaining walls over 600 millimetres high (including batters), jetties etc
  • additions or alterations to an existing building, structure or heritage item
  • display of an advertising sign
  • changes to the use of an existing building or land (i.e. establishment of use)
  • carry out excavation, earthworks or adding fill (must be related to a permitted land use)
  • demolition of a building, structure or heritage item
  • ​granny flats or Secondary dwellings (for more information see our Granny flats page)
  • filling of land
  • subdivisions.

The Development Application form, and other information that must be included, provide council with the information required to process the application.

The Application Form indicates the type of application being applied for, a description of the site and proposed development, and the owner’s consent.

Carefully completing the Application Form and attaching copies of plans and other relevant information (refer to the Development Guidelines will help ensure that the lodgement proceeds smoothly and will reduce the need for council to request additional information.

A Development Application must consist of at least:

  • completed application form, fees and the consent of all registered land owner(s)
  • copies of site plans indicating location of the proposed development on the land
  • copies of plans and/or drawings of the proposed development indicating elevations heights
  • statement of environmental effects (SEE)
  • other supporting documents (if required)
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Checklist (if required).

This checklist is required to demonstrate that the proposal has been designed following consideration of the 'Crime Prevention through Environmental Design' strategies relating to surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement and space management.

What are the different types of Development Applications?

The zoning of the land determines which category (does not require consent, requires consent or prohibited) applies to the development.

Details can be found in the relevant Local Environment Plans.

Local Development

Development that requires a development application (requires consent). Most types of development are categorised as local development. Details can be found in council’s LEP, DCP and other planning documents.

Integrated Development

Development that requires development consent plus approval obtained from public authorities. Refer to section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for a full list of the approvals.

Some examples of integrated development are:

  • within 40 meters of a stream, river, lake or lagoon
  • located in a high bushfire zone
  • located on or connects to Crown Land
  • is within a mine subsidence district
  • located on or near an undisturbed site, dune system or ridgeline.

Additional fees apply for integrated development applications.

Designated Development

Local and state significant developments can also be designated development when the proposed development is listed in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation. The list contains large scale, potentially hazardous, noxious and offensive uses, such as chemical works, coal mines and waste management facilities.

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Last updated : Mon 6 Aug 2018