Development Applications and Development Approval in NSW

If you’re looking to start a building project, you can save time and money by thinking about planning approval, or DA approval, from the outset. The most appropriate method of getting development approval depends on these factors:

  • The size and cost of your development
  • The zoning, location and restrictions placed on your land (if you don’t have a s149 certificate, call your local council or check their website to find this information)
  • The heritage status of your land, buildings and surrounding land (check your s149 certificate or the NSW State Heritage Inventory)

There are three methods to get approval for residential, commercial or industrial development in NSW, depending on the extent of your proposed works:

  • Exempt Development – for very minor development such as building a deck, provided it meets a variety of standards set out in the legislation. No approval is required for this type of development.
  • Complying Development – for minor development such as building a new house or installing ventilation in a commercial building, provided it meets a variety of standards set out in the legislation. This type of development is approved with a Complying Development Certificate (CDC), which can be issued by your local council or a private certifier.
  • Development Application (DA) – for most other common forms of  development, from building a house that exceeds the maximum height in the complying development standards to building an apartment block or extending an existing industrial building. DA approval is known as Development Consent, and is granted by your local council.

Read on for more information on the development approval process:

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