Development Application (DA) process

Council consent is required for many forms of development, and you can apply for consent by lodging a Development Application (DA). Generally, a DA is required to: 

  • Manage change to ensure that the cumulative impacts of developments do not negatively affect the environment
  • Balance public and private interests by ensuring new development fits the character of the area and sits comfortably within the public domain (e.g. streets, laneways, and public reserves)
  • Provide an impartial process that allows interested members of the community to raise issues to ensure a balanced and considered outcome for all
  • Ensure that hard infrastructure (e.g. stormwater drainage, car parking, and power supply) and soft infrastructure (e.g. trees and landscaping) needed for your development is provided
  • Ensure that your building is structurally safe, protected from fire, and has appropriate access to sunlight and ventilation

The DA process can be confusing, so this page provides an outline of:

  • What you need to do and consider when preparing your DA
  • What happens once a DA is lodged with Council
  • What are the possible outcomes of a DA
  • What happens after a DA is determined
  • What to do if you're unhappy with your determination or want to modify your approval

What you need to do and consider when preparing your DA

Review the planning controls

Determine whether the proposed development is permissible by checking the zoning of the property. You can check via the NSW Government Planning Portal or by obtaining a Section 10.7 planning certificate from Council.

If the proposal is permissible, determine whether consent is required and if so, what type of consent. The different types of development and consent requirements are explained on our Are any approval required? page.

If a DA is required, you will need to design your proposal with the site’s context in mind as well as the relevant planning controls that apply to your site.

Planning controls that may apply to your proposal include:

If you’re unsure what controls apply to your proposal, or you’d like assistance in designing your proposal, you can seek advice from Council through our Pre-Development Application service. Alternatively, you may wish to engage a private planner to help you prepare your application.

Prepare your documentation

Once you have decided on your proposal, you will need to confirm what documentation is required to lodge your application in accordance with Council’s DA documentation requirements (PDF 479KB) and Lodgement Checklist.

Consult with your neighbours

When you are preparing your plans, think about how it will look from and how it will impact your neighbours and the street. Once you have a clear idea of your proposal, you should discuss it with your neighbours. It’s recommended that you contact them early in the process so you can consider any of their concerns and how you may need to redesign your proposal in response to them. Consider issues such as visual and acoustic privacy, solar access, and views.

While this step is not compulsory, it can help to streamline the assessment of your application if neighbours are already aware of your proposal and don’t raise any concerns or objections. However, it’s important to note that your application may still need to be formally notified to neighbouring properties once it has been lodged with Council. You can view Council’s notification requirements in the Community Engagement Strategy.

Lodging an application

Instructions on how to lodge an application can be found on the Lodging applications page.

Lodging applications

Please note that an application is only considered to be officially lodged once all outstanding application fees have been paid.

What happens once a DA is lodged with Council

Once an application is lodged into Council’s system, we will:

  • Notify neighbours and advertise the application (if necessary)
  • Conduct a site inspection (by assessment staff)
  • Review the application against the relevant planning legislation and controls
  • Request more information from the applicant (if necessary)
  • Consider all submissions received
  • Make a decision (approval or refusal)
  • Issue a notice of determination to the applicant

If a request for further information is issued, 21 days will be provided for additional/further information to be submitted, this is in accordance with the Development Advisory & Assessment Policy

Track the progress of an application using our Track applications page.

Track applications

What are the possible outcomes of a DA

Determination

Council has a legal obligation to assess and make a decision on all DAs (unless they are withdrawn). In making our determination, we use a peer review process. This ensures that all recommendations made by our assessment officers are reviewed by a senior officer and, where required, by the relevant planning panel. This ensures transparency and consistency in the recommendations and decisions made by our staff.

When making a decision, the application be either be:

  • Approved, subject to conditions of consent
  • Approved, subject to a deferred commencement consent (this is when certain requirements must be met prior to the application being formally approved and able to be used)
  • Refused

Most DAs can be determined by our assessment staff, unless they are referred to the Inner West Local Planning Panel (IWLPP) or the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel (SECPP) for determination. If an application needs to be considered at a IWLPP or SECPP meeting, the applicant and all objectors are notified and may speak at the meeting. The Panel may:

  • Approve the application (subject to conditions of consent, or subject to a deferred commencement consent)
  • Refuse the application
  • Defer the application and request the applicant to submit amended plans or additional information

For more information regarding the IWLPP or SECPP please see below links: 

Notice of Determination (NOD)

Once your DA has been determined you will receive a notice of determination (NOD). The NOD will tell you whether your DA has been approved or refused. If approval (consent) is granted, the notice will give details of:

  • Any conditions of consent and the reasons for those conditions
  • When the consent becomes effective and when it will lapse
  • Whether any financial contributions are required to be paid, and if so, how much they will be

If your application is refused, the NOD will give reasons for the refusal and explain your options.

Conditions of consent

The conditions of consent tell you how you must undertake the development and if there is anything you must do before you commence the development. You cannot alter or vary the development, the way in which it operates, or the way in which it will be undertaken, unless the terms of the consent are modified.

It is important that you read all the conditions of consent to see if they alter your proposal and what is required before you commence any work or use.

To modify a consent, you must make an application under section 4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Additional fees will apply as this will require an assessment of the proposed modification.

What happens after a DA is determined

Before you can commence the development, you may be required to submit additional documents to Council, pay fees, and obtain further approvals from Council.

Deferred commencement consents

If you received a deferred commencement approval, the NOD will outline what you need to do before you can commence your development. In most cases, you'll be required to submit documentation to Council, such as an amended plan or a supporting report.

You must receive confirmation from Council that this condition has been satisfied prior to starting any work. Once you've submitted the required information to Council and it has been reviewed, you'll be issued with an Operative Consent. 

The required information needs to be lodged online to the NSW Planning Portal.

Contributions

Your NOD may require payment of a Section 7.11 or 7.12 contribution. The money collected through these contributions is used by Council to provide new community facilities, such as open space and car parking.

The amount of your contribution will be determined in accordance with our Contributions Plan. You can view copies of the plans on our Development contributions page.

When you're ready to pay your contribution, you can request an invoice by calling our Customer Service team on (02) 9392 5000 or by lodging a request through Council's online self-service portal.

Security deposit and bonds

Your NOD may also require payment of a refundable bond and/or security deposit. Council uses these fees to rectify any damage caused to Council's assets or the environment as a result of development work. 

When you're ready to pay this fee, you can request an invoice by calling our Customer Service team on (02) 9392 5000 or by lodging a request through Council's online self-service portal.

Construction Certificate (CC)

If you are doing building work, you will need a Construction Certificate (CC) before you can commence any building works approved in your development consent.

A CC can be issued by Council's Building Certification team or an accredited private certifier.

Commencing work

Once you have a CC and before commencing construction work, you must:

  • Appoint a 'principal certifying authority' (PCA) and notify Council that you have done so. The PCA will be responsible for any inspections during construction and will issue the final Occupation Certificate (OC). The PCA can either be Council's Building Certification team or a private certifier.
  • Meet all conditions of consent that must be satisfied before work commences.
  • Notify us in writing at least 2 days before you intend to commence work.
  • Obtain any other approvals, permits, or licences that are required prior to development commencing.

During and after construction

If you are doing construction works, you will be required to have different stages inspected by the appointed Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). You may also need to apply for an Occupation Certificate (OC) before you occupy the building. It is important you read the conditions of your consent and liaise with your appointed PCA to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements.

What to do if you're unhappy with your determination or want to modify your approval

If you are unhappy with the determination of your application, there are several options that you may wish to pursue. In the first instance, we’d recommend that you contact us to clarify any issues and discuss your options.

Lodge an application to review the determination

You can lodge an application to review Council's determination under Section 8.2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Section 8.2 applications must be lodged as soon as possible, as the legislation only provides a timeframe of 6 months (from the determination date of the application you are seeking to review) for these applications to be determined.

If you lodge your application with insufficient time for the assessment and determination within this 6-month period, you will be asked to withdraw the application.

You cannot lodge a review application:

  • 6 months after the determination date of the application you are seeking to review
  • If a review application has already been made for the application
  • After an appeal against the determination made to the Land and Environment Court has been dealt with by the Court
  • If the proposal is designated or integrated development

In a review of Council's determination, you may make changes to your proposal. However, the proposal must remain substantially the same as the original consent, otherwise a new DA will be required.

Appeal to the Land and Environment Court

Any appeal to the Land and Environment Court must be commenced within 6 months of the date on which you received your notice of determination. Further information about the appeal process can be found on the Land and Environment Court website.

Lodge an application to modify a development consent

You may apply to Council to modify a development consent under Section 4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. This type of application is appropriate if you decide to amend certain aspects of the proposal. The following information is required to be submitted with your application: 

  • Plans clearly distinguish between the existing (to be retained components – if relevant) approved components and proposed changes on all relevant plans, sections, and elevations. This should be documented through the use of different colours/hatching and a legend to indicate what they represent.
  • A schedule of all changes from the approved development 
  • A statement identifying any changes to development standards, i.e. floor space ratio, landscape area, height of building, site coverage and the type of modification and the likely impacts of the changes. 
  • A revised BASIX certificate may be required if the changes to the proposal are likely to affect the approved BASIX commitments. 

The proposed modification must result in a development that is substantially the same as the development that was approved, otherwise a new DA will be required.

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Page last updated: 23 Jan 2024