Do you really need a DA for your project?

If you’re planning on renovating your house, or building a new one from scratch, then you’re probably expecting you’ll first need to lodge a Development Application (DA) with your local council. If this is the case you’ll then also need a Construction Certificate (CC) to enable you to build.

This may indeed be the only pathway to building for your project. In many instances however, a Complying Development Certificate or ‘CDC’ is a much faster and easier way to gain approval to renovate or build (in NSW). It’s a one step process instead of the usual 2 stages of ‘DA’ + ‘CC’.

The Complying Development process allows you to rely on statewide controls for floor space, building height, setbacks to boundaries and landscaped area etc. If your design complies with the relevant controls, you can apply for a CDC from a Private Certifier (or even from your council).

The CDC controls are surprisingly flexible and in some instances allow you to build slightly higher/ closer to boundaries than would be permitted using the Development Application process with your council.

Complying Development is generally tricky if you are in a Heritage Conservation Area. There are other limitations that could mean a CDC won’t work for you. If you want to add a large deck on first floor level or if you are in a BAL 40 bush fire zone, or on flood prone land for example, a CDC might not work.

If you are on a regular suburban block however and want to build a new house or rear addition on ground or first floor, there’s a good chance you might be able to do this as Complying Development instead of applying for a DA. So it’s worth investigating before you commence your project.

The first step is to have a look at your Section 10.7 Planning Certificate, which will tell you if you can do complying development on your property. This should be in your contract of sale, if you recently bought your house. Otherwise you can order one online from your local council. Usually a Section 10.7 (2) certificate will be adequate.

If you’re feeling technical you can also check out the statewide Complying Development Policy here. https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/epi-2008-0572

We always try for a CDC wherever possible and our Seriously Big project was actually done as Complying Development!

This project won the NSW Master Builders Association award for best renovation between $550,000 and $650,000 in 2020 with our great builders JT Construct.


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