Overview of the development process

An overview of the approvals you might need during the development and construction process.

When you need approval

There are two stages in your project where you may need our approval:

  • development approval – when planning your project
  • building and construction approval – before you start building.

The timeframe, cost and effort involved in obtaining these approvals varies depending on:

  • whether the project complies with state legislation, regulations and policies
  • whether the project complies with our development control plans, local environment plans and policies
  • the size and complexity of your project
  • heritage overlays and restrictions
  • whether the project causes, or is likely to cause, concern in the community
  • the quality or sensitivity of the land you are building on.

We recommend you seek advice early in your project planning.

Other approvals from NSW Government – integrated development

Sometimes development applications need additional approval by a NSW Government authority. 

When this happens, we refer to your project as an integrated development.

If your project is an integrated development, we send your plans off to the relevant authority (eg. the Environmental Protection Agency). They assess the project according to their criteria and respond to us.

If the relevant authority does not approve your project, we are obliged to refuse the development application.

Examples of integrated development include:

  • an EPA licenced activity
  • destruction or damage to an Aboriginal relic
  • dredging or reclamation of any waters
  • extraction or harvesting of raw water from streams
  • earthworks within 40 metres of the foreshore or a watercourse
  • earthworks, hoardings or structures within a public road
  • erection of a structure, carrying out of works etc, on a public road under the Roads Act 1993
  • extraction or use of groundwater
  • item or place under an interim or Permanent Conservation Order
  • aquaculture permit
  • permit for dredging / reclamation
  • permit for harm to marine vegetation
  • permit to obstruct fish passage.

Development approval

Development usually falls into one of four categories:

  • exempt development – we don’t need to approve the development
  • complying development – we certify the development
  • local development – you need to submit a development application (DA) so we can grant consent
  • prohibited development - the proposal is not permitted on the site.

We recommend you seek advice early in your project planning to understand which category applies to your project.

More information on development approval.

Building and construction approval

You will need to obtain a construction certificate before you commence any building works.

Construction certificates confirm that the construction plans and development specifications:

  • are consistent with the development consent
  • comply with the Building Code of Australia and 
  • comply with any other council requirements.

You also need to appoint someone to oversee the project during building or construction. This is called a Principal Certifier:

The Principal Certifier will carry out inspections to:

  • check that your project complies with the development consent/complying development certificate and the construction certificate
  • check that your project complies with the Building Code of Australia
  • notify your neighbours of the intent to start work and address community concerns regarding the works
  • issue an occupancy certificate on completion.

You can appoint us to be your Principal Certifier, or a private certifier.

More information on building and construction.