NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Purpose of this guide

NSW planning system

The New South Wales planning system enables and guides development to ensure we have housing, jobs and a healthy environment.

Many forms of development require approval from your council, technically known as development consent. You apply for development consent by lodging a development application (DA).

The DA process can be confusing for first time applicants. This guide explains the process and assists you in preparing and lodging a DA, as well as explaining the next steps to get you building.

Who is this guide for?

The guide is helpful for:

  • people building a new home or planning a renovation
  • small-scale developers
  • people preparing submissions on developments proposed in their area
  • real estate sales people (giving pre-purchase advice)
  • project specialists (such as granny flat developers)
  • those wishing to learn more about the development application (DA) and assessment process.

Types of development covered

This guide is most relevant to small residential development including:

  • alterations and additions to houses
  • new houses
  • secondary dwellings – i.e. granny flats
  • dual occupancies.

This guide deals with DAs that require development consent from council. It does not deal with State significant development determined by or on behalf of the Minister. It briefly describes exempt and complying development to make you aware of those approval pathways.

Page last updated: 05/10/2022