A NSW Government website

Structure of the guide

Your guide to the DA process

Part 1 provides an overview of the NSW planning system to inform you and allow you to better participate in the development assessment process.

Part 2 describes the process to obtain development consent from council in detail. The process is described in stages.

You can work through the guide from start to finish or go straight to the step that is relevant to you.

Part 1 – Getting started

Do I need development consent from my council?

There are some forms of development that do not require development consent (exempt development) and others that may be approved via a fast track approval pathway (complying development). This section helps you understand whether you require development consent and what the best pathway is for you.

Why are DAs required?

You may be questioning why you need to get development consent. This section describes why the development consent process is important.

The planning system

The planning system is a framework of legislation, policy and practice. This section will help you to understand those elements, and their importance.

Part 2 – Development assessment and construction approval processes

Stage 1 – Pre-lodgement

Getting it right at the start

This section describes actions you can take when you are preparing your DA that will make the development assessment process easier including understanding your land, putting together your expert team, talking to council and talking to your neighbours.

Stage 2 – Lodging your development application

Lodgement and initial administration by council of your application

This section describes the information that must be included in your DA, and the initial steps council takes in its processing (notification, referral and allocation to an assessment officer).

Stage 3 – Assessment

What happens to my DA now?

This section describes the process council will follow when undertaking its assessment. It is important to understand these processes so you can understand what is happening, when you can expect to hear from council and how you can participate in the process.

Stage 4 – Determination

The decision

This section explains the possible decisions council can make about your DA and the importance of conditions that council might place on your development consent, if approved. This section also describes mechanisms that allow you to seek to:

  • modify your development consent.
  • have council reconsider its decision; or
  • appeal the council’s decision to the Land and Environment Court.

Stage 5 – Get your Construction Certificate

Organise construction

Your development consent is an approval for the carrying out of development as proposed in your DA. You also need to get a construction certificate for any building work, which considers how your building will be built to ensure it is safe, healthy and in accordance with the development consent. You can obtain your construction certificate from council or an accredited certifier.

Stage 6 – Get your Occupation Certificate

Celebrate and move in

You must obtain an Occupation Certificate to certify that you have met the requirements of your development consent and construction certificate, and that the building is now ready to occupy and enjoy.