A NSW Government website

Stage 2 – Lodging your development application

Your guide to the DA process

Lodge an assessment-ready development application

You must submit development applications (DAs) online via the NSW Planning Portal. Register for a NSW Planning Portal account to complete the online DA form.

A completed DA will generally include:

  • a description of the development
  • estimated costs
  • any necessary specialist reports
  • the council’s DA form and checklist
  • all matters required for a DA in the approved form on the planning portal as required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 (EP&A Regulation)
  • the required DA fee.

Lodging a DA is the formal start of the process. The council will check that all the information has been provided. The EP&A Regulation sets out time frames and procedures that a consent authority must follow when assessing a DA.

If you have provided enough information and paid the required fees, the ‘clock’, which measures how long council has to assess your application, will start. If the council finds it needs more information, the clock stops until you provide the required information.

You may have the right to go to court to seek a determination of your DA if council does not meet the mandated time frames.

You are responsible for providing all the required information and to make sure your DA provides enough detail to enable council to properly assess it and make a determination.

Fees are set out in the EP&A Regulation and payment must accompany an application. Fees are based on your estimated cost of the development. Your team needs to ensure the estimates are accurate.

Neighbour notification and advertising

All development applications and plans are made publicly available on the NSW Planning Portal.

Once your DA is lodged and checked, the council may also:

  • send individual letters to local residents
  • erect an on-site notice.

Notifying neighbours is a key element of the DA process. Raising issues can be positive and valuable because all stakeholders can work together to produce a mutually beneficial outcome.

Posting an on-site notice means that your DA is on public exhibition and any person can make a submission.

Concurrence and referrals

Some development applications may require approval from a NSW Government agency (approval body) before a determination is made. The Development referrals guide (PDF, 5.5 MB) helps councils and applicants understand when this is required.

When reviewing development applications, a council needs to consider the development’s effect on things like traffic, pollution, bushfire risk, building design and safety. A council may need advice on these issues from relevant approval bodies. This is known as referral. If specific areas of the DA need approval from other bodies, this is known as concurrence.

The council will refer to or seek concurrence from the appropriate approval body before granting or refusing development consent. For example, the council will refer a DA to the NSW Rural Fire Service for advice if the property adjoins bushfire-prone land.

Requests for concurrences and referrals are done through the NSW Planning Portal.

Accessing the concurrence and referral service

  1. Register for, or log into, your NSW Planning Portal account
  2. Select the relevant application from your dashboard
  3. View, track or make payments online to state agencies related to your development application.

Register and access the service

Allocation of your assessment officer

The council will allocate an assessment officer to your DA. They will be your key point of contact. As your DA progresses, the assessment officer should call you to introduce themselves. They will usually set a ‘call back’ date, which is when they will call to discuss progress, answer your questions and address any issues with your application.

Assessment officers work across many applications. We recommend you wait for your assessment officer to contact you so that the assessments can be done as fast as possible. Your assessment officer will contact you immediately if there are any significant issues or if they need clarification on any matter.

Most councils determine straightforward and complete applications in 40 days or less.

Your key points of contact during the assessment process will be:

  • an initial setting of a future ‘call back’ date
  • at a site inspection that you can attend
  • on your ‘call back’ date
  • any time the council needs additional information from you
  • when the council advises you of its decision.

If you have engaged someone else to apply on your behalf (such as a consultant or project home group), the council will contact them, not you.

In some instances, the council may ask to speak to a member of your specialist team, such as an engineer.

Stage 2

Lodging your development application

Stage 3