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Development Application (DA) approval in Sydney – What you need to know

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In the past decade, there has been an increase in Development Applications (DAs) lodged with Councils across Sydney. This is in response to the State Government’s planning reforms which have made the DA process simpler and faster. The result is that more developments are being approved and built, resulting in a growing city. While this may benefit the economy, it can pressure infrastructure and services and disrupt residents. It is, therefore, important that any future growth is well-planned and managed. Otherwise, we could end up in a city that is overcrowded and difficult to live in.

 

The approval process for a Development Application (DA) can be complex and time-consuming. To ensure your DA is approved quickly and without issues, it’s essential to understand the process and requirements. Here is what you need to know about DA approval in Sydney.

 

What is a DA?

A DA, or Development Application, is a formal request to the Sydney City Council for permission to conduct development work on a property. This includes anything from building a new house to making alterations to an existing one or even just carrying out minor works such as putting up a fence. Once a DA has been lodged, the Council will assess it against several criteria, including height restrictions, set-back requirements, and heritage considerations. If the DA is approved, the applicant will be issued a construction certificate, giving them the green light to start work. If the DA is refused, the applicant can appeal the decision or change their plans and re-lodge the DA. The process can be lengthy and complex, so it’s always best to seek professional advice before lodging a DA in Sydney.

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How do I apply for a DA?

You can lodge a DA with your local Council and a range of supporting documentation must accompany it. If you are unsure whether your proposed development will require a DA, you can contact the Sydney Local Planning Panel for advice. Once you have lodged your DA, it will be assessed by a planning officer qualified to ensure the proposed development is compliant with legislation. If the officer believes that the development will have significant impacts, they may refer the application to the Sydney Local Planning Panel for determination.

 

If you’re unsure which authority to lodge your DA with, you can use the Planning Portal’s easy-to-use lodgement tool.

 

What information do I need to include in my DA?

When you lodge your DA, you’ll need to include plans, drawings and other documentation that detail your proposed development works. You may also be required to provide a Site Analysis Report, Heritage Impact Statement or Environmental Impact Statement depending on the nature of your development.

 

BASIX Reports may also be required for all new residential developments, some commercial developments, renovation of $50,000 or more, and installation of a spa or pool greater than 40,000 litres. These reports detail how the development will meet climate change mitigation targets set by the NSW Government.

 

If your proposed development includes any exempt or complying development, you’ll also need to have relevant certifications from an accredited certifier.

 

Acoustic reports may also be required for the development of noise-sensitive receptors such as schools, hospitals, aged care facilities or residences.

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How long does it take for a DA to be approved?

The time it takes for a DA to be approved will vary depending on the proposal’s complexity and whether all required information has been lodged with the application. Generally speaking, depending on the Council reviewing the documentation, it can take anywhere from 21-90 days for a decision to be made on a DA application.

 

What happens if my DA is refused?

If your DA is refused by the relevant authority, you have the right to appeal the decision through the Land and Environment Court. However, this process can be costly and time-consuming, so it’s always best to ensure that your application is complete and compliant before lodgement.

 

What to do before you apply for a DA in Sydney:

  1. Understand the Development Application (DA) process

The first thing you need to do before filing a DA is to understand the process. The DA process can be complex, and several steps need to be followed for your application to be successful. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the process before you begin to ensure that all the required steps are completed.

 

  1. Choose the right location

Another important factor to consider before filing a DA is the location of your proposed development. The location of your development will impact a number of factors, including the cost of the project, the likelihood of approval, and the potential for future growth. It is important to choose a location that is conducive to your proposed development, in order to maximise your chances of success.

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  1. Understand the zoning requirements

Before you file a DA, you also need to make sure that you understand the zoning requirements for the area in which your development will be located. Zoning requirements are put in place by local councils in order to control the type and density of development that can take place in an area. If your proposed development does not meet the zoning requirements for the area, it is likely that your application will be unsuccessful.

 

  1. Engage with the community

Finally, another important thing to do before filing a DA is to engage with the community. It is important to consult with local residents and businesses about your proposed development, as they may have concerns or objections that need to be addressed. Community engagement can help to build support for your project, which can increase your chances of success.

 

Developing a clear understanding of the Development Application process is critical for anyone looking to undertake development works in Sydney. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that your application is lodged quickly and smoothly and that you have the best possible chance of having your Development Application approved without delay.

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