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 If you’re thinking of renovating extending, building, demolishing or subdividing as an Owner Builder you will most probably need to lodge a Development Application with your local council. There are no general regulations on this – you must contact your local council for specific details. New homes, garages and building extensions or renovations will usually require local council approval. Development Applications allow Councils to asses whether you plans are appropriate for the area.


A Development Application (DA) will be required before you commence any Owner Builder work that requires a development consent . Some but not all examples are:

·        New buildings or structures.

·        Retaining walls, swimming pools, earthworks or excavations.

·        Additions or extensions to existing structures.

·        Demolition of a building.

·        Demolish, alter or damage a heritage listed structure.

·        Subdivision of building or land.



Before any DA is lodged the key to success is forward planning.

·        Council requirements can vary greatly from council to council so to enable a smooth passage of your Owner Builder DA make an appointment to discuss your proposed DA in person with the relevant council officer. Ask questions of the council to ascertain their requirements for a successfull DA application. Ask about heritage requirements, height restrictions, allowed working hours, waste management, tree orders, floor to window  ratios, boundary setbacks, boundary clearances and any other special council requirements that you will be required to adhere to.

·        Lodge your Owner Builder DA and plans together with any associated council requirements such as DA Application form, heritage report, waste management plan, tree report, Energy Conservation report, Engineers reports and drawings, Environmental protection reports etc, etc. As you can see the requirements can be onerous and it may well be better to engage a professional to prepare and lodge the DA and Construction Certificate (CC).

·        Once the Owner Builder DA is approved work may begin. The plans, specifications and council conditions must be adhered to exactly for the project to comply with the DA. Work that does not comply may be condemned and this could mean demolition of the offending work and or fines.





·        A formal application to your local council will be required to approve a development which could include a new building, an extension to an existing building, a swimming pool, a retaining wall, earthworks, demolition or subdivision. Most development within a council area has been pre-planned under a Local Environment Plan which sets out the permissible land uses within the council area. It is a legal requirement to submit a DA for any works which require a DA under the Local Environment Plan. It is wise to check with council before beginning any works to see if a DA is required. A DA allows the local council to check that your project is appropriate under the Local Environment Plan and if it meets all the council requirements for your area. More commonly local councils are accepting online applications where you can monitor the progress of your applications. Councils charge a scheduled fee dependant on the type and size of the project.




·        If your proposal involves building or subdivision work you will need to obtain a Construction Certificate. A Construction Certificate certifies that the construction drawings and specifications are consistent with the development consent and the relevant construction standards of the Building Code of Australia. You can apply for a Construction Certificate either at the same time as you lodge your development application or after you receive your development consent. Council or an accredited certifier can issue a Construction Certificate.  Statutory fees and charges are also usually conditional for approval of the application. Building application fees are usually based on the estimated construction cost at completion of the proposed building works.



Before you lodge your development application you will need to determine whether your proposal needs other approvals. There are a number of other activities that require approval from Councils when carrying out certain development. These include but are not limited to:

·        Connection to water supply

·        Connection to sewer

·        Installing an on-site sewerage management system

·        Operating a place of public entertainment

·        Check with your local council for any other approvals required


OTHER THIRD PARTY APPROVALS                                                                                                                                                                       

Development that requires approvals, licences, etc from other Government agencies is called "Integrated Development". Agencies that you may need approval from include:

·        Heritage Council of NSW

·        Rural Fire Service

·        Department of Sustainable Natural Resources

·        Department of Environment and Conservation

·        Check with your local council for any other third party approvals required



·        Before you commence any building or subdivision works you must appoint a Principal Certifying Authority. Work includes any site works, not just building work - including any site preparation such as excavation, levelling or removal of trees. A Principal Certifying Authority is the Council or an accredited certifier who is appointed by the applicant to oversee the construction process.



·        Hold discussions with your neighbours to alleviate any of their concerns about your project. This allows you to explain your development plans in detail and consider any suggestions as they may hold up the DA process if they object to council. A small change in the plans now could make the neighbours happy and potentially save you a lot of time and money.



Further information may be required and may not be limited to this list

·        Development Applications on council application forms signed by all site owners

·        Plans drawn to scale

·        Architectural model

·        Site analysis plan

·        Survey plan

·        Landscape plans and area calculations

·        Drainage plans

·        Erosion and sediment plans

·        Environmental impact reports

·        Geotechnical reports about the soil

·        Shadow diagrams

·        Waste management plan

·        Statement of heritage impact

·        Accoustical report

·        Engineers certificate for structural design


PUBLIC NOTIFICATION                                                                                                                                                                                                       

You may have a period of public notification (depending on your local council) whereby members of the community have access to your application and can lodge an objection. This is where consulting your neighbours prior to submitting will benefit you.



·        Submit additional information                                                                                                                  

·        Undergo a council inspection of the site

·        Attend a council meeting



The time the approval takes depends on the type of application and your council. Some can take a few weeks while others may take months. You will be notified by mail of the outcome of the application process. Depending on the council you may be able to track the process on the internet. Some council’s publish results in the local newspaper. You will be sent a copy of the Development Consent with any conditions of consent and approved plans. If your application is refused a Refusal Notice will be sent with the grounds of refusal.




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