Council Approval

Do I need council approval to build a small home?

Council Planning Schemes regulate how a property can be used including the type of building that can be constructed on the land, its size and the materials to be used. Zoning regulations may also require a minimum size for residential dwellings and variances may be permitted on application.

You should always review your planning scheme and consult your local council’s planning department about the regulations that apply to you.

The two main types of council approvals required for construction of a small house are a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) or a Development Approval (DA) Certificate.

What is a Complying Development Certificate?

A CDC is issued by a Principle Certifying Advisor (PCA) rather than your local council.

A CDC is a much quicker method of approval than a Development Application. Government legislation states that your private certifier must issue the CDC within 10 days of lodgement. This is assuming that all correct documentation has been lodged with the application. Depending on what it is that you are building, the required documentation for your application may differ.

In most cases you will require:

  • Site plans
  • Elevations and floor plans
  • Engineering plans
  • Approval by your local water company
  • A drainage plan
  • Basix certificate
  • Updated Section 149 Certification from council.

In order to be eligible for a CDC your site must comply with a set legislative criteria such as minimum boundary set backs, minimum lot sizes and street frontages. If your development does not meet these requirements then you will need to lodge a DA.

What is a DA?

A Development Application (otherwise known as a DA) is the application made to your local council seeking consent to carry out a development. This type of approval is the most common way of getting consent in NSW. Development Applications are suitable for more complicated building projects that don’t meet the requirements for Exempt Development or Complying Development.

A Development Application consists of a collection of documents (including application forms, site plans, consultants’ reports and the like) and is submitted to your local Council.

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