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  • Writer's pictureFiona Gibson

Taking the Overwhelm out of the Approvals Process

If you're thinking of building or renovating, but feeling overwhelmed about the thought of lodging a DA, then you're not alone! This is a common issue with new clients that I talk to and many are concerned that it will take years just to get their approvals, before they can even start to build.

We have been through a period (and not out of it yet!) where Development Applications have flooded into the local Councils and they have struggled to keep up, resulting in approval periods of 10+ months. The NSW Government has singled out some of the local Councils, including Byron Shire where we're located, and are pressuring them to reducing their processing periods. Our Council have responded by becoming more stringent in accepting DAs and in some cases requiring more information upfront than was previously required. And also shortening time periods within which requests for further information can be responded to. So it has been a challenging time indeed on the DA front!

However, there is another option available that a lot of people are unaware of - the Complying Development Certificate. This is basically a process that rolls the DA and Construction Certificate into one application, that can either go through Council certifiers, or bypass Council altogether and be approved through a Private Certifier. An option that takes weeks, rather than months or years, to obtain approval ready to build. What is achievable under CDC is a lot more constrained than what you can do under a DA, but for a lot of clients that are looking to reconfigure internal spaces and/or add a straightforward extension to their existing home, then a Complying Development Certificate could be a much simpler way forward.

There is a bit more work required up front for a CDC to ensure total compliance with the code, and things like engineering and geotechnical reports are also needed in order to lodge the application. However, in the scheme of things this pathway is proving to be much more economical and efficient for some renovations and even new builds.

Here's the link to the NSW code that contains all the details:

State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

We can help advise you on whether your renovation falls under this code, or what is achievable on your property. Just get in touch if you need some assistance!


Fiona and the Sanctuary Design Team

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