This particular topic is a little difficult to cover in one blog, so I am going to provide a quick overview of the terminology used and then we can explore in more details what each of these terms entail…

When building a new home in NSW, there are generally two levels of government that you may want to consider:

Local Government

This is your local council and each council has their rules and regulations.  These legislative rules are what’s known as Local Environmental Planning or LEP.

Given that every LGA or Local Government Area has their own rules, the approval process & rules will vary.

The process of obtaining plan approvals through your local council is called a DA or Development Application.

Although Council may have their LEP laws set in place, they also have their interpretation of these laws.  These are called DCP’s or Development Control Plans.

In the context of building your home, you cannot argue LEP as it is law.  However you can argue the DCP as it is an interpretation of the law and council may be open to working with you (if it pleases them of course) outside of these interpretations.

Steps

1)  Conduct an assessment with your builder to determine whether your home complies to the rules

2)  Prepare for Submission:  obtain Reports / Engineering / Surveys / Hydraulics / etc… and External Colours must be selected with your builder

3)  Submit for DA approval through your local council

4)  Once approved, obtain a CC or Construction Certificate which takes another 6 – 8 weeks

The approval process may take months and there is no time limit (really) on how quick you will obtain your approvals.  Having said that, I have seen DA’s approved within 2 months and others took 13 months.

A great resource on the DA process can be found here.

State Government

The state government decided that obtaining an approval through the local councils can be inefficient and can take a long time.  So they decided to come up with their own rules for home build approvals.

These rules are called the SEPP or State Environmental Planning Policy.  SEPP is a legal instrument that has a number of “checkboxes” if you will.  If you tick all of the checkboxes, then your plans will be approved.

If you don’t tick any of them, then your plans will not be approved.  It’s a straight forward process, for the best part.

Once your plans are approved, you will obtain your Complying Development Certificate or CDC.

Steps

1)  Conduct an assessment with your builder to determine whether your home complies to the rules

2)  Prepare for Submission:  obtain Reports / Engineering / Surveys / Hydraulics / etc…

3)  Submit for CDC approval through your local council OR private certifier

4)  Once approved (unlike DA, you will not need a CC), you are ready to build your home

The approval process, including preparations etc…, should take around 6 to 8 weeks.

A great resource that you can check out is here.

A Note

SO to keep things simple:

  • DA  = having your approval through the local council rules and
  • CDC = having your approval through the state government rules.

Development Application is a merit-based assessment.

So how do you choose between a DA vs. CDC?  Which is better?  How do they actually work?  

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