Development Approval Process

A Development Application (DA) is a request for permission to carry out proposed developments.  Our Customer Service Centre can answer the majority of enquires, so if you are unsure as to whether you are required to submit an application or which application you are required to submit, please phone our Customer Service Centre on 4934 9700 or read through the Guide to Assist in Completing an Application Form. 

Most developments require two things before construction can commence – development approval and a construction certificate. The development approval process assesses whether or not a proposal of a basic design is appropriate for a given location. A construction certificate can approve a specific design in accordance with that development approval including the type of construction and the materials to be used. 

Some developments do not require Council approval and can be completed without a construction certificate. For more details of exempt development please see the Exempt & Complying Development section of Council's website.

Development approval can only be granted by Council, whereas a construction certificate can be issued by Council or any other registered certifying authority. As part of the construction certificate, mandatory inspections must be carried out as specified by the certifying authority.

The certifying process has been established to ensure that works and/or activities comply with the relevant technical standards such as the Building Code of Australia, other Australian Standards as well as the conditions imposed by Council for development approval.

An alternative path for development is through complying development. Complying development combines the development approval and construction certificate into one application, and can be issued by either Council or a private certifying authority. Complying developments can be applied for where proposals meet a set of predetermined conditions, outside areas declared as environmentally sensitive by Council. For more information on complying developments see the Exempt & Complying Development section of Council's website.

There are 3 main steps in the certification process.

Step 1 – Obtain a Construction/Complying Development Certificate

No building work can occur before a construction certificate or complying development certificate has been issued. A construction certificate can not be issued unless development approval has been granted and is currently valid.

A construction certificate or complying development certificate can be issued by either Council or a private certifying authority.

The plans and specifications submitted with a construction certificate or complying development certificate must contain sufficient detail to ensure that works comply with the relevant Australian Standards and are consistent with the terms of the development approval.

Step 2 – Nominate a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)

Once a construction certificate or complying development certificate has been issued you must notify Council of your choice of principal certifying authority.

The role of the principal certifying authority is to ensure that development is carried out in accordance with the submitted specifications and plans, and also with the conditions listed in the development approval or complying development certificate. The principal certifying authority certifies that the construction has been built in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and other relevant Australian Standards. The principal certifying authority must inspect the works at predetermined stages to ensure compliance with relevant standards/requirements. Failure to have these stage inspections may result in refusal to allow occupation of the building.

The principal certifying authority, whether Council or a private certifier, will provide details of the stages which must be inspected when the construction certificate or complying development certificate is issued.

Once chosen, the principal certifying authority must remain the same throughout the construction process.

Step 3 – Obtain an Occupation Certificate

An occupation certificate must be obtained before being allowed to occupy a building. For an occupation certificate to be issued, all mandatory inspection must have been carried out, including final inspections. The completed works must be in accordance with the conditions of the development approval, otherwise the occupation certificate may be delayed.

Preparing/Lodging a Development Application

The Approval Process

Forms and Certificates