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Complying Development – How to Sidestep the DA

Complying Development

Unless you renovate houses for a living, if you are looking to make alterations to your home, one of the things that might be worrying you is a lack of experience of your Local Council’s Development Application (DA) process.

We’ve all heard horror stories from friends who can’t get their plans through their Council, or they have to make considerable compromises to their original plans because they haven’t anticipated one regulation or another. Sometimes it might be because of an objection from a neighbour.

In NSW, there is a way to avoid the DA process altogether, called a “Complying Development” which has several advantages over the DA.

What Is A Complying Development?

A Complying Development is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward developments.

Complying developments can be for renovations, alterations and additions to a house, amongst other things.

To qualify, your plans must meet specific criteria: the relevant building requirements and development standards for your area, and also those specific to your home’s ‘lot’ – if you obtain Section 10.7 (2) and (5) certificates from your Council, you will see a comprehensive list of the planning matters and constraints affecting your home.

Advantages of A Complying Development?

A Complying Development can be submitted to either your Local Council or to an accredited Private Certifier.

Approval can be fast-tracked, usually within 20 days of submitting the paperwork. This is a considerable saving of time given that on average a DA takes 70 days to approve.

You can also save up to $2,600 in application processing costs for renovations.

Notifying Neighbours

With complying developments, there are two required notifications of your neighbours if your home is in metropolitan Sydney.

Again these requirements are less strenuous than the DA process:

  • Your Certifier or Council must inform neighbours within a 20 metre radius that you have applied for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) 14 days before it can be approved.
  • After the Certificate has been issued, you must notify neighbours within 20 metres from the boundary of your development 7 days before any work commences.

Can A Neighbour Appeal A Complying Development?

Theoretically this is possible, but a neighbour’s opposition to a Complying Development must focus solely on whether the proposal meets your council’s requirements.

A neighbour cannot oppose your application on many of the grounds that would be open to them if it was a Development Application.

How Does Council Check a CDC?

A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) must be issued by the certifying authority prior to building work commencing.

After the building work on your home is finished, your Council or the Private Certifier must check that the work was carried out as per the plans.

All works must be structurally adequate and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

Creating Plans for a Complying Development

Using a home designer or architect experienced in ensuring your alterations stay within the constraints of a Complying Development is vital.

With ‘design and build’ companies, as we explain in our recent blog post on designers vs architects, the plans created will also be used for lodgement to council and construction, which isn’t always the case with plans first drawn up by an architect.

Addbuild, as well as being a ‘design and build’ company, has also developed a range of additions specifically created to take advantage of the Code for Complying Development.

Can’t Apply for a Complying Development?

If your plans are more elaborate, or there are restrictions relating to your home, a Development Application might be unavoidable. The good news is that Addbuild is still able to help you take the pain out of the DA process.

As part of our ‘concept to completion’ services, we can submit, monitor and manage the approval process on your behalf, saving you hours and often cutting days or weeks from the approval time.

We have more than 35 years of experience on the best approaches to this delicate dance with a Local Council.

Next Steps

If you are planning a home addition or extension and are interested in finding out more about how to take advantage of Complying Development, contact the team at Addbuild.

We’re Sydney’s leading builder specialising in designing and building extensions and additions, and have the extensive experience that comes with managing well over 1,500 home projects.

Feel free to contact us by calling (02) 8765 1555 or by using our online form.

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