Your step-by-step guide to the DA process

A small model of wooden stairs.

Are you thinking about building a new house, making some renovations, or changing the use of your land? Maybe you're considering subdividing your property or developing a new commercial venture? Whatever your plans may be, you'll need to get development consent from Council before starting any work.

Don't worry, we know the DA process can be confusing and overwhelming. That's why we're here to guide you through the steps and make sure you have all the necessary approvals in place before you break ground.

Just remember, your DA and any ancillary approvals, like a construction certificate, must be approved before any work can commence onsite. And if you need approval for works that affect public roads or footpaths, such as a new driveway, you can apply concurrently with your residential building works.

For more information on the DA process, visit the NSW Department of Planning & Environment website. And if you're ready to get started, head over to our Electronic Lodgement Portal to apply for your commercial or industrial Section 138 and Section 68 approvals.

Do I need a DA?

Are you planning on making some changes to your property? Maybe you're considering adding a pool or fence, or perhaps you have bigger plans like building a new home or renovating an existing one. Whatever your goals may be, it's important to know that most forms of development require approval from your local Council, otherwise known as development consent.

But don't worry, not all development needs to go through the full approval process. If your proposed changes are minor, you may be able to get an exemption or comply with specific codes set out in State Environmental Planning Policies. Check out the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 to see if your project qualifies.

And if your development is minor, like adding a pool or fence, you can refer to our handy guide for minor residential DAs to get all the information you need to submit your application.

Pre-lodgement advice

For larger DAs, in order to get a speedy resolution for your development application and assist in avoiding delays, unnecessary financial loss and even refusal of your DA, a pre-lodgement meeting can help.     

This gives you the chance to talk face-to-face about your proposal and clarify what Council expectations are for the lodgement of your DA. 

Existing land use rights

Are you a landowner or business operator who's feeling the impact of LEP land zoning changes? There's a chance you can still continue your operations under your existing land use rights.

We know zoning changes can be confusing and overwhelming, but our fact sheet(PDF, 321KB) is here to help. Take a look and see if you qualify to keep doing what you're doing, despite the changes to the land zoning.

Planning controls

Are you planning a new development project in Lismore? Council has got you covered with their comprehensive plans, policies and strategies for guiding future development in the area.

You need to make sure your project complies with all the planning controls. It's important to address these controls in your Statement of Environmental Effects to make sure your project meets all the requirements.

And that's not all. Depending on the scope of your project, you may also need to comply with State Government requirements like the NSW Government's Building Sustainability Index (BASIX). This means your project needs to meet certain energy and water efficiency standards to be approved.

So, if you want to make sure your development project in Lismore is on the right track, be sure to comply with all planning controls and meet the State Government requirements.

Local Environment and Development Plans

Lodging a DA

Ready to take the next step in your development project? Well, the first thing you need to know is that all development applications and certificates must be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.

But we understand that lodging a DA can be a bit of a headache, and you might need some expert help to get everything in order. That's where a planning consultant comes in! They can help you prepare all the necessary documents and even advise you on whether you need other professionals, like a heritage architect or a traffic engineer, to make your project a success.

And if you're not sure where to find a planning consultant, don't worry! Council can't recommend anyone in particular, but a quick Google search for "planning consultants" in your area should give you a good starting point.

Plans and documents

To apply for dual occupancies, units, commercial or industrial proposals, complete a Development Application on the NSW Planning Portal.

For Class 1 and 10 buildings such as residential dwellings, swimming pools, garages, and shed, complete a Development Application and Construction Certificate application on the NSW Planning Portal.

An Owner’s Consent Form(PDF, 253KB) is also required, which should be uploaded to the NSW Planning Portal along with your plans/documentation.

If your proposal involves multiple types of development, submit both sets of planning documents with your application.

Applications for dwelling alterations and additions on property with an Onsite Sewage Management System (i.e. swimming  pools, sheds and decks)

Applications seeking approval to undertake alterations and/or additions to their property (decks, pools, sheds etc) that is serviced by an onsite sewage management system (OSSM) (i.e. septic tank) and do not increase the wastewater load on  the OSSM must be supported by a detailed site plan. Please submit this information requested in the Fact Sheet with your Development Application.

OSSM Site plans for swimming pools, sheds and decks fact sheet(PDF, 411KB) 

All applications must be submitted on the NSW Planning Portal, register for an account to start.

Development Application Guide(PDF, 1MB)

Public exhibition

Some DAs need to be placed on public exhibition, giving the community a chance to have their say. This can include newspaper ads, on-site signs, or letters to nearby owners.

Don't worry, you won't be alone in this process. Council has a Community Participation Plan (Appendix 1)(PDF, 8MB) that outlines how DAs are notified and advertised. Plus, all DAs and related documentation are made available on DA Tracking for anyone to view.

Construction certificates

Once you have your development consent, check your conditions of consent and if there is a requirement for a Construction Certificate. An application for a Construction Certificate can be made with either Council through the NSW Planning Portal or a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). See our Principal Certifying Authority page for more.

Principal Certifying Authority

Appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). This must be done at least two days prior to any work commencing.

To appoint a PCA you will need to complete an application on the NSW Planning Portal website. If you haven’t already done so you will need to register for a planning portal account to start this process.

See our Principal Certifying Authority page for more.