All you need to know about DA approval in Sydney

If you are planning on building or renovating a property in Sydney NSW, then you will need to obtain DA approval from your local Council.

24 January, 2023
All you need to know about DA approval in Sydney

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If you are planning on building or renovating a property in Sydney NSW, then you will need to obtain Development Application (DA) approval from your local Council. This process can sometimes be daunting and confusing, so it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into. ES Design goes over everything you need to know about DA approval in Sydney, NSW and this is why you should trust us with the process.


The first step is to research the requirements for DA approval in the Council area you are applying for. Each Council has rules and regulations that must be followed when submitting a DA application. We are familiar with any relevant plans or policies that may affect your proposed development, such as Local Environment Plans (LEPs), Development Control Plans (DCPs) or Council Codes of Practice. Our unprecedented expertise can handle this stage effectively. We know the industry and expectations and can save you the time and hassle. We can also determine whether your property is located within a heritage conservation area or other particular zoning areas like bushfire-prone and flood-prone land, which might restrict the type of development that can occur there, ultimately avoiding delays.

Applying for a DA 

Once you have gathered all the information and documentation required for your application, it is time to submit your application form to the Council. Along with the form, you will need to include supporting documents such as maps of the site, plans and drawings of the proposed development and environmental impact assessments if necessary. The application fee will vary depending on the size and complexity of your project and can range from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars. The fees will be outlined on your application form so make sure you are aware of these prior to submitting your application. Once submitted, processing times can vary depending on how complex your project is; however most applications should take around 8 weeks from lodgement until decision (although this can differ slightly between councils).

Neighbour Notification Process

Notifying your neighbours is an important part of the DA process. During this phase, you must inform the local community of a proposed development by publishing details of the project on the Council’s website and sending out letters to neighbours within a 14-21 day period. During this time, public members can submit objection letters detailing their concerns with the development to council. While neighbourhood notification provides an essential formality for neighbourhood proposals, it also helps promote collaboration between neighbours and keeps everyone informed about changes in their neighbourhood. Therefore, talking to your neighbours about your plans is considered essential to any neighbourhood proposal – big or small – as it can often help avoid unnecessary issues down the track.

After Lodgement – Follow-Up     

After lodging your application with all relevant documents attached, you must follow up with Council regularly throughout processing timeframes (usually every 2-3 weeks). This ensures that any queries raised by Council staff can be answered quickly and accurately without causing unnecessary delays in processing times. Keep in mind that if Council requests an extension due to incomplete documentation or insufficient information provided initially, additional fees may apply, so hiring ES Design can ensure no money or time is wasted.

How long do DA approvals last in NSW 

In New South Wales, Development Application (DA) approvals last for 5 years from the date of issue unless otherwise stated within the relevant conditions. After 5 years have elapsed, a new DA must be lodged in order to continue with the building works. Generally, such DAs are accepted in light of unchanged circumstances at the time and with any updated policy taken into consideration through council reviews. It is important to note that DA Approval does not grant exclusive rights or prevent change of ownership; this would require a separate agreement or contract between Council and land owners.

Avoid the guesswork and contact ES Design 

Obtaining DA approval from Council can be complex, but if done correctly, it can be straightforward if all relevant information is provided upfront upon lodgement. ES Design makes it our mission to ensure that all relevant plans/policies pertaining to your proposed development are obtained, organised and submitted swiftly. We also make it our practice to follow up regularly with council staff throughout the process so any queries can be addressed quickly and efficiently without causing unnecessary delays or incurring extra costs associated with extensions or further information requests from council staff members.

Get in touch with our team today.

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