How does the Development Application process work?

Before you can approve your Development Application (DA), you must understand what constitutes a ‘development’.

16 August, 2022
How does the Development Application process work?

Before you can begin your Development Application (DA), you must understand what constitutes a ‘development’.

A Development Application refers to the development, construction, extension, alteration or substantial upgrading of any new or existing building. This usually involves changing the footprint of a building (internal or external) from its existing condition to a more usable state.

What is a Development Approval?

A DA is a formal application for development that requires consent under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). This application is generally submitted to your local council and consists of standard application forms, to scale architectural plans, owners consent form and technical reports.

What needs developmental approval?

Developments are generally divided into two sections, each with its own set of rules; one set deals with residential buildings and one with commercial. A DA is generally required for the following types of developments:


  • Alterations and addition to existing dwellings (less than 3 storeys)
  • Single new dwellings (less than 3 storeys)
  • Dual occupancy dwellings
  • Granny flats
  • Garages and carports
  • Ancillary outbuildings (swimming pools and garden sheds)
  • Townhouses

Developments that include a block of units, apartments or villas require a ‘multiple dwelling’ DA to be submitted.


  • Commercial office fit-outs
  • Commercial shop front renovations
  • Signage and advertising structures
  • If building work is required for the opening of a small bar, pub, club, cafe, restaurant or takeaway shop
  • The removal or pruning of trees above 5m in height, a canopy spread over 5m or trunk diameter of more than 300mmm, at ground level.
  • Child Care Centres

Building Developments often require plumbing, a stormwater system or a sewage disposal system.

DA Approvals can be a time consuming and difficult task, our in-house personnel and resources ensure a rapid and effortless start to finish. We have the expertise and experience to handle residential and commercial DA processes effectively and efficiently.

ES Design stands for DA solutions: Why choose us?

With over 25 years of experience, ES Design can help you maximise the chances of your Development Application succeeding with our streamlined process and team of experts.

Tailored DesignOpen and Ongoing CommunicationMaximised Development Potential
Our in-house personnel and resources take the time to understand your vision and overcome any limitations to the build.We are 100% transparent to ensure no surprises and that you are kept informed on progress.Our designs are set up for approval and a prompt start to finish—all to capitalise on the development’s potential.

ES Design works with the council and all relevant certifiers to create a design that aligns directly with your specifications and all planning requirements for a smoother DA process. Applying our vast industry knowledge and network, we use a collaborative approach to overcome time restraints and provide a unique solution to your project.

Our award-winning comprehensive approach has positioned us as trusted leaders in the industry, dedicated to ensuring all questions are addressed throughout the process.

How does the Development Application process work with ES Design?

  1. Confirmation and acceptance: We agree upon a defined scope of work after an initial consultation with our design experts. Once you’re happy, you accept our proposal, and we begin design services.
  2. Initial design approval: For review and approval, floor plans and front elevations are issued to you; the perfect opportunity to provide feedback or address any concerns.
  3. Final stage design: The remaining architectural plans are issued for final review and approval.
  4. Pre-submission: A completed design package is submitted to the relevant certifying authority for review and determination.

Our expert service doesn’t end here. We also act as the applicant on behalf to your relevant local government authorities to ensure the process continues as effectively as possible.

We’re happy to answer questions your council may have regarding your development or the application itself, and we will assist in helping the process move along without hindrance.

Our lines of communication are always open

We are a dedicated and transparent team of industry professionals that are always available to answer your questions.

Head to to learn more or call 0460 000 000 to speak to one of our experts for advice, information or to book an appointment.

Your source of design information.

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