Your source of design information.

Stay up to date with the latest industry news, including key changes to planning and design regulation. 

28 March, 2022
NSW Government proposes expanding land use to aid in farming recovery

In the wake of recent natural disasters and COVID-19, the NSW Government is committing to a plan that will see the revival of regional NSW.

15 March, 2022
NSW Government to simplify rezoning process following feedback from discussion paper

A new approach to rezonings in NSW is here. Read more from

3 March, 2022
NSW Government to increase BASIX standards

In working towards a net zero target by 2050, NSW Government has proposed an increase to BASIX standards for new residential buildings.

30 April, 2021
Building Ministers’ Meeting establishes new minimum standards for accessible dwellings

Following the Building Ministers’ Meeting (BMM) that took place on 30 April 2021, a consensus to include minimum accessibility provisions in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022, was reached.

21 March, 2021
Clause 4.6 of the Standard Instrument LEP currently in review

Following a recent Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Inquiry (Operation Dasha), the NSW planning department is exhibiting an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) that seeks to gather public feedback on new measures to improve the planning system.

2 September, 2020
Draft Local Environmental Plan now on exhibition for the City of Parramatta Council

The City of Parramatta Council has proposed a new Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to consolidate and replace the existing five planning controls that provide the legal guidelines for development and land use.

31 August, 2021
Changes to Home Building Act now in effect

The Home Building Act 1989 regulates the residential building industry and certain specialist work in New South Wales. It addresses any residential works carried out by contractors and tradespersons, including construction of a new home and renovations or alterations to an existing home or structure.

24 August, 2020
New Housing Diversity SEPP to hinder build-to-rent and seniors housing developments

A new Housing Diversity State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing Diversity SEPP) is likely to have an adverse effect on private developers.

1 July, 2020
Low Rise Housing Diversity Code now operating in all NSW local government areas

The introduction of the (formerly) Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code in July 2018 aimed to provide more liveable and affordable housing arrangements for growing families and empty nesters within existing neighbourhoods and streetscapes.

22 July, 2020
Update on developer contributions

For new developments that require local infrastructure and services, Council may collect a developer/local infrastructure contribution to help fund the provision.

22 July, 2020
NCC 2019 Amendment 1 has taken effect!

While the new process for documenting Performance Solutions is not yet mandatory, practitioners are encouraged to exercise the steps outlined in A2.2(4) from now. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has put together a guide to assist in this transition.

10 June, 2020
The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (NSW)

In a bid to boost community confidence, the NSW Government has introduced a new legislation that aims to tackle ongoing issues with the building of residential apartments. 

15 May, 2020
Changes to what is deemed “physical commencement”

While many recent changes to legislation in the construction and land development industries have sought to improve the economic effects of COVID-19, a significant amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (NSW) (EPA Reg) has seen the barrier to ‘physical commencement’ heightened. 

15 May, 2020
COVID-19 buys time on DA process

Developers and landowners can breathe a sigh of relief as NSW Parliament introduces new amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EPA Act) that aim to alleviate time pressures in the construction industry.

1 November, 2020
Alternative assessment introduced for large boarding houses

Since being introduced in 2004, the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) requirements have set the ground rules for thermal comfort performance and water and energy usage within residential dwellings.

1 November, 2019
General Housing Code changes

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on a new simplified Housing Code which sets out clear and simple planning rules for works that can be carried out under complying development.

2 October, 2019
Guide to building tolerances is released

NSW Fair Trading released a new guide to assist home owners and contractors if building work is in dispute.

31 March, 2017
BASIX energy targets to change

The NSW Government has announced that the BASIX energy targets will be increased across the State in July 2017.

16 June, 2017
New simplified housing code

The General Housing Code is replaced with a new simplified Housing Code which sets out clear planning rules for complying development including one and two storey homes, renovations and extensions.

9 August, 2017
IHAPS to be introduced for all Sydney Councils

Experienced planning professionals will lead the panels, which will assess DAs that are sensitive in nature, or where there is a conflict of interest for council or developers.

3 October, 2018
NSW Combustible Cladding Regulation

In light of recent tragedies including Grenfell Tower in London and Lacrosse Building in Melbourne, the NSW Government will soon implement new laws for buildings with combustible cladding.

5 October, 2019
The introduction of the Options Paper – ‘Improving Certifier Independence’

The NSW Government is making improvements to reinforce the building and certification system and up until 30th October 2018, you can have your say.

1 May, 2019
NCC 2019 has taken effect!

The National Construction Code (NCC) is an all-encompassing set of on-site construction requirements put together by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

17 September, 2019
The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code has been deferred

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code has been deferred to allow for an independent review.

30 August, 2019
Changes to Certifiers’ compliance powers and new provisions for CC’s and OC’s

The Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 is a legislation that provides the framework for the use of land in New South Wales.

17 November, 2021
The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (MDHC) has been deferred again

The introduction of the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code in July 2018 aimed to provide more liveable and affordable housing arrangements for growing families and empty nesters within existing neighbourhoods and streetscapes. It has currently been implemented across 82 council areas in NSW and there are plans for the remaining 45 to adopt …

20 September, 2019
Canterbury LEP changes to Boarding Houses

Canterbury LEP 2012 has just been amended (Amendment No 16). Clause 4.1C has been added to the LEP requiring minimum lot sizes and lot widths for Boarding Houses in its Residential Zones.

17 November, 2021
Draft Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019

In line with NSW Government’s plan to deliver a final Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 by the end of the year, a draft will be open for public feedback until 16 October 2019. The Bill comes as a response to the April 2018 Building Confidence Report compiled by Professor Peter Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir. It …

2 July, 2015
Positive changes to Home Building Compensation Fund

Currently, builders and tradies insured under the Home Building Compensation Fund (previously known as Home Owners Warranty) are subject to a capped amount of insurance they can purchase each year, restricting the number of projects that can be taken on.

11 March, 2016
Introduction of the Inland Housing Code for Complying Development

A Review of Complying Development for Inland NSW’ sets out proposed changes to the State Environment Planning (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 will apply to all residential complying development for 83 local government areas west of the Great Dividing Range.

30 November, 2015
Complying development for dual occupancies and townhouses

The Department of Planning and Environment (the Department) is examining opportunities to provide
greater housing choice and better design for medium density housing across NSW.

29 July, 2014
New online planning tools

The department of planning has launched a suite of new online tools to help modernise the planning system in NSW and make it easier for people to access planning information.

15 May, 2014
BCA 2015

The Australian Building Ministers’ Forum agreed in principle to make the 2015 National Construction Code (NCC) and future editions freely available online, significantly contributing to reducing the burden of building regulation.

29 April, 2013
Swimming Pools are now required to be registered

Swimming pool owners have until the 29th of October 2013 to register their swimming pool, or a minimum fine of $220 (maximum $2,200) may be imposed.

14 July, 2012
NSW Government releases green paper

A review of the NSW planning system has taken place. This has resulted in a new planning system for NSW.

27 June, 2011
BASIX Certificates are no longer free

The proposed changes to charge for BASIX Certificates put forward in November, 2010 to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000, will come into effect 1st July, 2011.

20 May, 2011
SEPP (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 Amendment 2011

State Government in an aim to clear up grey areas and combat misuse of SEPP (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 have enforced the following changes

building development approval
Your source of design inspiration.

We share design tips, tricks, and trends, as well as expert advice and inspiration from across the globe.

10 May, 2023
Thinking of Building a House? Read This Before Doing Anything

Approval for building construction is serious business. Builders must only start building works after knowing all the approval requirements in NSW. As with everything relative to construction and building design, taking the proper steps to ensure your house is compliant and safe is essential. If not done correctly, it can be a very costly exercise. …

20 April, 2023
Navigating Building Development Approvals in Sydney: What You Need to Know

If you’re about to embark on a renovation project or thinking of building a new home, you must be aware of any development approvals you need to submit before you start. Most minor developments won’t need development approval in Sydney. For example, if you are adding a deck or a carport to your home that …

4 April, 2023
Double the Delight: Exploring the Advantages of Dual Occupancy Home Designs for Homeowners and Investors

This popular type of design offers a range of advantages including increased privacy and independence for families, flexibility in terms of use, and potential financial gains. Here ES Design looks at how convenient dual occupancy can be for both your family and your finances.

20 March, 2023
A comprehensive guide to NSW Complying Development for Builders and Homeowners

In NSW, most minor developments won’t need approval. For example, if you are adding a deck or a carport to your home that is no greater than 25 square metres, there is no need to get council approval. However, if your renovation or build is a little larger but still straightforward, you will be required …

9 March, 2023
Make The Design Approval Process Easier & More Efficient with ES Design

If you are building a new home or doing a major renovation, building development approvals are essential to any construction in NSW. Planning regulations constantly evolve, so it’s always best to research and know precisely what to do before starting any planning or construction work. When you know what you are dealing with, there are …

21 February, 2023
Stay on the right side of the law: Seeking retrospective council approval with ES Design

Retrospective council approval for building works can be a long and complicated process. However, working with a professional building designer can avoid the need for retrospective approval altogether. What is retrospective council approval, and why do you need it? Before starting your building works, including dual occupancies, it is essential to ensure that your building …

2 February, 2023
A Quick Overview of Exempt vs Complying Developments in NSW

NSW planning regulations are constantly evolving. Understanding them is essential if you want to begin work on your dream home within the state.

24 January, 2023
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.

10 January, 2023
Why two is better than one: the benefits of dual occupancy homes in Sydney

Dual occupancy homes offer a unique opportunity to own or rent two separate dwellings on the same block of land. This type of development is becoming increasingly popular in Sydney due to its multiple benefits for owners, renters and builders alike. Explore why two is better than one for your upcoming home design.

20 December, 2022
How to avoid costly mistakes when building a new home or investment

Are you starting on the home building journey? There are many things to consider before you start. Failing to do so can end up being a costly mistake.

8 December, 2022
Why dual occupancy homes are today’s popular trend

As cities become denser, and housing becomes more costly, dual occupancy has become an increasingly popular option for both homeowners and investors.

24 November, 2022
What you need to know about dual occupancy when it comes to selling

Your dual occupancy home may be perfect for now, but what if things change and you need to sell? Here are some important tips to note.

14 November, 2022
How residential building designers play an important role in compliance

When it comes to compliance in your building project, residential property designers play an important role. Here’s what you need to know.

27 October, 2022
How much does a Complying Development Certificate cost?

A complying development certificate is a smart way to fast-track the approval and construction of your project. How much does a CDC cost?

27 October, 2022
Do my neighbours need to be notified of a Complying Development?

Are you building or renovating a property under CDC? Here’s everything you need to know about notifying your neighbours in NSW.

27 September, 2022
A simple guide to Development Applications for Sydneysiders

You may have to submit a DA if you’re building or renovating your home. Here’s what you need to know to make the process easier.

13 September, 2022
Streamlining the approval of a Dual Occupancy development

Want to maximise your return on investment? Find out how you could streamline the approval of your next dual occupancy development with us.

23 August, 2022
Post-pandemic trends: How residential design is changing

Covid impacted residential building trends. Residential design had to evolve & suit changing needs. Know what’s to come. Follow ES Design.

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

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

22 July, 2022
What you need to know about Complying Development Certificates

At ES Design, our priority is to ensure that the process of building is a smooth, hassle-free and pleasant experience. In saying this, a few hurdles may arise when participating in a new build, depending on the land or property where construction is set to take place. One of these main hurdles is concerning approvals.  …

20 July, 2022
4 simple design tips to maximise your space

Looking for a way to maximise your space through interior design? Here are our top 4 tips from ES Design for residential design.

23 June, 2022
Dual occupancy homes can make dollars and sense

Whether you’re looking for financial security or a place for family to call home, dual occupancy home designs open more doors.

10 June, 2022
How to push against the status quo when it comes to your residential house design

Owning and designing a home is a big deal, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed. While it can give you creative freedom, it is better left in the hands of ES Design.

23 May, 2022
Sydney homes: Where unexpected design steals the show

“The city’s dream home has changed in a year. It’s now all about statements in bold, head turning architecture.” Adam Devine, Real Estate Editor—The Daily Telegraph This year’s most popular properties are not based solely on location, harbour views or size, but are based on “risky” designs. Across Sydney suburbs, architects and builders alike are …

19 May, 2022
What’s trending? Modern residential design inspiration for stylish Sydney homes

We’ve put together our pick of the top 5 modern residential designs for the perfect Sydney home.

30 April, 2022
A Guide to Luxury Design

Luxury interior design doesn’t have to mean high costs – it all comes down to the finer details, and embracing your individual style.

1 April, 2022
Dual occupancy homes vs townhouses: what is the right choice for you?

When it comes to designing a home, it is likely you’ve considered the differences between dual occupancy and townhouse options. Here at ES Design, we’re advocates of both, seeing as each has their own benefits depending on various factors, from council requirements to making the best use of the land. The truth is, both developments …

1 November, 2021
Everything you need to know about a Construction Certificate

In our articles, we’ve touched on two extremely important and necessary elements for your development – the Complying Development Certificate and Development Approval. However, we haven’t explored another integral piece of documentation needed to begin construction, the Construction Certificate (CC). In this article, we’ll expand on everything you need to know about the CC, including …

13 October, 2021
Forever home vs. investment property: how to choose between different types of residential developments

When deciding on the design for the upcoming construction of your property, you will have to determine the type of development that you want. Within residential developments, several types of design can impact the functionality and comfort of your home. Considering your needs, future goals and your family’s lifestyle is important when designing your home …

22 September, 2021
How long do my Construction Certificate, Complying Development Certificate and Developing Application approvals last?

How long do Construction Certificate (CC), Complying Development Certificate (CDC) and Developing Application (DA) approvals last? This is a question that is integral to the construction timeframe of any type of project. It’s well-known that construction on projects that require approvals cannot begin until approval has been granted. However, approvals also have a time limit. …

14 September, 2021
4 tips for a stunning home from luxury Australian designers and architects

As designers, we’re well aware of how difficult designing a home can be. There are many factors to take into account and a lot of conceptualisation behind designing the perfect home. For luxury homes, professional designers and architects at ES design often recommend that homeowners practise restraint as it can be incredibly easy to go …

14 September, 2021
Should you build a dual occupancy or a granny flat?

When designing a home for investment, there are two popular options that people have in mind: a dual occupancy home and a granny flat. Naturally, our clients ask themselves and us, “Should I build a dual occupancy home or a granny flat?” While we usually attempt to answer as straightforwardly as possible, like our responses …

25 August, 2021
Why does your dual occupancy home project need a Complying Development Certificate?

Most construction projects in Australia require some form of development approval, whether it be a Complying Development Certificate, construction certificate or development consent. Very rarely would a project be considered as an exempt development and not require any form of approval. These varying approval requirements are based on the development’s impact on the environment and …

22 July, 2021
Construction in Sydney: does every project need building development approval?

Building development approvals are an essential part of any type of construction in Sydney. However, newcomers to the industry as well as first time home builders are unaware of who requires building development approvals in addition to what building development approvals constitute. It’s expected that those unfamiliar with our industry are none the wiser, however, …

16 July, 2021
What are the advantages of a manor style home?

When people build homes, they build for a purpose. That purpose may be for investment, comfort or design versatility. Regardless of what their purpose is, different houses can achieve different goals which is why the design of your home is crucial for achieving what you want. Some home designs are self-explanatory, such as a single …

8 July, 2021
4 additions for your townhouse floor plan to make it seem larger

Townhouses can be small spaces that have a lot of potential. A townhouse is a multi-floor home that shares one wall with another property, essentially making it half the size of a single family home in some cases. Though townhouses have this decreased space, our ES Design team can cleverly develop your floor plan to …

28 June, 2021
How do you make the design of your dual occupancy home attractive to renters?

Dual occupancy homes are excellent properties to invest in, whether you are purchasing or building. If you are building, then you are at an advantage because you can customise your property according to your intention. With dual occupancy homes, the design potential is huge and can repay your investment in our services by producing impressive …

21 May, 2021
Building designers: 5 reasons to convince you they’re worth the hire

Hiring a building designer is a novel idea to many homeowners, however, designers like those hired at ES Design, have a wealth of knowledge about residential architecture and interior design for homes in Sydney. Building your new home is a massive construction project that requires more than just a little conceptualisation and financing. Whether you’re …

4 May, 2021
What does a designer consider when planning your luxury home?

Luxury homes are sights to behold. Impeccable craftsmanship and thoughtful designs are just some of the elements that make luxury homes visually appealing and a joy to live in. Developing an effective luxury home requires restraint from the designer. At ES Design, we understand why clients want as much as possible from their luxury home …

8 April, 2021
Designing a home in a post-COVID era: How architect firms and draftsmen Sydney are responding to the “new normal”

In 2021, we’re seeing a great shift in home design trends that have forced architect firms in Sydney, as well as draftsmen, to reconsider their approach. According to, the top five features in new homes and renovations which are of greater importance now include allowing for more natural lighting; larger living spaces; greater outdoor …

19 March, 2021
How to find the right duplex designer and architect for your new home

When it comes to a home’s functionality and aesthetic, a large portion of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the designers and architects on the project. A duplex house contains two residences, either on top of each like apartments or next to each other like townhouses. This unique layout makes the design and architecture …

8 March, 2021
Luxury homes in Sydney: 5 features architects target for luxury living

Luxury homes in Sydney are sights to behold. They have impressive designs and are finished with high-end materials that make it immensely impressive. Luxury homes differ from country to country because architects realise the needs, wants and climates of their communities and design luxury homes according to their clients and their surroundings. While you may …

23 February, 2021
5 tips for designing a dual occupancy home

Dual occupancy designs are two homes on one block of land. While it may be perplexing to some, dual occupancy designs are becoming increasingly popular among investors and young couples who view it as a cost-efficient method of owning a home while also earning income (through the rental of one home). The main advantage of …

27 January, 2021
How to achieve a cost-effective building design

Everyone wants to achieve a cost-effective building design, but not every client understands what this entails or means. Having a small budget or reducing the cost of construction as much as possible is not the only way to be cost-effective with your building design. Instead of just maintaining low-costs throughout the building design, a comprehensive …

5 January, 2021
Luxury home designers name 5 must-have features

Designing and building a luxury home is exciting but complex. A luxury home design is full of potential, but what makes a residential property’s design luxurious? Luxury home design may not be what you think. It doesn’t just involve gaudy furnishings or extravagant architecture, although they may be included as well. Instead, luxury home designers …

22 December, 2020
How to plan your home’s layout effectively with a professional

The way you design your home’s floor plan and layout affect your home’s potential, in a number of ways. It is an essential part of the building process and is one of the key features you must consider for your home to be accommodating to your lifestyle and suitable to your family. Because building a …

15 December, 2020
What is complying development? A comprehensive guide

Complying development approval is needed for a number of different residential, commercial and industrial projects and is necessary to begin construction. Read more below.

3 December, 2020
10 vital reasons to obtain an Occupation Certificate before moving into or using a new building

An Occupation Certificate is a mandatory part of the DA and CDC approval processes. It should be sought to ensure the health and safety of a building and its occupants, but beyond that, there are many other legal and financial reasons to obtain an Occupation Certificate before moving into or using a new building. What …

22 November, 2020
What is a design team’s step-by-step process?

To receive your home or building design plan, our design team goes through a design process that allows them to present a comprehensive design plan that is functional, includes all of your requirements and is compliant with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), Australian Standards and Building Fire Safety regulations. Our design process also allows …

9 November, 2020
6 budget-friendly building design and renovation tips

Designing, building and renovating your home is no easy task. It can be exhausting, overwhelming and put pressure on your pocket. For developers, a tight budget is usually the most difficult constraint to overcome. However, in a world of new and innovative materials, finishes and furnishings for the construction and building industry, the possibilities have …

22 October, 2020
Manor house designs: everything you need to know

If you’re planning to construct or renovate a manor house, we expect that you’re probably a bit confused about the process of its construction. Manor houses are regal, beautiful and a coveted mix of country and city, making it the envy of any homeowner. However, in Australia, manor homes remain a mystery, with many Aussies …

12 October, 2020
Why you should invest in the design of your dual occupancy home

If you’ve made the exciting decision to construct a dual occupancy home, then you most definitely will want to ensure that the large investment you are about to make pays off. But, just how do you guarantee that your dual occupancy home will be designed and constructed in both aesthetically pleasing and valuable ways? You …

22 September, 2020
5 trends to incorporate in your luxury home design

Luxury home designs usually require careful attention and planning in both its design, construction and fit-out. When it comes to luxury, restraint with colours, accessories and textures is usually thrown out the window to exude a lavish and rich aesthetic. While 2020 is no different with its flexible and individualistic trends, they seemed to have …

11 September, 2020
What can you expect from ES Design’s residential design service consultation?

A residential design service consultation is a great way to explore your options and discover what you need from your future property. At ES Design, we aim to help you find what you need and want so that you can start building faster. Part of beginning the residential design process is filtering through trends, needs, …

27 August, 2020
Property construction and renovation: your guide to development approval

Building or renovating a new home or your commercial business can be thrilling, however, getting the approval to develop can be overwhelming. If you are interested in renovating or constructing your property, whether commercial or residential, you will have to acquire a building development approval. To receive development approval, there are three standard methods in …

10 August, 2020
What is the online process of acquiring a complying development certificate?

A complying development certificate (CDC) is issued for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial developments. Of course, ‘straight forward’ is determined via several factors, but generally they are less complex buildings than those that require development approval. A CDC can be approved more quickly than a Development Application (DA)  but is used for buildings or constructions larger than exempt development. …

6 December, 2018
Making the most of your space through clever architecture

Examples of multiple dwellings include dual occupancies, townhouses, villas and any secondary dwellings on one block of land, such as granny flats. In higher density areas, multiple dwellings boast abundant opportunities for living and investment. Through clever architecture, properties on one piece of land can be maximised, ensuring areas are used to their full potential. …

6 November, 2018
Architectural drafting services: What is the difference between an architect and a draftsman?

The scope of work of a draftsman and an architect can overlap in many ways. Architectural draftsmen produce drawings for construction developments. These can range from brand new homes to alterations and additions of existing homes, and even extend to commercial and industrial developments. A draftsman is responsible for preparing technical drawings as well as …

5 October, 2018
Architectural design trends

Designing your dream home is a thrilling, yet overwhelming experience. Besides the aesthetic features, it is important to consider elements that will contribute to the timelessness of your home. Dream homes are built for the long-term, so it is important that you work with architectural designers to consider long-standing, but appealing trends. Top 5 trends …