Understanding the development process

Council supports well designed and suitable developments and not all projects require a Development Application (DA). To help you decide if you need to submit a DA or can build using other avenues, you need to consider the planning rules for where you live and what you want to build there.

Generally, there are three levels of local development: Exempt, Complying or Development Requiring Consent.

Exempt Development (no approval required)

Exempt Development is minor development which result in a minor impact on the environment (e.g. fencing, small shed or low height landscape wall). Most properties are eligible but those parcels with constraints such as flood hazard or bushfire hazard or other restrictions will not qualify.

Subject to satisfying pre-specified standards, there is no need for planning or construction approval to be obtained for exempt development. Visit the Department of Planning and Environment page to see if your project is exempt development.

Any development and/or works being done as exempt development that may involve the disturbance and/or removal of asbestos materials is to be done in accordance with the provisions of Safework NSW guidelines and to Australian Standard AS 2601 - 2001, Demolition of structures.

Complying Development (strict requirements, 10 day approval process)

Complying Development is development that is considered to have a minor environmental impact on neighbourhood amenity which can be addressed by predetermined development standards. Types of complying development include internal alterations to a house, a new single dwelling and a below ground swimming pool.

If your project is not considered exempt or able to be built using Complying Development standards, search Council's planning rules for your property to see if it is permitted with consent. If this is the case you will need to lodge a Development Application.

Complying Development Certificates

A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is approval appropriate for many types of minor or routine development which have not been specifically declared as exempt under the provisions of:
•    State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021

Complying development is completed under a separate process to a development consent and construction certificate.

A property’s zoning will determine which code to use. Some properties are restricted from doing complying development due to certain attributes, such as high level bushfire prone areas, acid sulfate soils or particular environmentally sensitive zones. For more information in regards to the attributes of your property, contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on 1300 463 954. Alternatively, refer to the mapping constraints.

A Principal Certifier (PC) will need to be appointed to monitor the works during construction. Council, or a private accredited certifier, can grant a CDC (and act for you in this regard).

Information you will need to submit:

  • an explanation of the work proposed
  • plans detailing the project (including a site plan, elevations, floor plans, parking arrangements, loading facilities, ground levels to be modified and drainage information)
  • specifications for the work proposed
  • demolition plan (where necessary), and
  • existing and proposed fire safety measures (for the change of use of a commercial building)

A complying development certificate can only be issued if:

•    the proposed development fully complies with the specific requirements and criteria, and

•    complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979

More information:

The Building Professionals Board has information about consumers’ rights and responsibilities when building or subdividing land, as well as the important role of the Principal Certifier.

Development Requiring Consent

What is a Development Application (DA)

A Development Application (DA) is a formal request for planning permission to carry out proposed development. 

When is a DA required?

Council’s Planning Instruments and State Environmental Planning Policies identify whether a DA is required and categorises the development as: requiring consent, not requiring consent, or prohibited development.

DA’s must address key Central Coast Council planning instruments: 

  • Central Coast Local Environmental Plan 2022 
  • Central Coast Development Control Plan 2022

Development that may require consent includes:

  • construction of new buildings or structures such as dwellings, swimming pools, outbuildings, retaining walls over 600 millimetres high (including batters), jetties etc
  • additions or alterations to an existing building, structure or heritage item
  • display of an advertising sign
  • changes to the use of an existing building or land (i.e. establishment of use)
  • carry out excavation, earthworks or adding fill (must be related to a permitted land use)
  • demolition of a building, structure or heritage item
  • granny flats or Secondary dwellings (for more information see our Granny flats page)
  • filling of land
  • subdivisions

Refer to Council’s Development Guidelines to ensure that the development application lodgement process proceeds smoothly. All development applications must be submitted to Council via the NSW Planning Portal. For more information, please refer to online submission of an application using the NSW Planning Portal.

A Development Application must consist of at least:

  • the consent of all registered land owner(s)
  • copies of site plans indicating location of the proposed development on the land
  • copies of plans and/or drawings of the proposed development indicating elevations heights
  • statement of environmental effects (SEE)
  • other supporting documents (if required)
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Checklist (if required).

This checklist is required to demonstrate that the proposal has been designed following consideration of the 'Crime Prevention through Environmental Design' strategies relating to surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement and space management.

What are the different types of Development Applications?

The zoning of the land determines which category (does not require consent, requires consent or prohibited) applies to the development.

Details can be found in the relevant Local Environment Plans.

1.    Local Development
Development that requires a development application (requires consent). Most types of development are categorised as local development. Details can be found in council’s LEP, DCP and other planning documents.

2.    Integrated Development
Development that requires development consent plus approval obtained from public authorities. Refer to section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for a full list of the approvals.

Some examples of integrated development are:

  • within 40 meters of a stream, river, lake or lagoon
  • located in a high bushfire zone
  • located on or connects to Crown Land
  • is within a mine subsidence district
  • located on or near an undisturbed site, dune system or ridgeline

Additional fees apply for integrated development applications.

3.    Designated Development
Local and state significant developments can also be designated development when the proposed development is listed in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation. The list contains large scale, potentially hazardous, noxious and offensive uses, such as chemical works, coal mines and waste management facilities.

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Last updated : Wed 3 Aug 2022