Development Application Process

Before you can make changes to a building or occupy a premises in the local area you need to check what approvals you may need to obtain first. Outlined below are the steps through the Development Application process.

You may also find the NSW Department of Planning’s guide to the Development Application process valuable.

Step 1: Check whether your land is suitable for the works you wish to carry out

Section 10.7 Planning Certificate identifies the planning controls and affectations relating to your property.

Step 2: Check whether your proposed development is either Exempt or Complying Development

It is recommended that you check to see whether your proposal is exempt from Council approval or you can gain permission to carry out the works through a Complying Development Certificate which can be issued either through Council or an  Accredited Private Certifier.

Any development that is not Exempt or Complying Development requires a Development Application.

Step 3: Determine the planning controls for your property

If you need to lodge a Development Application, you need to determine what controls apply to your proposal, referring to the relevant State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs),  Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2012 and the Waverley Development Control Plan 2022.

Waverley Council offers public access to interactive maps of the Waverley Local Government Area (LGA) which contains the key planning controls in the Local Environmental Plan.

You can make an appointment to speak to a duty planner on the phone, video conference or in-person by clicking here. Alternatively, for simple queries, you can send an email to attentioned to the Planning Counter, detailing your query, property address and contact details.

Step 4: Submit a Pre-DA (optional)

Depending on the type of development proposed, you may choose to submit a Pre-DA (Development Application) to Council which will be reviewed by Council’s Development Assessment staff who will provide advice to help you finalise your proposal for lodgement as a DA.

Formal Pre-DA advice can be of assistance where your proposal is of a significant scale, may be contentious or varies from a SEPP, LEP or DCP control or includes a Planning Agreement. The advice will usually include a meeting with the Development Assessment Officer and relevant Area Manager   (who oversee the geographical area to which your proposal relates) and will include written advice on the proposal. The Duty Planner does not provide Pre-DA advice.

A formal Pre-DA lodgement, with plans and payment of a fee is required for this advice. Contact Council's Customer Service Centre for a fee quote. For further information regarding the process, including the application form, click here.

Step 5: Complete Development Application Form & Checklists

It is important that your Development Application is properly completed and contains all the necessary information. The application will not be accepted if it is incomplete.

Detailed instructions on preparing your Development Application are available here.

Step 6: Lodge your Development Application

Waverley Council can only accept the following applications via the NSW Planning Portal:

  • Development Applications (including S4.55, S4.56 Modification and S8.2 Review applications);
  • Construction Certificate and Occupation Certificate applications;
  • Subdivision Certificate applications;
  • Complying Development Certificate applications;
  • Building Information Certificates.

The fee attached to your Development Application is dependent on the nature of the application, the estimated cost of works and the notification requirements. Other fees also may apply, including the administration/processing fee and the Building Enforcement levy.

Fees are calculated using Council's Schedule and of Fees and Charges. You can contact Council's Customer Service Centre for a fee quote prior lodgement. Fees must be paid upon lodgement or if submitted via the NSW Planning Portal paid within 48 hours of the application being accepted.

Step 7: Development Application assessment

For each DA, Council is required to:

  • assess the application against all the relevant planning controls;
  • consider all the objections and comments made within the community advertising and notification period, and;
  • determine the environmental impacts of the development and whether or not it is in the public interest.

For further information on the assessment process click here.

Council may reject an application within 14 days of receipt if it is found to be illegible, missing key information or its intent is unclear. In this circumstance, Council will refund the application fee.

You can withdraw the proposal at any time prior to Council’s determination of the application (this can be done via the NSW Planning Portal). You can also amend your proposal prior to determination with the agreement of Council. If this is the case, the submission of amended plans may require the payment of additional fees for re-assessment or re-notification purposes.

Council has a Development Application Tracking tool that can be used to track the progress of a particular Development Application that’s lodged, under assessment or recently determined. You can view information submitted with an application and view the final determination (once made). The final determination of an application is published on the Development Application Tracking Tool and NSW Planning Portal.

Step 8: Council determination

You will be notified of Council’s determination (decision) of your application in writing, in the form of a Notice of Determination. The applicant contact person will be emailed and sent a link to download an electronic copy of the Notice of Determination and associated stamped plans/documents from the Development Application Tracking tool.

Once the DA is approved, it is necessary to carefully read the Notice of Determination and conditions of consent, to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements. Some conditions may require you to submit additional documents to Council, post consent (after determination). In those circumstances, documentation should be sent to attentioned to the specific Council Officer (if known). A cover letter detailing the condition you’re addressing, the DA reference number and property address should be included in your email.

If you are dissatisfied with Council’s decision, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 provides several options for you, including:

  • Seek a Review of Determination (under s8.2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979) by Council. The application for review must be lodged and determined within a specific timeframe, so it’s important to lodge your Review of Determination application as soon as possible.
  • Seek a Modification of the approved plans or conditions of consent (under s4.55 or s4.56 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979). The application should clearly demonstrate what aspects are sought to be modified, ensuring the proposed changes are ‘substantially the same’ as original consent. You would be required to submit an application to Modify the Development consent.
  • Lodge an Appeal with the Land and Environment Court of NSW within six (6) months of the date of determination.

Council is always prepared to discuss its decision in the event that you are dissatisfied with the determination, and we recommend that you speak with Council before submitting any of the above applications.

Step 9: Obtain a Construction Certificate

Prior to commencing work, you will need to appoint a Principal Certifier (PC). Your PC could either be Council, or an Accredited Private Certifier.

The PC is responsible for issuing a Construction Certificate (CC), which should occur before any building work associated with the DA is carried out. You must also carefully read your Notice of Determination for your development consent and ensure all relevant conditions have been met.

The PC is also responsible for inspecting the works at various stages during construction and ensuring that the works comply with the development consent and relevant building codes and standards.

The CC is lodged via the NSW Planning website. A small fee is payable.

  • If issued from an Accredited Private Certifier, a copy of the CC must be forwarded to Council for record keeping purposes within seven (7) days of its determination.
  • If Council is your PC, you do not need to provide a copy of the CC to Council.

Please visit the Construction Certificate webpage for more information.

Step 10: Building Works

Your building works are to be undertaken strictly in accordance with the approved plans and Notice of Determination, which contains the conditions of development consent.

Council cannot issue retrospective development consent to building work started or completed without the necessary approval. The undertaking of unauthorised work may lead to enforcement action and you may be prosecuted and/or ordered to demolish the unauthorised work.

Your Principal Certifier is responsible for inspecting the works at various stages during construction and ensuring that the works comply with the development consent. You can appoint either Council or an Accredited (Private) Certifier for this role.

Step 11: Following the completion of building works

When the works are completed, the Principal Certifier must issue an Occupation Certificate.

This certifies that the building works are safe and have been completed in accordance with the development consent.

Prior to the issue of an Interim Occupation Certificate or Final Occupation Certificate, the Principal Certifier must be satisfied that a Final Fire Safety Certificate has been issued for the building. This does not apply to Class 1a (ie. dwelling house) or Class 10 (ie. garage, shed, carport) buildings/structures. For more information, review the Essential Fire Safety Measures Information Sheet.

Duty Planner

Council has a Duty Planner available for general enquiries relating to the planning process, policies and lodgement requirements. The Duty Officer is not able to provide detailed planning advice or high level planning information.

Make an appointment to speak to a duty planner