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How Do I Get Council Approval For Building Works?

17 Sep 2014 2:32 PM

So, you’ve decided to proceed with your plans for a renovation or relocation, and its time to get council approval. Understandably, you’d be keen to know the easiest way to get an approval with the least stress and delays possible.


There are two ways you can approach this:

Approach #1: The Standard Time Consuming, Brain Numbing Approach

Firstly, you’ll need to appoint a construction company or architect to get your plans drawn up. There are three types of plans that you must lodge with your development application (DA):

– The site plan
– The floor plan
– Elevations

Some applications will require you to include additional plans, for example; landscape plans, drainage, excavations and driveway profile plans.

You’ll then need to request a pre-lodgement meeting with the council. The reason for this meeting is to make you aware of any issues which may be raised with your development proposal.

A detailed cost report must then be prepared, as well as the development application forms. You have two options here:

a) You can fill out the forms before appointing a private certifier, who will check over the forms and lodge all paperwork on your behalf

b) You fill out the forms and lodge it yourself (bearing in mind that each council has their own individual forms)

It will significantly assist you by having an understanding of the following processes and information, if relevant to your proposal:

 Local Environmental Plan (LEP): Which can be found on the council’s website

 Development Control Plan (DCP): Which can be found on the council’s website

 Your design principles and guidelines

 Relevant building regulations: Found through BCA and Standards Australia

 Previous council decisions on that block or in the area: You may need to ask the council.


All of these things are an essential starting point for designing your proposal and submitting an application to council for approval.

Next, you’ll need to lodge the development application with the cost report. You’ll also need copies of any relevant plans and the ‘Specification and Statement of Environmental Effects’ (SEE) to submit to the council.

When you lodge the application, you’ll need to pay the council fees at the same time. Development application fees can vary, based on each council’s schedule of fees and charges. The fees are determined on the estimated cost of works.

Finally, you start to approach the home run, which by now is starting to feel like, ‘are we there yet?!’

With your application now lodged, you can track your development application and hopefully the council will approve it. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to prepare a ‘Construction Certificate’, which is usually lodged after a development application is approved.  The certificate includes details like the fire safety schedule and the waste management plan.

Time to hand over more money!

If your building works exceed $25,000, you are subject to a ‘Long Service Levy,’ which is payable when you lodge the Construction Certificate.  You can calculate the fee here.

The last thing you need to do before you can start construction is to pay the inspection fees before you receive the Construction Certificate approval. A private certifier or the council can do these inspections for you.


Warning: If you don’t have formal council approval, yet decide to proceed with any building works, you could land yourself in serious trouble. You may be taken to court, be forced to shut down and even fined. You should never start any building works until you have the approval in writing.


Approach #2: The Much Easier, Less Stressful Way

If all of the above sounds like too much time, work and stress, rest assured that there is a much better way. Simply pick up the phone, dial 1300 122 774 and speak to our fantastic team at Cassin & Sons. We can manage the entire council approval process for you, so you can relax and focus on something else that you’d rather be doing.