1. DA – Development Approval

Before building can commence, it’s necessary to obtain approval from the relevant authority. In NSW this involves gaining Development Approval from the Council in your local area.

Complying Development Certificates (CDC’s) are also an available fast track the approval process, however this state based mechanism is only applicable to simple projects. We will let you know if a CDC application is an option depending on the characteristics of the proposed development.

Obtaining Council approval can be a long or short process depending on the degree of difficulty of the site and therefore the development. These parameters can be entirely numerical such as allowable floor space ratios and site coverage, or open to subjective interpretation eg view sharing issues.

Objecting neighbours can slow the approval process, even if their objections are groundless.

These design challenges are actually a good thing, as they assist us in shaping the vision you have for your ideal home into the best possible design for the site. Using our 40 years + experience we will guide you through this process, from initial concept through to final design and Council approval.

We will also liaise with the Council as needed.

Here is a summary of the factors that need to be taken into consideration:

  • Topography
  • Existing trees
  • Orientation
  • The Building Code of Australia
  • Water and energy efficiency
  • Wind exposure
  • Overshadowing of adjoining properties
  • Privacy
  • Views and view sharing
  • Streetscape and waterscape
  • Front, side and rear setbacks
  • Landscaping ratio
  • Floor space ratio
  • Height limit
  • Storey limit
  • Building envelope
  • Bushfire codes
  • Geotechnical issues
  • Heritage
  • Aboriginal Heritage
  • Existing underground services
  • Site access and car parking
  • Easements and covenants
  • Flora and fauna impact
  • Flood zone
  • Waste management

2. CC – Construction Certificate

In NSW, once Development approval has been granted, it’s necessary to obtain a Construction Certificate approval ( usually from a private certifier ) before building can commence, and as for the DA, we will take care this process.

The main component of CC is the civil and structural engineering.

Other consultants will be required for the DA and CC including:

  • Surveyor
  • Geotech engineer
  • Arborist
  • Landscape architect
  • Stormwater engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • Flora and fauna consultant
  • Heritage consultant
  • BCA consultant
  • Traffic engineer
  • Town planner
  • Private Certifier

Management of these consultants is also part of our services.


In NSW, it typically takes a minimum of 12 months to obtain to Development and Construction Certificate approvals. Once you have a Development Approval, you have 5 years to commence building, and there is no time limit on completion.

The tendering and building processes can easily take 18 months, so the minimum time from start of design to sitting on the balcony with a glass of champagne is 2.5 years.