Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Complying Development Approval?

For some projects you may not require a development consent from Council, instead you may be eligible to obtain a Complying Development Certificate. Complying Development Certificates are generally only available for minor developments that are prescribed in your local council’s complying development policy (LEP or development control plan), or the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt & Complying Development Codes) 2008. These include swimming pools, sheds, garages and alterations and additions to your home. Some new homes can be approved by Complying Development if the design and building site can meet the requirements.

The certificate certifies that a proposed development meets the complying development criteria and that building work carried out in accordance with approved plans and specifications will comply with the Building Code of Australia and other relevant standards.

How do I know if my proposal can be Complying Development?

When you submit an application and your plans to CERTIBUILD we will assess your proposal to determine if it can be approved as complying development. Larger projects like granny flats and substantial dwelling additions will require you to provide a 10.7 Planning Certificate with your application. You obtain the 10.7 Planning Certificate from your local council.

What happens if my proposal is not Complying Development and I need a Development Approval (DA) from Council?

If your proposal requires Development Approval, CERTIBUILD can guide you in the process of lodging a Development Application to Council. This is advice only and we do not provide any Town Planning or Plan Drawing services.

Council will often require additional information if your proposal is in a Bushfire zone, a Geotech zone or a Heritage zone. Council will generally require justification for projects which do not meet their recommended guidelines, for example large structures which exceed the size and height guidelines, and variations to building lines.

CERTIBUILD has no control over what additional information Council may request as Council policies vary considerably. Delays in providing requested information directly impact on the time taken to complete the approval.

Once your development application has been approved by council CERTIBUILD can then provide a quote for certifcation and to enable the issue of a Construction Certificate to allow building works to commence.

What documents will I need to provide?

A completed letter of consent (an original is required) signed by ALL owners of the property.

A set of plans and specifications, preferably A4 or A3:
Site plan (sample plans can be provided on request).
Elevations showing the side views of the proposed works, including any cut and fill required.
Specifications e.g. a list of building materials and construction methods.

Additional documents you may also need to provide:
If your proposed works include any retaining walls they must be included on your plans and letter of consent
Waste management plan
Stormwater management plan
Additional Council approval for a septic (if the proposal includes plumbing works on an unsewered site)
BASIX certificate

Engineers design

Bushfire reports from consultants

What is the estimated cost of building works?

You are required to notify the consent and certifying authority of the estimated cost of all building works associated with the development, including any retaining works. It must be a realistic assessment of the cost of the works which includes materials and labor. An easy way for you to understand this requirement is to consider how much you would insure the proposal for when all works are completed. CERTIBUILD and/or the Council may require the submission of builders quotes/ contracts to reflect the true value of the work.

What is included in CERTIBUILD’s fee?

Assessment and determination of an application for Complying Development Certificate, or, Construction Certificate.
Conduct of all critical stage inspections.
Issue of one Final Occupation Certificate, where requested within two years from the date of CERTIBUILD’s approval.

What other fees might I have to pay?

If your plans are larger than A3, you may need to pay to have additional copies made for Council, the Mines Subsidence Board, or the local Water Authority.
You will be charged an additional fee if your site plans have not been stamped by your local water authority.
There are additional fees if you are building over, or adjacent to, the local water authoritys sewer.
Additional fees also apply for any amended plans that require stamping by the local water authority.
Additional fees where you require CERTIBUILD to prepare a BASIX certificate for swimming pools with a volume of 40,000L or more.
You may also need to pay for any reports or additional information requested by Council, such as a Bushfire Assessment Report, Arborist Report, or Geotechnical Report.
Fees for any additional inspections resulting from non-compliance, amended reports, designs or documentation required by CERTIBUILD (or any other authority) subsequent to the lodgement of the initial application.
If your development is not completed within two years from the date of CERTIBUILD’s approval you will need to pay for a Final Inspection and Occupation Certificate. Additional fees are also payable should an Interim, or additional Occupation Certificate/s be required.

When can I start building?

If your development meets all of the requirements for Complying Development, and CERTIBUILD has received all of the necessary information your proposal can be approved as Complying Development within 2 working days of lodgement. You then allow another 2 days for council notification prior to commencing works. This timeframe may be extended where additional information is required in order to determine the application. Substantial works including new houses and granny flats can take 7-14 days before you can start work, this is normally due to delays from council in approving associated 305 Applications (water & sewer) or driveway crossovers etc.

If your proposal requires a Council lodged Development Application. We will also contact you and let you know if your application cannot be approved as Complying Development and must be lodged with Council.

The time it takes for Councils to approve a Development Application varies considerably but is generally between 4 and 8 weeks. However, it can take longer, for example if your proposal needs to be notified to neighbors, or if Council has requested additional information. CERTIBUILD has absolutely no control over the time it takes Council to process your application.

Once you receive the Development Approval from Council we endeavor to approve a Construction Certificate within 5 working days. However, once again this may be longer depending on any Conditions of Councils Development Consent that may need to be addressed prior to the issue of a Construction Certificate; for example, obtaining a Road Opening Permit, or Land Survey Certificates.

You will also need to provide details of the Builder, and an Owner Builder Permit or Builders Home Warranty Insurance, whichever is applicable, prior to the commencement of any building works.

Will I need an Owner-Builder Permit or Home Warranty Insurance?

At least 48 hours prior to the commencement of any building work you must provide CERTIBUILD with the builders details. CERTIBUILD will then advise Council, on your behalf, that works will be commencing

If you are an Owner Builder
For works under $10,000 no permit is required
For works $10,000 and over you will need to provide a copy of your Owner Builder Permit from the Department of Fair Trading. (See their website at )

If you use a licensed builder and the value of the work (*includes material supplied by the owner) is over $20,000 a copy of the Home Warranty Insurance from the builder must be provided.

Fair Trading Fact Sheet_home_building_compensation_fund

Where can I get further advice on the building approval process?

Information can be found on our website, or by contacting the following:

NSW Department of Planning
The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors
Building Professionals Board