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By this stage, you’ve determined that your project is feasible and you’ve secured the required finance to see it through, so it’s now time to commence planning. You’ll need to bring your team of experts together to assist you in the planning and preparation of the development application. You’ll need to engage the services of a reputable conveyancer, registered surveyor, town planner, architect, engineer, builder and project manager (depending on the size and scale of your project) just to name a few.

DA forward planning and approval

Before you dive into preparing the development application, it’s a good idea to understand what policies and planning controls apply to your development. You also need to determine if your proposal requires approval from another government agency. For large or complex proposals, it’s good practice to schedule a pre-lodgment meeting with the local council (some councils may charge for this meeting) as it allows you to come away with a list of key items/issues that will need to be addressed when preparing your development application.

There are a number of legislation and policy documents that you’ll need to consider when preparing your DA – environmental planning instruments which will be different for each local area, state environmental planning policies which are applicable to different types of developments, development control plans (DCP) which provide information and controls relating to the design and planning of developments, and guidelines and council policies that will need to be adhered to.

Plans and drawings
Depending on the size and scale of your development, there are a multitude of plans and drawings you may need to be provide alongside your development application. These are:

  • Site analysis plan
  • Scaled floor plans and elevations clearly documenting the proposed buildings/works
  • Notification plans
  • Survey plan showing the exact location of buildings, structures, boundaries and other features
  • Landscape plan
  • Hydraulic report and drainage plan. If your proposal involves any new buildings or changes to the on-site drainage system, you’re required to provide details about how it’s proposed to manage runoff from the site
  • Shadow diagrams for developments that are two or more stories in height
  • Sediment and erosion control plan
  • Subdivision plan.


  • Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) is a written report that outlines the likely environmental impacts of the proposed development and must be submitted with your development application to council. This report details how the application will comply with the council’s development control requirements, the steps taken to protect your neighbours, the steps taken to protect the environment and information about practical issues such as access to the site, water supply and electricity supply etc.)

Depending on your development project, you may also be asked to provide:

  • Heritage impact assessment report – if your project involves major alterations to a heritage item, or is located in a heritage conservation area
  • Acoustic report. If your proposal is located near residential properties and has the potential to create noise disturbance, you may be required to submit an acoustic report, which considers the noise impacts of the proposed development.
  • Traffic and parking report. If your proposal is likely to be a major traffic generator – or have adverse traffic implications – you must submit a traffic impact assessment report prepared by a qualified transport consultant
  • Flood study. You may be required to submit a flood study if your site is located in an area that may be subject to flooding
  • Geotechnical investigation report. If your proposal involves excavation or if infiltration is proposed, or a report is requested by council’s development engineers
  • Waste Management Plan – for ongoing use and management of the site during the construction and demolition phases
  • Contamination investigation report
  • Asbestos survey. Proposals to demolish or make alterations to existing buildings may require an Asbestos Survey to be submitted to council in accordance with their Asbestos Policy
  • Environmental assessment of flora and fauna – if your proposal may affect any threatened species
  • Social impact assessment. This report seeks to understand the potential social impacts of certain developments.


After completing the Development Application form and lodging it to council, the council is then required to notify adjoining and neighboring owners who may be affected by the development proposal. Following the exhibition period, the council undertakes a detailed assessment of your application in consideration with all relevant environmental planning instruments, development control plans, council policies, the likely impacts of the development, the suitability of the site for the proposed development and any submissions received. An approved DA usually has a number of conditions that you must satisfy, and these are included in the Notice of Determination. If your DA is refused, the reasons why it has been refused will be included in the Notice of Determination.

Preparing, submitting and gaining development application approval can add significant value to your site, whether you plan on seeing through the construction or not. If you’d like information or assistance with preparing a winning Development Application, or you’d like more information about the additional value generated from obtaining development consent, contact our team of professionals today.

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