What’s the best development approval process for your new home?

Starting the journey to design and build a new home is an exciting time; however, development approval is a crucial prerequisite before construction can commence. There are two distinct pathways for getting your build approved: applying for either a complying development certificate (CDC); or a development application (DA). 

As we’ve discussed in separate articles: 

A DA is an approvals process based on development guidelines and policies set by local council. It is often seen as a merit-based assessment conducted and determined by the local council, and is based on a development’s structural safety, environmental impact, interest to the public and private domains and relationship with existing communities and infrastructure. 

A CDC is an approval process based on a set of construction standards as part of a code that is predetermined and consistent across the entire state of NSW. This allows certain elements of a development to be assessed by a wider code instead of specific and individual council-based regulations. 

DA vs CDC: Which is the better development approval process?

Neither option is better or worse than the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages based on your project and specific requirements.  

A CDC is commonly known as a ‘fast-tracked’ process as it does not rely on the varying regulations of individual policies. It is based on a set of state-wide building compliance guidelines, often making it a more streamlined process and requiring fewer steps to be completed.  According to the NSW Government a DA has an average determination time of 70 days, while CDC can then fast-track compliant development approval in as little as 20 days.

The CDC process is ideal if you have straight forward plans for your new home and need a quick and efficient outcome. 

However, the CDC process is quite strict and requires all building compliance regulations to be met. Without a perfect report card, a development can be rejected. A CDC is also block specific, and some sites are not eligible for this process. For example, complying development cannot occur on land that: 

  • contains an item listed in the State Heritage Register 
  • is subject to an interim heritage order  
  • the government has identified as an item of environmental heritage or a heritage item in an environmental planning instrument  
  • is a critical habitat under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. 
  • is a wilderness area under the Wilderness Act 1987.  

In some cases, despite the process being slightly longer than a CDC, a DA is the preferred option as it is determined by council, instead of a set of stringent state-wide regulations. If there is an element of your home that may not technically fit the guidelines, such as building height, it can be reviewed by council and potentially approved if it doesn’t impact the environment and the surrounding community. This flexibility can often be the difference between making compromises in your home’s design and having the floorplan you’ve always envisioned. 

How do I decide?

Allura Homes has the experience to know which development approval option is best for your project. We can help you to secure a Section 10.7 Certificate (NSW Planning Certificate), a standard report made for a registered block of land providing information on any potential development happening on a parcel of land. This document allows Allura to determine which approval process is most suitable by providing information on zoning, planning controls and other property restrictions such as land contamination and flood risks. Allura Homes can also create a choice of floorplans tailored to best comply with a CDC or DA process, ensuring you get everything you want in your home while keeping the approvals process as efficient as possible.  

Important things to consider

From hydraulic engineering to landscaping and shadow reports, making the home you’ve always wanted a reality requires suitable document preparation early in the process. This is all part of the full-service experience you will receive when building with Allura Homes. We will guide you through every step to ensure the path to your new home is as efficient, stress-free and rewarding as possible. To learn more about the custom home journey, watch our Become Build Ready video series. 

Download our Knock Down Rebuild guide

Looking for a new home can be stressful and confusing. You may not realise that knocking down a home and rebuilding can be a viable alternative. This free guide is designed to demystify the process, and answer many of the questions you may have.

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