DA v Complying Development

When it comes to approvals for a renovation or new build, trying to get an understanding of the regulations, who to speak to and what to do can feel very daunting. The following is a basic guide to understanding the difference between the two avenues you can go down, DA or CDC.

One option may be more suitable than the other. This will depend on:

  • Which council you are in
  • The design of the house you are building/renovating
  • Your time frame

At the end of the day there are many factors that will influence the route you decide to take. We will help you figure this out and ensure that the process is a smooth one.


What is Development Application?

DA is an application submitted to your local council, with information such as what the development will look like when completed, the materials to be used, and any impact that the development may have on the surrounding area. Assessment is based on applied community standards, planning and development legislation and Council requirements.

For further information on DA submissions, please visit your council’s website.

What is Complying Development Certificate?

The rules for getting an application approved through CDC are the same throughout NSW, regardless of the local council you block resides in. This was put in place so that low impact developments can bypass local councils when getting development, saving both time and money. It can be known to some as a fast track approval process when dealing with a more straight-forward development.

For further information on CDC exact guidelines, visit the following link:


What's the difference?

Development Application

  • Approval Time - Up to 3 months
  • Rules - Up to interpretation of the council when reviewing the application.                   
  • PROs - Designs that do not comply with CDC can potentially be approved by the council. The council allows more leniency in certain areas, whereas CDC is very strict.                   
  • CONs - Takes longer to get a result. 

Complying Development Certificate

  • Approval Time - Generally 2-3 weeks (assuming all documents completed before submission)
  • Rules - Very clear and strict rules.                    
  • PROs - Much faster than applying through DA. No requirement for neighbour consent.
  • CONs - No leniency to rules whatsoever.