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What Is A DA And How Does The DA Process Work?

So, you’re thinking about renovating your house but you’re not sure if you’ll need to get approval. Here at Adesso Building Renovations let us guide you through the do’s and don’t’s of Development Approvals – whether you need them or not and under why. This article aims to answer the question we get asked by every first-time renovation client, “I want to renovate my house. When do I need a DA?

One of the first things your builder might ask you when you engage them is, “Is it DA approved?” Before you get stuck for an answer and potentially face lengthy delays in getting your dream renovation started, let’s dive into the topic of, “What is a DA and how does the DA process work”…

WHAT IS A DA?

A DA, otherwise known as a Development Application, refers to a legal document that gives you the go-ahead for development from your local Council Development. Applications consist of specific plans and designs that need to be actioned accordingly, for example, the location of the building and the type of design it consists of.

WHEN DO I NEED TO GET A DA?

In NSW, projects require council approval for significant renovations, significant extensions, substantial excavation, filling and free-standing buildings like granny flats.

WHEN DON’T I NEED TO GET A DA?

More often than not, most internal renovations don’t require council approval. Exempt development could also include things like carports, decks, fences and garden sheds. However, if it involves structural changes, such as adding bedrooms for example, you will have to get plans properly drawn up, submitted and approved by council.

NOT ALL COUNCILS ARE THE SAME 

It’s important to note that not all Councils have the same approval process. Some take longer than others, some allow or disallow different things. Let’s say you renovated a property in Northern Sydney and had to get approval from the Council. Now you’ve sold your property and have just bought a place in Cronulla that requires a similar renovation. Just because you’ve had an experience with one council doesn’t mean it will be the same with another.

HOW DOES THE DA PROCESS WORK?

Firstly, it pays to get some early advice from your builder as to whether your renovation idea will require approval. If they’ve had local experience they’ll be able to let you know straight away and probably give you an idea of how long it might take.

You’ll need to get together all your information. This includes plans and drawings, statement of environmental effects and application documents. Once you’ve got this stuff sorted, you’re ready to submit.  Be aware that it can take many months to get your development approval. It may even get rejected in the first instance. Don’t stress though, there’s a process whereby you can submit a revision or modification to suit Council’s requirement.

SHOULD I JUST WING IT?

No. If you’re project requires approval, we never suggest going ahead without it. The consequences of assuming your renovation will meet the requirements when it doesn’t can be time consuming and extremely expensive. It’s extremely risky to proceed without approval.

MY PROJECT’S FULLY APPROVED, WHAT’S NEXT?

Once you get written approval, you can go ahead with your renovation. Happy days! Just remember that what’s been approved must be adhered to. If you make any changes on the fly, these must be resubmitted and approved. Close to completion, an inspection officer may attend your property for a final tick of approval. If they note non-approved changes, you may be asked to resubmit for approval or even worse, forced to revert, ending up in costly additional works and most likely not delivering the final product you had hoped for.

In the end or rather, right at the beginning, it pays to get your builder involved. Contact Adesso Building Renovations. We have plenty of experience with DA approvals and can help guide you through the process.