Do I Need a Development Application?

What is a Development Application?

Before you can make changes to a building, you may need to a lodge a Development Application.

A Development Application (DA) is a formal request for consent to carry out development. This type of development approval is the most common way of obtaining development consent in NSW.

Do I Need a Development Application?

A development application (DA) is required for most development in the local area.

Development is defined under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act as:

  • the use of land;
  • the subdivision of land;
  • the erection of a building;
  • the carrying out of work;
  • pruning or removing trees;
  • demolition;and
  •  any other matter controlled by an environmental planning instrument.

To obtain development consent you must lodge a development application with Council. However, some minor development, called exempt development does not require consent. Another type of development called complying development, requires a complying development certificate. These are discussed below.

Should you have any further questions, please contact Council's Duty Planner on (02) 9748 9999.

What is Exempt Development?

Some minor building works don't require any planning or building approval. This is called exempt development. Exempt development is very low impact development that can be done for certain residential, commercial and industrial properties. Provided your building project meets specific development standards under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) 2008, approval from Council is not needed.

A few examples of development that can be exempt are: decks, garden sheds, carports, fences, repairing a window or painting a house. As long as the proposed works meet all of the development standards identified in the State Policy for exempt and complying development, approval may not be needed.

What is Complying Development?

Complying Development is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward development that can be determined through a fast track assessment by a council or private accredited certifier. A Complying Development Certificate is generally determined within ten (10) days.

Complying development applies to homes, businesses and industry and allows for a range of development including construction of a new dwelling house, alterations and additions to a dwelling house, swimming pools, demolition and changes to a business use.

Determination of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) relies on a code-based assessment against the relevant development standards provided within the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

Note: If an application exceeds the relevant development standards contained within the State Policy, a development application will be required to be lodged with Council.


A development application must be submitted for any works that involve land that comprises, or on which there is, an item of environmental heritage (that is listed on the State Heritage Register or is subject to an interim heritage order under the Heritage Act 1977, or that is identified under Schedule 5 of the Strathfield Local Environmental Plan 2012).

Electronic Housing Code

The Electronic Housing Code is a useful and free online system that helps to determine whether your proposal may be classified as ‘exempt’ or ‘complying’ development.