• Gabrielle Glasson

The difference betwen DA and CDC for your build or renovation

Updated: Apr 8

If you're wondering what the difference is and how to choose between a Development Application (DA) or Complying Development Certificate (CDC) for your renovation or new build, let us shed a little light.



development application (DA)

  • Run through Council

  • Two stages - DA then Construction Certificate

  • Longer process (Typically 4-6 months or longer)

  • Less expensive

  • A merit-based process with flexibility for interpretation and judgement regarding building design at the discretion of your council

  • Invites feedback from neighbours

Development Application (DA) is a Local Council application with 2 parts - first it requires designs based on the proposed site location and its various design elements to be lodged with Council for further investigations and compliance to reach an approval. The Council will have a set of guidelines and parameters that will be used to assess your application. That can involve bush fire assessments, location to foreshore zones, block size, heritage restrictions etc.


As part of the approval process your affected neighbours will be invited to provide feedback or lodge any objections to the design This typically takes 4 months from lodgement but can easily take 6 months or more to get approved. Designers/Architects generally try to avoid DA’s due to the time required.


After you have your DA you then need to arrange for your Construction Certificate (CC) which requires you to engage with a Private Certifying Authority (PCA) to undertake certification of all of your documents complied through the Designer/Architect as well as other consultant's considers the planning aspects of the build. Some of the elements required include site plans, architectural plans, engineering plans, landscape plans, building specifications, fire safety, and sustainability statements as well as a registered builder with all the appropriate insurances and licence to undertake the construction work. You need your CC before you can start the project so please allow an additional month or so for acquiring all the paperwork required to get your CC.


Part of your Construction Certificate approval will also require that you pay a bond to your local Council as insurance against damage to public spaces such as roads, gutters, drains, nature strips etc during the construction process.




Complying development certificate

  • Run by State Goverment to reduce red tape and congestion in council DA system

  • Combined process of planning and construction approval

  • Quicker process (Typically 3-4 months)

  • A code-based process with no flexibility: requires 100% compliance with every single regulation to gain approval otherwise the application will be denied and you'll need to amend the design or switch to DA.

  • Not every site or building is eligible for this process (e.g. Bush Fire Zone or Foreshore Zone homes, or Heritage listed homes)

Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is a combined planning and construction approval process. It is designed to enable straightforward development applications to be fast-tracked through the State Government.

The Designer/Architect will have to follow a strictly defined checklist that you must comply with for every element including building design type, land space ratio (how much of the site is covered by development/landscape) setbacks from boundaries as well as providing you with the design that meets your needs. Failure to meet every regulation will render the CDC non-compliant and will force you to go for a full DA if you want something outside of the defined checklist.

Typically it takes 3-4 months for a CDC to be approved.

Again you need to engage with a Private Certifying Authority (PCA) to undertake Construction Certificate (CC) of all of your documents complied through the Designer/Architect as well as other consultant's of the build.


Some of the elements required include site plans, architectural plans, engineering plans, landscape plans, building specifications, fire safety, and sustainability statements as well as a registered builder with all the appropriate insurances and licence to undertake the construction work. You need your CC before you can start the project so please allow a month or so for acquiring all the paperwork required to get your CC. Sometime it costs a little more to go through the CDC process but it typically saves you more time.


If you're not sure whether to opt for the Development Application or Complying Development Certificate route, we are happy to provide advice along with your building designer or architect on the best option for your project.



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