FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.  
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BUILDING DESIGN & APPROVAL PROCESS

Q. What is a Building Designer?


Of course the simple answer is that Building Designers design buildings, but in fact there is much more to what has become the profession of building design. The BDAA estimates that 75-80% of residential work is currently designed by Building Designers. These figures appear to be consistent with the findings of other groups. Building Designers have “grown up” from the drafting services, which served the building industry so well in the 1970s and 1980s. These people had gained a reputation of providing practical designs. They were known to “listen” to the client and design what the client actually wanted. The Building Designer has changed over the years. Since the 1980s they have become more professional and organised, both individually and as a group, but have still maintained the practical qualities that have always proved attractive to clients. Building Designers may specialise in residential projects, including new buildings, heritage restorations and additions or renovations, or they may also undertake commercial and industrial projects, such as factories, motels, offices, restaurants, retail or service outlets and warehouses. By engaging an Accredited Building Designer, accredited by the Building Designers Accreditation & Training (BDA&T) in association with Building Designers Association of Australia (BDA Australia), you can be assured that the individual has been through an accreditation program to measure the professional competencies of building design services, and that these individual professionals maintain their accreditation, by engaging in Continuing Professional Development (CPD), have a level of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) consummate with their level of industry participation and engage in a system of Industry Best Practice (IBP) within their design practice.




Q. Do I need a planning or building approval?


Many types of home renovations and minor building projects don't need approval. These types of projects are called Exempt Development. As long as the building project meets specific standards and land requirements no planning, or building approval is needed.

If your building work does not meet the exempt development criteria, then you will require approval for your building project, either through lodging an application for a Complying Development Certificate (Fast Tracked Approval) or a Development Application (consent issued by council).

To know whether you need approval or not, you will first need to find out what planning restrictions or conditions apply to your property by obtaining a Planning Certificate, by contacting Council or a qualified Building Designer for advice.

Certain properties may have different or additional rules that may apply to building and renovation projects. Such as properties that are; In conservation areas, heritage listed buildings, Listed on the State Heritage Register, in or near a site containing contaminated land, located in a bush fire prone area, where road widening is planned and those that are in a flood affected area.

Before you plan any renovations or building work, it's a good idea to check with your local Council which planning controls apply to your property or call a professional Building Designer and have a development consultation to discuss your project.




Q. What is Exempt Development?


What is Exempt Development?

Many types of home renovations and minor building projects don't need approval from a Council or private certifier. These types of projects are called Exempt Development. As long as the building project meets specific standards and land requirements no planning or building approval is needed.

Exempt development typically includes very low impact development often including the following:

  • Advertising & signage
  • Fences
  • Aerials & antennas
  • Pathways and paving
  • Balconies & decks
  • Satellite dishes
  • Carports & garages
  • Driveways
  • Patios & pergolas
  • Terraces

Providing your building project meets specific development standards, approval from your local Council is not needed.




Q. How do I know what restrictions or conditions apply to my property?


A Planning Certificate is a legal document, issued by local Councils, that details the zoning and applicable rules for development of your property. It also identifies whether or not complying development can be carried out on the property. If you have recently purchased your property, you will have a copy of the Planning Certificate in your purchase contract, if you have owned your property for some time you will need an updated certificate, this is obtainable from your Council at a cost of $53-$133. We can also complete this step for you and obtain a Planing Certificate on your behalf. Some projects will require a certificate not more than 6 months old at lodgement of Complying Development Certificates.




Q. What is Complying Development?


Complying development is a fast track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial development. Providing the application meets specific criteria then it can be determined by a Council or accredited certifier without the need for a full DA. Examples of complying development include:

  • development of a granny flat
  • renovations to a home
  • property extensions (up to two storeys)
  • building a swimming pool
  • building a garage or carport
  • the construction of a new industrial building
  • alterations and additions to industrial and commercial buildings
  • the demolition of a building
The standards you must comply with for most complying development works are in the State policy for exempt and complying development (CODES SEPP), however there are other specific development standards that apply to particular developments eg: Granny Flats (Secondary Dwellings) need to comply with the AHSEPP. These policies can be viewed at the NSW Legislation website.




Q. Why should you pay for building design advice (development consultation)?


In some industries it is common practice to provide free quotes or estimates and the consumer often holds this assumption about the building industry.

The Development consultation we provide is a service which is paid for and therefore the information and advice delivered can remain objective. It is important to get good quality advice, especially when it comes to one of the single biggest investments made in a person’s lifetime, their home or property.

You should expect more than just a cost of design and drafting from your draftsperson, Building Designer or Architect. Free advice or quotes usually are subjective and more likely be given with an agenda of securing your project so as not to have wasted time.

Paying for a consultation ensures the advice and information provided to you remains objective and you are paying for their experience, knowledge and time- no strings attached. For example if your development can be built without obtaining approval, therefore do not require our services, we will gladly tell you. Moreover, the best advice for you may be to do something completely different or do nothing at all. Don’t rely on cheap or free advice which could end up costing you thousands or more in the long term, either during building process or in over capitalisation. Why pay for expensive plans, only to find out that you can’t afford to build it, or even worse, to find out that plans and approvals we not required at all!

We, at Coastline Building Design, have been designing and drafting developments for many years and our team has over 40 years experience on the Central Coast and offer a professional building design service. Paying for a Development Consultation with us, enables us to provide quality independent advice to our clients.




Q. Why use a Building Designer?


A Building Designer can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your building site and your existing home, in the case of an addition or renovation. Based on this information, they can then discuss with you how your required outcomes can best be achieved.

The architectural style you prefer, the budget for the project and the configuration of the required rooms, are all critical considerations for your Building Designer. Using this information, a home designed specifically to your requirements can be created.

Often custom designed homes are just as economical to construct as project homes, with the overall area of the home being slightly reduced due, to the incorporation of clever design principles. A home that has been designed to address all of the elements of it’s particular site, will be more enjoyable to live in and will ultimately be a better financial investment for your future. By engaging an Accredited Building Designer, accredited by the Building Designers Accreditation & Training (BDA&T) in association with Building Designers Association of Australia (BDA Australia), you will have the assurance knowing that the design professional holds appropriate qualifications in building design, has been through an accreditation program, participates in CPD program and has has appropriate insurances. . As Members of the BDA Australia we are bound by a code of ethics and committed to operate at the highest professional level at all times. Assurance you have an experienced, qualified, accredited and insured professional working on your project.




Q. Do I need other Consultants or reports?


You may or may not require plans and/or reports prepared by specialist consultants to support your development applications. Most projects require the engagement of at least one or two external consultants to provide supporting documentation for your project (eg: Detail Contour Survey and Structural Engineering to name just the two most common). Some projects require the engagement of multiple external consultants to carry out specialist reports, drawings or other work for the project. We can assist in advising if and when you may need external consultants, and facilitate in recommendations, engagement and management of external consultants that are most suited for your project. Examples of External Specialist Consultants: - Registered Land Surveyor - Structural and Civil Engineer - Geotechnical Engineer - Landscape Designer/ Architect - Interior Designer - Bushfire Consultant - Disability Access Consultant - Building Surveyor/Certifier - Town Planner - Heritage Consultant - Environmental Consuiltant - Thermal Assessor (NatHERS Certificates & Section J Reports) We are more than happy to answer any questions you have and refer you to a specialist consultant in a particular field. We can assist you with obtaining all reports required for your development.




Q. What is a Development Consultation?


A Development Consultation is an initial meeting of the developer (You) and the Designer, usually held at the site of which the development will take place. The on-site consultation is typically a duration of 1-2hrs and includes travel of one of our senior designers to your site, or specific location of your choosing, at a day and time that is convenient to you.

Prior to the consultation we will review available information and undertake preliminary investigations. We will complete a desktop review of your property on government mapping tools and gather information on site attributes and constraints. Additionally, we research current planning instruments and relevant legislation or controls applicable to your development prior to the consultation.

At the consultation, we talk with you to establish your overall design and budget requirements of your project. We will provide design and construction advice, as well as advice or solutions on meeting planning requirements, and other site specific requirements. This site meeting allows us to see the subject site, conduct a site analysis, understand your design brief, take required measurements, give guidance on cost of construction and deliver technical design and construction advice.

Following the meeting we will prepare a detailed fee proposal for your development outlining our services and costs. The Fee Proposal is then emailed to you for your consideration. An onsite consultation fee from $180 is applicable and this fee is fully redeemable when you engage our services. We will suggest suitable consultants for your particular project to obtain specialist reports and plans as required.

Otherwise, where an onsite meeting is not possible or if you prefer, a meeting in the office can be arranged (free of charge-usually 30mins) to discuss your Project Brief and property. The quote prepared following in office meetings will be an approximate quote only and can only be finalised once we have all relevant information; including consultants’ reports and information on the site and existing structures.

Please send us a copy of any relevant information you have available to review prior to your meeting or bring along to the office meeting (if available/applicable):

1) Survey or Site Plan of Property;
2) Plans, elevations of existing structures and engineering (obtainable form Council);
3) Any Consultant Reports completed or other information (eg: Bushfire report, Geotechnical report, Engineering etc)

4) Planning Certificate (in contract of sale);
5) Photos of existing structures and/or site and surrounds/views/etc;
6) Wish list, sketch, ideas, photos, inspiration, Ideas Book, Pinterest board, etc. Any information in which you can best convey your ideas and style to us.

We can then provide a fee proposal and get the building design and approval process started.




Q. What are the Approval times for Fast Tracked (Complying Development) Approval vs Development Application (consent)?


Complying Development (upto 20days)

If your property and proposed development qualify for complying development you'll need to apply for a complying development certificate (CDC) through your local Council or an accredited certifier but it does mean you avoid a full Development Application (DA) which takes longer. A development may be approved through the Fast Tracked process within 20 days by a Council or accredited certifier as long as it meets the complying development provisions of the relevant State Environmental Planning Policy.

Development Application (DA) (weeks to months)

If your proposed building work or renovation is neither exempt nor complying development you’ll need to submit a DA through your local Council. Dependent on Council policy, the Council will publicly exhibit the application, and then make a decision on it. Each assessment timeframe is dependent upon the complexity of the proposed development, notification requirements, agency referral timeframes and other factors. Usually the process can take weeks to months and you should be notified by mail (or email) of the outcome (though you may be able to track progress online). The Local Development Performance Monitoring (LDPM) provides an overview of the performance of the NSW planning system statistics on performance of all NSW Council’s. The Statistics show the average gross determination times across the State for DA’s in the 2013-14 year were an average of 70 gross days and a median of 40 gross days taken to process a DA.

Which option?

Depending if you qualify for Complying Development, or not, will determine whether you can lodge a CDC. You will need more information upfront prior to lodging the CDC, this is why it is fast tracked. A DA requires certiain minimum information and additional information can be obtained or requested while the DA is being processed (eg engineering), making use of this time.

If you do not qualify for or meet the strict Complying Development critera, then your will need to lodge a DA with your Local Council. You can still opt for a Private Certifier to undertake the Construction Certificate, or use Council, to undertake inspections and issue the Occupation Certificate (operate as PCA).

The Verdict!

A CDC if you can, however in our experience you will require the same quantity of information, just at slightly diffent times for your approval, and won't significantly effect the total timeframe of the building design and approval timeline. It will depend on your property, development proposal and timeline.

We can help suggest which option is best suitable. In the end you will receive an approval and well hey that's what your after afterall. Call us to discuss your specific project.




Q. Do I tell my neighbours and what do I tell them?


Building works can cause neighbours disruption, therefore talking with your neighbours can sometimes help alleviate some of their concerns. Talking to your neighbours is a good idea whether your building project is big or small. And can save trouble down tack.

Pre-approval notification

Pre-approval notification to neighbours within a 20 metre radius of your property boundary is required in metropolitan areas. A certifier or council is required to inform that you have applied for a complying development certificate 14 days before it can be approved. This neighbour notification must be in writing, the notice may be given in person, through a letter box or via the post. If a lot contains an apartment building or is a dual occupancy, the occupier of each individual home/apartment must be notified. Neighbours can request to see the plans of the complying development, however, there is no obligation for the applicant to make these available. While there is no formal pre-approval notification required in residential release areas and most rural and regional areas, it is still a good idea to make your neighbours aware of any development proposals.

Pre-construction notification

Once your complying development certificate has been issued, you, as the owner must notify neighbours at least seven (7) days prior to any work commencing. This notice is for their information only, neighbours cannot make a submission on a neighbouring complying development. This requirement also applies to commercial and industrial developments close to residential areas. Major building works inevitably cause disruption but talking through your designs and likely time-frame with neighbours will help address concerns before the work begins.

For further information and template letters visit https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/building-or-renovating/do-i-qualify-fast-track-approval/notifying-neighbours




Q. Do my neighbours get notified about Building applications?


Generally Yes, however the notification is different depending on the Building works and approval process undertaken. Some types of complying development require neighbours to be notified either prior to approval or prior to commencement of works.




Q. Architect vs Building Designer vs Draftsperson.
Whats the difference and who do I need to engage for my project?


This will all depend on your particular project. With most residential work (eg: new homes, Alterations & Additions, dual occupancies, multi-dwelling) a Building Designer/ Draftsperson/ Architect can essentially perform the same role. Other types of development are restricted to licencing and registration, qualifications, experience and holding appropriate insurances.

It is also important to choose a designer who has the requisite skills and knowledge to complete the project. It is important to find someone with whom you can communicate with easily, someone who will listen to you and who will offer constructive advice which enhances what you have in mind. In certain states of Australia you may be required to engage an accredited Building Designer or Architect to undertake your particular project. For some small scale work (eg: minor decks, pergolas etc) a draftsperson may be appropriate to use. Selecting your building designer/ draftsperson/architect is like selecting any of the professionals that are part of your life. Refer to How to choose your designer for futher information.

To legally use the term and operate as an "Architect" in Australia the person must have:
- Completed an architecture or design degree (~3 years)
- Completed a Masters of Architecture (~2 years)
- Completed minimum 2 years on the job experience
- Be “Board registered” with the state body (ie: Australian Institute of Architects)
- Undertake and complete annual Continuing Professional Development

To operate as an accredited “Building Designer” in Australia:
- Holds appropriate qualifications in building design
(Degree in Building Design/ Architecture or a Diploma of Architectural Technology or a Diploma of Building Design (or equivalent study and experience))
- Hold a License or be registered, or hold current Accreditation with Building Designers Accreditation and Training (BDA&T) (whichever is mandatory in the state that they practice Building Design).
- Hold a minimum of appropriate experience to be licenced, registered or accredited (at particular accreditation level- Low/Medium/Open accreditation) in the state that they practice Building Design.
- Be a member of Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA) or BDAQ, participate and engage in a system of Industry Best Practice (IBP) within their design practice and engage in annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
- Hold appropriate insurances (Professional Indemnity Insurance & Public Liability insurance)

To operate as a Draftsperson in Australia:
- They do Not require any formal education or training
(may or may not have a drafting certificate from an intuition such as Tafe or other training organisation)
- Are Not required to hold insurances
- Are Not required to be licenced

So who should I engage?
Make sure the designer you engage has the requisite skills and knowledge to complete the project and ensure its success.

We strongly encourage all customers to engage either an “Architect” or “Accredited Building Designer”.




Q. How do I select the right building design professional for my project?


The design is likely to be the most important part of the building project that you are about to embark on. Selecting the right designer is the key to achieving a successful project; importantly, you must find a Building Design professional that you can communicate with easily, who listens to you and who will offer constructive advice that enhances what you have in mind. Just like selecting a Builder or tradesperson you want to be comfortable and confident with the designer you choose. Here are some helpful tips on Selecting a the right Building Design professional for your project: ● Check Accreditation/Licencing & Industry memberships
Ensure your designer is Accredited and/or Licenced and that they are a member of a recognised association such as BDA Australia. Building Designers Accreditation & Training (BDA&T) in association with Building Designers Association of Australia (BDA Australia), has established an accreditation program (the Program) to measure the professional competencies of all providers of building design services and that these individual professionals may become accredited, and maintain their accreditation, by engaging in Continuing Professional Development (CPD), have a level of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) commensurate with their level of industry participation and engage in a system of Industry Best Practice (IBP) within their design practice. ● See examples of work, get recommendations from family/ friends or talk to previous clients where possible. Usually your designer will have a portfolio or previous work on their website. Review their portfolio and reviews from previous clients. You may want to ask of any relevant projects simialr to your propject, that you can view or discuss. ● Check they have proper insurance. Check they hold Professional Indemnity Insurance & Public Liability insurance or other required insurances approproate to the work you are engaging them to undertake. You can ask to see copies of the Certificates of currency of those insurances. ● Have your design idea ducks in arrow Do your research into the types and styles of buildings you like and dislike, take photos and write a project brief. Be as detailed as possible as to what is a must have and whats is a want for the porject to provide a detailed breif to your designer. If you have Pinterest or a Houzz account, you can pin or save ideas books and share these with your designer to illustrate your project ideas. You can make specific boards such as; Kitchen, Master Suite, Bathroom, Laundry, Alfresco, House Exterior, cladding material etc. The more you have the better understanding of your style and ideas the designer has.
Otherwise if you do not know or want the Designer to suggest styles or ideas instead, we are more than happy to make suggestions.




Q. What are Developer Contributions?


Development Contributions are a contribution toward the provision or improvement of amenities or services in your local government area or district. How do contributions fit into the development process? The infrastructure needed to support new homes and communities is identified when land is rezoned, or sometimes earlier. At this point, contributions plans are prepared and allow the State and Local Government to levy a contribution towards the infrastructure needed. The amount of the contribution that needs to be paid is a condition of approval for a development. Payment occurs when the land is finally subdivided or certificates issued to start construction. Development Contributions
Section 7.11 and 7.12 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 allows Councils to charge developers contributions for the public infrastructure that is needed to support new development and provide for the community. Infrastructure that is funded by these contributions can include a new playground or community buildings or road upgrades or the like. The priorities for the plans are outlined in the Operational Plan. Contributions may be in the form of cash payments, transfer or dedication of land to Council, or the provision of a material of public benefit (generally known as works-in-kind). For Council to levy contributions there must be a clear link between the proposed development and the need for the public infrastructure. The purpose of each Contributions Plan is to determine the contribution rates and means of providing the public services and amenities necessary as a result of proposed development within the specific area. The Council usually has separate contribution plans for particular suburbs and districts. Water & Sewer Contributions The Water Supply and Sewerage Development Servicing Plan (DSP) details the contributions that are required to be paid by developers towards the provision of water supply and sewerage infrastructure. These contributions are levied under the Water Management Act, 2000. Council will confirm the fees payable upon determination of an application. When are contributions payable? Payment of contributions is required at specific points of the development process. For development consents: - involving subdivision, payment is required prior to the release of the Subdivision Certificate
- involving building work, payment is required prior to the release of the first Construction Certificate
-involving both subdivision and building work, payment is required prior to the release of the Subdivision Certificate or the first Construction Certificate, whichever occurs first
- where no Construction Certificate or Subdivision Certificate is required, payment is required prior to issue of the first Certificate of Occupancy





GRANNY FLATS (SECONDARY DWELLINGS)

Q. What is a Granny Flat?


A granny flat, or secondary dwelling, is self-contained accommodation within, attached or separate to an individual home. A local Council or accredited certifier can certify granny flats as complying development without the need for a development application (DA), provided they meet the specific development standards in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009. To be allowed to build a granny flat as complying development it must be:

  1. Established in conjunction with another dwelling (the principal dwelling),
  2. On the same lot of land as the principal dwelling (and not an individual lot in a strata plan or community title scheme); and
May be within, attached to, or separate from the principal dwelling




Q. How do I apply for approval of a secondary Dwelling/granny flat?


Firstly you will need to engage an Accredited Building Designer, who is a member of a professional industry body such as Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA), to prepare plans and approval documents required to submit an application for approval. Legislatively there is minimum set and standard for plans and documents required to make an application.

Finally, you or your Building Designer can make an Application for a secondary dwelling (granny flat) either of two ways:

    1. By submitting a CDC to an accredited certifier if it meets the development standards in the State policy (the State Environmental Planning Policy Affordable Rental Housing 2009 - AHSEPP), or
By submitting a DA & CC to your local Council. You will need a DA when the proposed development does not meet the development standards in the AHSEPP.




Q. Do I qualify for fast track approval?


If your proposed development is complying development it qualifies for a fast track approval. You'll need to apply for a complying development certificate (CDC) through your local Council or an accredited certifier but it does mean you avoid a full DA which takes longer.

The standards you must comply with for most complying development works are in the State policy for exempt and complying development, however specific development standards apply to Granny Flats (Secondary Dwellings) and are in the State Environmental Planning Policy Affordable Rental Housing 2009 - AHSEPP. The policy can be viewed at the NSW Legislation website.




Q. Where are granny flats allowed?


Granny flats (also known as secondary dwellings) may be allowed in a number of residential zones. Councils decide if granny flats are permissible in the zones which include:

  • Zone R1 General Residential
  • Zone R2 Low Density Residential
  • Zone R3 Medium Density Residential
  • Zone R4 High Density Residential
  • Zone R5 Large Lot Residential (via development application only)
Equivalent zones for the local Council area (guide to equivalent zones)




Q. What is Complying Development?


Complying development is a fast track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial development. Providing the application meets specific criteria then it can be determined by a Council or accredited certifier without the need for a full DA. Examples of complying development include:

  • development of a granny flat
  • renovations to a home
  • property extensions (up to two storeys)
  • building a swimming pool
  • building a garage or carport
  • the construction of a new industrial building
  • alterations and additions to industrial and commercial buildings
  • the demolition of a building
The standards you must comply with for most complying development works are in the State policy for exempt and complying development (CODES SEPP), however there are other specific development standards that apply to particular developments eg: Granny Flats (Secondary Dwellings) need to comply with the AHSEPP. These policies can be viewed at the NSW Legislation website.




Q. Can a secondary dwelling be established in conjunction with a 'principal dwelling' where the 'principal dwelling' is part of a dual occupancy or residential flat building?


No. Under clause 22 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (AHSEPP), there can only be one other dwelling on the land with the secondary dwelling.




Q. Do other local council planning controls still apply?


The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (AHSEPP), applies to granny flats built as complying development. If the proposed granny flat does not comply with all of the development standards in the AHSEPP you will need to get development approval from your local Council. When lodging a DA with Council, Council controls apply.




Q. Do Development contributions apply?


The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 AHSEPP does not affect the levying of development contributions under Section 7.11 and 7.12of the EP&A Act.
Section 7.11 and 7.12 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 allows Council to charge developers contributions for public infrastructure necessary as a consequence of new development. Contributions may be in the form of cash payments, transfer or dedication of land to Council, or the provision of a material of public benefit (generally known as works-in-kind).




Q. Are Granny flats approved under the SEPP exempt from bushfire and flood planning requirements?


No, the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 AHSEPP does not override bush fire or flood planning requirements.




Q. Does BASIX apply?


The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (AHSEPP) does not change the application of the BASIX requirements. Read more about how BASIX applies to granny flats (secondary dwellings) and which BASIX tool to use.




Q. What are the Approval Times for fast tracked Approval vs Development Application?


A granny flat may be approved through the Fast Tracked Approval process within 20 days by a Council or accredited certifier as long as it meets the complying development provisions listed in Schedule 1 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009.

A granny Flat may be approved by Council through lodgement of a Development Application.
If your proposed building work or renovation is neither exempt nor complying development you’ll need to submit a DA through your local Council. Dependent on Council policy, the Council will publicly exhibit the application, and then make a decision on it. Each assessment timeframe is dependent upon the complexity of the proposed development, notification requirements, agency referral timeframes and other factors. Usually the process can take weeks to months and you should be notified by mail of the outcome (though you may be able to track progress online). The Local Development Performance Monitoring (LDPM) provides an overview of the performance of the NSW planning system statistics on performance of all NSW Council’s. The Statistics show the average gross determination times across the State for DA’s in the 2013-14 year were an average of 70 gross days and a median of 40 gross days taken to process a DA.

If you cannot meet complying development controls, or do not qualify for fast tracked approval, then, lodging a DA is an avenue for approval suitable for your development.




Q. Do I tell my neighbours and what do I tell them?


Building works can cause neighbours disruption, therefore talking with your neighbours can sometimes help alleviate some of their concerns. Talking to your neighbours is a good idea whether your building project is big or small. And can save trouble down tack.

Pre-approval notification

Pre-approval notification to neighbours within a 20 metre radius of your property boundary is required in metropolitan areas. A certifier or council is required to inform that you have applied for a complying development certificate 14 days before it can be approved. This neighbour notification must be in writing, the notice may be given in person, through a letter box or via the post. If a lot contains an apartment building or is a dual occupancy, the occupier of each individual home/apartment must be notified. Neighbours can request to see the plans of the complying development, however, there is no obligation for the applicant to make these available. While there is no formal pre-approval notification required in residential release areas and most rural and regional areas, it is still a good idea to make your neighbours aware of any development proposals.

Pre-construction notification

Once your complying development certificate has been issued, you, as the owner must notify neighbours at least seven (7) days prior to any work commencing. This notice is for their information only, neighbours cannot make a submission on a neighbouring complying development. This requirement also applies to commercial and industrial developments close to residential areas. Major building works inevitably cause disruption but talking through your designs and likely time-frame with neighbours will help address concerns before the work begins.

For further information and template letters visit https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/building-or-renovating/do-i-qualify-fast-track-approval/notifying-neighbours




Q. Do my neighbours get notified about Building applications?


Generally Yes, however the notification is different depending on the Building works and approval process undertaken. Some types of complying development require neighbours to be notified either prior to approval or prior to commencement of works.




Q. Are granny flats permissible in rural zones?


They may be. Granny flats can’t be built as a complying development in rural zones. You may be able to build a granny flat in a rural zone through a development application. Check with your council to see if granny flats are allowed in your area.




Q. What happens if there is a conflict between the controls in a local environmental plan (LEP) and the AHSEPP?


If there is an inconsistency between the AHSEPP and the relevant Council’s LEP, the provisions of the AHSEPP will override those in the extent of the inconsistency





COMPLYING DEVELOPMENT (FAST TRACKED APPROVAL)

Q. What is Complying Development?


Complying development is a fast track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial development. Providing the application meets specific criteria then it can be determined by a Council or accredited certifier without the need for a full DA. Examples of complying development include:

  • development of a granny flat
  • renovations to a home
  • property extensions (up to two storeys)
  • building a swimming pool
  • building a garage or carport
  • the construction of a new industrial building
  • alterations and additions to industrial and commercial buildings
  • the demolition of a building
The standards you must comply with for most complying development works are in the State policy for exempt and complying development (CODES SEPP), however there are other specific development standards that apply to particular developments eg: Granny Flats (Secondary Dwellings) need to comply with the AHSEPP. These policies can be viewed at the NSW Legislation website.




Q. Do I tell my neighbours and what do I tell them?


Building works can cause neighbours disruption, therefore talking with your neighbours can sometimes help alleviate some of their concerns. Talking to your neighbours is a good idea whether your building project is big or small. And can save trouble down tack.

Pre-approval notification

Pre-approval notification to neighbours within a 20 metre radius of your property boundary is required in metropolitan areas. A certifier or council is required to inform that you have applied for a complying development certificate 14 days before it can be approved. This neighbour notification must be in writing, the notice may be given in person, through a letter box or via the post. If a lot contains an apartment building or is a dual occupancy, the occupier of each individual home/apartment must be notified. Neighbours can request to see the plans of the complying development, however, there is no obligation for the applicant to make these available. While there is no formal pre-approval notification required in residential release areas and most rural and regional areas, it is still a good idea to make your neighbours aware of any development proposals.

Pre-construction notification

Once your complying development certificate has been issued, you, as the owner must notify neighbours at least seven (7) days prior to any work commencing. This notice is for their information only, neighbours cannot make a submission on a neighbouring complying development. This requirement also applies to commercial and industrial developments close to residential areas. Major building works inevitably cause disruption but talking through your designs and likely time-frame with neighbours will help address concerns before the work begins.

For further information and template letters visit https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/building-or-renovating/do-i-qualify-fast-track-approval/notifying-neighbours




Q. What are the Approval times for Fast Tracked (Complying Development) Approval vs Development Application (consent)?


Complying Development (upto 20days)

If your property and proposed development qualify for complying development you'll need to apply for a complying development certificate (CDC) through your local Council or an accredited certifier but it does mean you avoid a full Development Application (DA) which takes longer. A development may be approved through the Fast Tracked process within 20 days by a Council or accredited certifier as long as it meets the complying development provisions of the relevant State Environmental Planning Policy.

Development Application (DA) (weeks to months)

If your proposed building work or renovation is neither exempt nor complying development you’ll need to submit a DA through your local Council. Dependent on Council policy, the Council will publicly exhibit the application, and then make a decision on it. Each assessment timeframe is dependent upon the complexity of the proposed development, notification requirements, agency referral timeframes and other factors. Usually the process can take weeks to months and you should be notified by mail (or email) of the outcome (though you may be able to track progress online). The Local Development Performance Monitoring (LDPM) provides an overview of the performance of the NSW planning system statistics on performance of all NSW Council’s. The Statistics show the average gross determination times across the State for DA’s in the 2013-14 year were an average of 70 gross days and a median of 40 gross days taken to process a DA.

Which option?

Depending if you qualify for Complying Development, or not, will determine whether you can lodge a CDC. You will need more information upfront prior to lodging the CDC, this is why it is fast tracked. A DA requires certiain infomration and additional information can be obtained while the DA is being processed, making use of this time.

If you do not qualify for or meet strict Complying Development critera then your will need to lodge a DA with your Local Council. You can still opt for a Private Certifier to undertake the Construction Certificate, or also use Council, to undertake inspections and issue the Occupation Certificate (operate as PCA).

The Verdict!

A CDC if you can, however in our experience you will require the same quantity of information, just at slightly diffent times for your approval, and won't significantly effect the total timeframe of the building design and approval timeline. It will depend on your property, development proposal and timeline.

We can help suggest which option is best suitable. In the end you will receive an approval and Hey that's what your after afterall. Call us to discuss your specific project.





CHOOSING A REPUTABLE BUILDER

Q. How do I choose a reputable builder or tradesperson?


Don't trust just anyone to build you a home or undertake work at your house. There are many builders and tradespeople out there. Some are good and some are not. If you are building a new home or other type of project or development, you want to make sure you choose a lisenced and reputable builder or tradesperson.

See our "Tips for ensuring your building project is a success".




I. Tips for ensuring your building project is a success


Here are our tips for ensuring your building project is a success:

● Make a list of potential builders/ tradespeople.
Check is they are affiliated with a recognised association. Contact the Housing Industry Association (HIA) or the Master Builders Association for builders in your area or, better yet, ask friends and family or Building Designer for recommendations. This way you know your off to a good start.

● Always ask the builder/ tradesperson for their licence number and do a license check.
Visit NSW Fair Trading Website to do a free license check. Anyone doing residential work will require an appropriate lisence for works costing more than $5000 contract value inclusing labour and materials. Anyone without an appropriate licence is breaking the law and could be prosecuted. Be careful of builders (or trades people) providing multiple contracts less than this amount. ALL specialist work regarless of cost must be licensed, this includes:electrical wiring,plumbing, draining and gasfitting work and air conditioning and refrigeration work (except plug-in appliances).

● Do they have proper insurance?

It is important to check the contractor has all the necessary insurance cover to protect you and your home if something goes wrong. Depending on your project different issues and types of insurance that may be required:
- Home Building Compensation Fund Insurance
- Builders All-Risk Insurance
- Public Liability Insurance
- Workers Compensation or Insurance
- Kit homes and Insurance
- Contracts Insurance

Go to the Insurance page on NSW Fair Trading Website for an explanations and for more information on insurances.

● Get the right person for the job

For example If you want your gutters replaced or your plumbing fixed or electrical work done, you need a tradesperson. If you want to add another bedroom or build a new home, you need a builder to organise the right tradespeople to do the work. Be careful of tradespersons asking for you to obtain your owner builder license so they can do the work under your lisence, they are probably not adequatley lisenced and adequatley insured to do the project and want you to take the responsibility. As an Owner Builder you take responsibility the same as the Builder would.

● Be prepared and make a list of all the things you want included in your home.
Be as detailed as possible for this list. If you know products or materials or finishes etc put it all down in written form. It will help the builder prepare a more accurate quote and it will help avoid any unexpected adtional costs later. Use this as a form of client specification, and provide to any quoting builder or trades person.

● Obtain atleast 3 quotes
Obtain a written itemised quotation clearly showing what is included or excluded in the price from atleast 3 builders or tradespeople. This will help you work out what is a cheap quote, be careful of those, and is a good number and if they come in similar look at them closely to see if there are any differences in the quotes details. Review each carefully, cheaper is not better and most expensive doesn't always mean better.

● See examples of work and talk to previous clients.
Ask the Builder/ Tradesperson for former clients contact details for similar projects to yours and follow them up. FInd out exactly what the builder was like to work with and were they professional, reasonable, on time and on budget?. Write a list of questions. The more you ask the more information and clarity on whether this is the builder suited to you and your project.

Some example questions you can ask:
- Was the project finished on time?
- Did they stay close to the quoted costs?
- Was there proper supervision of the other tradespeople?
- Did any defective work get fixed promptly?
- Would they recommend the contractor?
- And importantly, was there good communication with the contractor?
- Anything unexpected come up during the project that had to be adressed and how was it handled?

Visit NSW Fair Trading Website for more Information on Building, engaging a builder/ tradesperson and Questions to ask your tradesperson or builder. Visit the Questions to ask page or browse other helpful information pages on their website.





DESIGNING YOUR NEW HOME


GET IN  TOUCH

15A Mitchell Street, Norah Head NSW 2263

Phone (02) 43961211   Email admin@coastlinedesign.com.au

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