The application process


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Development application process upgrade

We are improving our processing of development applications by shifting to an electronic lodgement system.

From Monday, 26 November applicants can submit their plans as electronic documents on a USB, CD or via email.

Customer service staff will help scan documents onto a USB, until the transition to the new system is complete on 1 February 2019.

Do I need to submit a Development Application?

If your development is not exempt or complying development, you need to prepare and lodge a Development Application.

Most development in our local area requires the preparation and lodgement of a Development Application. 

Development is described as:

  • using land
  • subdividing land
  • erecting a building
  • carrying out work
  • pruning or removing trees
  • demolition
  • any other matter controlled by an environmental planning policy (Kiama Local Environmental Plan 2011).

What is exempt development?

Exempt development is minor development.

It doesn't require you to prepare and submit a Development Application to Council.

It can be carried out in most parts of the Kiama Municipality, except on some:

  • environmentally sensitive land (such as below a foreshore building line or on bushfire-prone land)
  • land containing heritage items.

Check the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (SEPP) to find whether your plans are exempt development. 

If it isn't exempt or complying development, you will need to submit a DA.

What is complying development?

Complying development is some residential small-scale, commercial and industrial development.

It does not apply to:

  • environmentally sensitive land
  • land containing heritage items
  • foreshore areas. 

It can be approved by an accredited Council certifier or a private certifier.

The aim of the complying development application process is to have a decision made on your application within 21 days. 

To qualify for complying development you must:

  1. comply with Building Code of Australia (BCA) standards
  2. satisfy all development standards and land requirements in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (SEPP)
  3. Complete the relevant form:

 Complying Development Certificate application form

 Application to Modify a Complying Development Certificate

If approved, you will receive a complying development certificate.

How do I submit a Development Application?

If your proposal doesn't meet the criteria for exempt or complying development, you'll need to prepare and submit a Development Application.

Read NSW Planning & Environment Department's Guide to the Development Assessment process for more information.

Use our Building & Development checklists to help you with your submission.

Complete the relevant form:

  Development and Construction Certificate application form

 Application to Modify Consent


  • one printed copy of all information required
  • electronic versions (clearly titled PDF, USB stick, DVD, CD) of:
    • plans larger than A3 size 
    • documents of more than 10 pages each (consultant reports, statements of environmental effects, specifications, etc).

I need help with my Development Application

Development Assessment Unit meetings

Council's DAU assist customers who are considering the following development types:

  • dual occupancy
  • units of 3 or more dwellings
  • new commercial
  • new industrial
  • large scale proposals.

Before submitting a DA, you can attend a Development Assessment Unit (DAU) meeting to discuss your proposed development and address any issues.

The DAU team includes our:

  • Senior Town Planner
  • Senior Building Surveyor
  • Landscape Officer
  • Subdivision and Development Engineer. 

Our DAU also invites professionals from other Council departments depending on the type of proposal to be discussed.

The DAU meets Wednesday afternoons to discuss development proposals that require referral and assessment by each member. 

Request a DAU meeting by completing the DAU meeting form and emailing it to

Council will contact you to confirm the next available DAU meeting time.

All proposed development subject to Chapter 5 - Medium Density Development of Kiama's DCP 2012 must be considered at a DAU meeting. 

It includes development:

  • that comprises at least 3 dwellings 
  • is classified as Residential Flat Buildings, Multi Dwelling Housing, Boarding Houses, Group Homes, Attached dwellings, Seniors Housing and Shop Top Housing.

A fee, in accordance with Council's current fees and charges will also be charged for a design assessment by an independent architect, appointed by Council to provide written advice and attend the designated DAU meeting, on the design/character issues of the proposed Medium Density Development.

Questions about DAU meetings? Contact Council's Planning Division on (02) 4232 0444.

Development Assessment consultations

Council's DA staff are available for consultation at Council's Customer Service counter between 8.30am and 11am Monday to Friday. 

Appointments may be made outside these hours directly with the officer concerned, subject to availability.

What happens next?

Once you submit your DA, we aim to have it processed within 40 days. 

This depends on its complexity and the number of submissions lodged at the time. 

In many cases, processing times are less than 40 days.

What happens after approval?

If your DA is approved, you'll receive a Development Consent. 

This is formal consent for your development to go ahead.

It will contain conditions that you must legally comply with. 

It is divided into different headings that usually follow the sequence for a development.

Do I need a Construction Certificate?

Your Development Consent will state if you are required to obtain a Construction Certificate.

A Construction Certificate may be issued by Council or a private accredited certifier.

 Application for Construction Certificate

What is a Principal Certifying Authority?

A Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is a person accredited by the Building Professionals Board to carry out inspections and issue Occupation Certificates (OC) for approved developments.

Their role is to ensure the development is carried out so that it meets requirements of the Development Consent and the Building Code of Australia, and complies with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A PCA can be either a Council Officer or a privately accredited person. 

Complete this form:

 Notice of commencement of work/appointment of principal certifying authority

Only the owner of the property where the development is taking place may complete this form and submit it a minimum of 2 days before any work starts.

What is an Occupation Certificate?

An Occupation Certificate is approval to use the development.

It is issued by your PCA once he/she is satisfied the development has been completed in line with the Development Consent. 

 Application for Occupation Certificate


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