DA Process


Important note to customers - Increased DA timeframes

Our focus is to provide a great customer experience for you.

Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing unprecedented demand in development applications.

Combined with the impact of Covid 19, the increased demand is resulting in our development assessment timeframes being longer than expected.

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving the application process for our community, we are aligning our processes with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s ‘Development Assessment Best Practice Guide’.

We are working hard towards reducing the timeframes.

Our DA Tracker is available for you to use to check for updates and track your development application.

We apologise for the delays and thank you for your understanding. 


Prior to lodging a development application (DA) with Council it is helpful to understand the requirements and be fully aware of the process.

The NSW Department of Planning provides useful information on the NSW planning system in Your Guide to the Planning Process

This short video explains the process of lodging an application using the NSW Planning Portal.


You need to prepare and submit a Development Application if your development proposal doesn't meet the criteria of Exempt and Complying Development

There are 5 stages to a development application:

  • Preparing your DA
  • Lodging your DA
  • DA Assessment
  • Determination
  • Post-determination.

Follow these stages and we'll take you through what's required and how to prepare and lodge your Development Application.

Stage 1 - Prepare your DA

Development Advice Services

Before you begin take a look at our Development Advice Services.

Next, to help you identify the type of development or use that may be allowed on your property use the NSW Planning Portal.

The portal searches for planning controls that apply to your property or land, including zoning, bushfire prone land and floor to space ratios.

Get all required documents

Read our DA Lodgement Guide.

Find what information is required to prepare your application by referring to the relevant Development Application Checklist.

These DA checklists outline the documents you must submit with your application and depend on the scope of your proposed development.

Electronic lodgement requirements

You must submit all documents associated with your DA in electronic format via the NSW Planning Portal.

To preserve the integrity of your files they must be supplied:

  • in portable document format (PDF)
  • no larger than 20MB per document. 

If a documents is larger than 20MB, it must be saved in parts and renamed accordingly.

Each PDF document must be saved and renamed according to our digital requirements. 

Stage 2 - Lodge your DA

DAs (including modifications and reviews) must be submitted to Council using the NSW Planning Portal.

We will check your application to make sure all the required documents are included.

This will happen within 7-10 business days.

If your application is complete we will contact you through the NSW Planning Portal to request payment of lodgement fees. 

We will provide you with a Council reference number.

Please reference this number when contacting Council about your DA.

If your application is unclear, incomplete, or relevant fees are not paid, it will not be formally lodged.

If minor pieces of information are missing from your application we will contact you through the NSW Planning Portal. 

If your application is incomplete, unclear, or if the requested fees are not paid we will return the application to you, through the NSW Planning Portal and it will not be formally lodged.

This short video provides a simple explanation of how to use the Portal to lodge a DA.

Lodgement fees

To understand the fees that will apply if your DA is accepted, we suggest you request a fee estimate.

Your payment options are:

  • credit card over the phone (Visa or MasterCard)
  • cheque sent by post
  • cheque, card or cash in person at our Customer Service Centre.


Stage 3 - DA Assessment

Track your DA

You can follow the progress of your lodged DA via our DA Tracker

During this stage we take your DA through the required:

  • notification and public exhibition period
  • referrals to other agencies
  • assessment against the various planning policies and regulations.

Notification and public exhibition 

Depending on your development proposal, it may require us to notify adjoining properties and/or public exhibition in the newspaper.

An outline of what's required for notifying the community, depending on the type of development can be found in our Community Participation Plan (CPP).(PDF, 945KB)

In some cases, minor development may not require any notification or public exhibition at all.

Applications on exhibition can be viewed on our DA Tracker during their exhibition period.

How to make a submission on a DA


When we assess your application, we must consider a number of statutory matters.

You can find these outlined in Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

They include:

  • provision of any enacted or draft environmental planning instrument, such as State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP's), and Kiama Local Environmental Plans.
  • Kiama Development Control Plan (DCP) 2020.
  • likely impacts of the development, including environmental impacts on both natural and built environments, and social and economic impacts in the locality.
  • suitability of the site for the development
  • advice from internal and external agencies
  • any submissions made
  • public interest.

Council or the consent authority may either:

  • grant you development consent (usually subject to a number of conditions)
  • refuse your application.

Stage 4 - Determination

Council Officers have delegation from our CEO and our elected Council (our Councillors) to determine (decide on) certain applications on behalf of Council. 

Our elected Council determines applications that are not within staff delegation.

The Southern Regional Planning Panel determines Regionally Significant and certain other DAs.

The Panel is an independent body and their determination is not subject to the direction of the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

After a DA is determined, you'll be issued with a Notice of Determination.

If your development is approved this is also known as a Development Consent.

What happens when my application is determined?

You will receive correspondence via the NSW Planning Portal providing you with your Notice of Determination within 14 days of the decision date.

If your application is approved, you'll receive a copy of the conditions of consent, stamped approved plans, and any other relevant documents.

These will be uploaded to the NSW Planning Portal. 

If your application is refused, you will receive the Notice of Determination with reasons for its refusal via the NSW Planning Portal. 

Conditions of approval

Development Consents are generally valid for 5 years unless it specifies a shorter time. 

All development consents will have a number of conditions attached.

It is vitally important that you read and understand all of them.

If you fail to comply with requirements your development may:

  • be stopped
  • have fines imposed
  • rectification orders issued against you and/or the builder.

During the valid Development Consent time, works must begin or your consent will lapse. 

Once your development starts your consent cannot lapse. 

If you have any queries about your conditions contact your Assessment Officer (their name appears toward the end of your consent notice).

Special COVID-19 arrangements for development consents

Special arrangements apply to development consents that may have been affected by COVID-19. 

They apply to consents issued between 25 March 2020 to 25 March 2022 and which have not lapsed.

Changes to the Act have also been made to extend the time period for compliance with deferred commencement conditions.

Can lapsing of consent be prevented?

Yes, once your development starts your consent cannot lapse. 

Development consent for the construction of a building, subdivision of land, or the carrying out of a work, will lapse on the date specified unless all of the following happen beforehand:

  • building, engineering or construction work is started
  • the work is physically commenced
  • the work relates to the approved development.

What can I do if I don't like Council's decision?

You have the 3 options if your DA is refused or granted with conditions you find unacceptable. 

You can:

  • request a Section 8.2 review of determination
  • start an appeal to the Land and Environment Court
  • change your proposal and re-lodge an application.

For more information see our Guide to carrying out Development or an Activity in the Kiama Municipality(PDF, 1MB).

Modifying your plans or conditions of approval

To change your approved plans or your conditions or approval, you can apply for a Modification of Consent under Section 4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. 

For more information see our Guide to carrying out Development or an Activity in the Kiama Municipality(PDF, 1MB).

Applications for Modifications and Reviews need to be made via the NSW Planning Portal

Stage 5 - Post-determination

If you receive development consent you may require other applications, certificates, or notices for your development proposal.

You can apply for such applications, Certificates, or Notices via the NSW Planning Portal.

Check your Development Consent and Conditions to ensure you comply with all requirements

Construction Certificates (CC)

You must obtain a Construction Certificate or a Subdivision Works Certificate before starting building or subdivision.

A Construction Certificate (CC) is an approval to carry out building work in line with your development consent.

To apply for a Construction Certificate, please use the NSW Planning Portal.

Subdivision Works Certificates (SWC)

A Subdivision Works Certificate is an approval to carry out subdivision works in line with your development consent.

It certifies that subdivision work will be completed in keeping with specified plans, and that specifications will comply with any requirements in the regulations.  

A Subdivision Works Certificate is issued at the start of the construction process, before any subdivision works.

A Subdivision Certificate is issued at the end of the development/construction process.

The Subdivision Certificate authorises the registration of a plan of subdivision. 

Once you have development consent and an approved Construction Certificate or Subdivision Works Certificate you must:

  • appoint a Principal Certifying Authority, and
  • provide at least 2 days' notice to Council of your intention to start building or subdivision works.

Apply for a Subdivision Works Certificate via the NSW Planning Portal.

Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)

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

A PCA's role is to ensure the development is carried out so that it meets the requirements of the Development Consent, 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.

To nominate Council as your PCA  please use the NSW Planning Portal.

Occupation Certificates (OC) 

An Occupation Certificate is an approval to use the development. 

Your PCA issues an Occupation Certificate once they are satisfied your development is completed in line with the Development Consent.

If Council is your PCA please apply for an Occupation certificate via the NSW Planning Portal.

Subdivision Certificates (SC)

A Subdivision Certificate is similar to an Occupation Certificate for a building.

It is typically issued towards the end of the development process, when works are complete or substantially complete.

A Subdivision Certificate certifies that new lots are ready to be registered.

It authorises the registration of a plan of subdivision under Part 23 of the Conveyancing Act 1919.

If Council is your PCA, please apply for a Subdivision Certificate via the NSW Planning Portal.