DA Process


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

Your Guide to the Planning Process by the NSW Department of Planning provides useful information on the planning system in NSW. 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 Exempt and Complying Development criteria. 

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 the Development Advice Services we provide.

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

The portal searches for planning controls that apply to your property or land.

Get all required documents

Read our DA Lodgement Guide and refer to the relevant Development Application Checklist (select the checklist that applies to your proposed development) for information on what is required to prepare your application.

Our DA checklists outline the documents you must submit with your application.

These 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 in accordance with our digital requirements. 

Stage 2 - Lodge your DA

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

When a DA is submitted, Council will carry out a completeness check of the supporting information. If further information or clarification is required, the applicant will be notified and asked to provide the information.

Once the information is considered sufficient to lodge, fees will be invoiced. On payment of fees, assessment will commence. So you are aware of 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.

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

After you've lodged your DA

Our Customer Service Officers 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 you'll be contacted by a Customer Service Officer to provide payment details.

Once you've paid relevant fees, you'll be given an application reference number.

This number acknowledges the successful lodgement of your Development Application.

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

Instead, you'll receive written advice from a Customer Service Officer outlining what information is needed to complete your application.

Development Application fees

So you are aware of 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.

We assess your application as a requirement, and in accordance to, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (as amended).

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.

Our Community Participation Plan (CPP)(PDF, 945KB) outlines what's required for notifying the community, depending on the type of development. 

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 General Manager 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.

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?

We'll write to you (the applicant) and provide 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.

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

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.

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

Development Consent is valid for 5 years.

During this time, works must begin or your consent will lapse.

Once your development starts your consent cannot lapse.

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.

It means that:

  • existing development consents that lapsed between 25 March 2020 and 14 May 2020 have a 2-year extension to the lapsing date
  • existing development consents with lapsing dates that fall between 25 March 2020 and 25 March 2022 have a 2-year extension
  • a consent authority cannot reduce the lapsing period for a development consent (5 years) that is granted between 25 March 2020 and 25 March 2022 – so all consents granted in this period will not lapse for a period of 5 years.

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?

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 unaccaptable.

Each require time and cost.

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.

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

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. 

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

Stage 5 - Post-determination

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

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.

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.

You may lodge an application with Council for a Construction Certificate or Subdivision Works Certificate at the same time you lodge an application for development consent, or after development consent is granted.

If you lodge your application after you have obtained development consent you can apply to:

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.

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 complete our Notice to Appoint or Replace Principal Certifying Authority PCA Form(PDF, 668KB)

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 complete our Occupation Certificate Form(PDF, 685KB).

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.

A Subdivision Certificate can be obtained from a Principal Certifier (normally Council).

Subdivision Certificate Application(PDF, 723KB)