The application process


Development Application upgrade 

We have improved the way we process Development Applications (DA) by using an electronic lodgement system.

All of Council’s DA forms have been updated to reflect current best practice and are now interactive PDFs meaning that you can type directly into them. Our lodgement checklists have also been updated to ensure that you submit all the required information once. This helps reduce the processing times, which means that Council issue your DA quicker.

Council no longer requires you to print out multiple copies of your plans. You can now submit plans electronically on a USB, CD or by email.

Council has also prepared a ‘Guide to carrying out Development or an Activity in the Kiama Municipality’ to assist you in the DA process.

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.

You can use the NSW Planning Portal to see if your development could be considered exempt or complying development.

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).

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.

Our guide and appendices explain the steps to the Development Application process and how to prepare and lodge a Complying Development Certificate or a Development Application.

The NSW Department of Planning & Environment's guide also provides information on the Development Application process.

Read these guides:


  1. Complete the relevant forms and checklists (found under Building & Development > Development checklists & guides).
  2. Submit all forms, plans, reports, etc. (except for documents larger than A3) in electronic formats.
    1. For any documents larger than A3, one (1) hard copy of each set of plans is required as well as digital copies.
    2. This can be done by supplying the plans on a USB, disc or via email.
    3. Each document MUST be saved as a separate PDF and no larger than 20MB.
    4. Each document MUST be titled in accordance with Council's naming convention (see Appendix 3).

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 form:

 8 - Complying Development Certificate Application Form

If approved, you will receive a complying development certificate.

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.

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