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Development Application vs Complying Development Certificate, for Your New Home

When you are looking to build a new home, you are presented with two options for getting your build approved: Development Application (DA) or Complying Development Certificate (CDC). One option may be more suitable for you than the other, this will depend on:

  • The council you are building in
  • The home you are building
  • The time frame you have to build

What is Development Application?

DA is an application submitted to your local council, with information such as: what development will look like when completed, the materials to be used, and any impact that the development may have on the surrounding area. Specific requirements you need to supply when submitting a DA will vary depending on the local council your block resides.

What is Complying Development Certificate?

CDC has been in place in NSW since 1998. The rules for getting an application approved through CDC are the same throughout NSW, regardless of the local council you block resides in. This was put in place so that low impact developments can bypass local councils when getting development, saving both time and money.

Difference between DA and CPC

Development Application
Complying Development Certificate
Approx. Approval Time Up to 3 months Up to 6-8 weeks
Rules Up to interpretation of the council when reviewing the application.


Very clear and strict rules.
PROs – Designs that do not comply with CDC can potentially be approved by the council.
– The council allow more leniency in certain areas, whereas CDC is very strict.
– Much faster than applying through DA.
– Applications can be accepted before registration of the land.
CONs Takes longer to get a result.
Can only submit once the land has been registered.
No leniency to rules whatsoever.


Apart from getting approval through DA or CDC, you will also need to check that your new home complies with the guidelines of the estate that you are building in. New estates often have specific guidelines to ensure that the streetscape of the estate remains consistent. Some examples of restrictions include:

  • External colours
  • Types of materials used on the facade of the home
  • Types of plants allowed in the gardens

Estate guidelines will be made available to you when you purchase the new block of land. Your builder should also be able to help ensure that your new home meets all those requirements before the build commences.

10 mistakes every new house builder should avoid.

If you have any questions or concerns about complying with development or estate guidelines, don’t hesitate to ask your builder to help you understand how these may or may not affect you.

Related Articles:

New Home Build Inspections – Free Guide

Building A New House – Understanding Soil Tests

New Home Inclusions – Eliminate hidden costs

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