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What is a development application?

From 1 January 2021, most development applications and certificates must be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.

Find out more

Many forms of development require Council approval, this is called development consent. Find out if you need development consent.

You apply for development consent by lodging a development application (DA).

You may need to provide technical reports and plans with your DA application.

The DA process can be confusing. The information below will help you prepare and lodge a DA.

Building a new home or renovating?

DA’s are required for all types of development on your property.

Building plans

Development includes:

  • new house, shed, carport, garage or awning
  • alterations or additions to an existing dwelling or business
  • structural changes to create a home business at your premises
  • swimming pool installation
  • demolishing a structure
  • removing a tree

State and local planning legislation and policies set the rules that control what development can occur on your land.

Use the Property search to find out if there are any planning and development constraints on the land. This will help you understand the development potential of a property.

Find out more about buying or selling property and designing a home.

Where do I start?

Use the links below to learn more about the DA process:

Working with Council

Having the right information at the start could save you time and money.

Get advice

Council is committed to planning for the future and making sure the Tweed remains a great place to live.

We assess applications against increasingly complex planning and building codes.

Talk to us first

The DA process can be confusing. We encourage you to make an appointment to discuss your plans.

Do I need development consent from Council?

Check if you need development approval.

Understanding the DA process

These are the steps for a DA approval:

Pre lodgement (preparation)

Speak to Council about your plans and find out:

  • whether you need approval
  • which forms you need to fill out
  • what documentation you need to provide
  • the fees you need to pay

Get informed, ask questions and review the checklists. Does your development sit comfortably in the neighbourhood? Will your development impact your neighbours?


  • When lodging a DA you must provide the correct documentation and pay the fee.
  • You must provide enough detail for Council to make a decision.
  • Fees are set in regulation and are based on the estimated cost of your development.

From 1 January 2021, DAs need to be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.

Notification and public comment

Neighbours must be notified of a DA by letter. A notification fee is charged when a DA is lodged.

Some developments also need to be advertised for public comment.


Council officers will:

  • carry out a site inspection
  • consult with the relevant departments
  • assess the application against legislation and policies

The assessment process often reveals the need for more information or changes to plans.

Decision (determination)

Decisions about DAs are made by Council officers or at Council meetings.

Once a decision is made you will receive a Notice of Determination telling you the DA has been approved or refused. Conditions may be placed on your development consent.

Why are DAs required?

Planning controls are in place to manage the environmental, economic and social impacts of development.

A DA is required to:

  • manage the cumulative effects of development
  • avoid negative impacts on the environment
  • ensure impacts on amenity are considered
  • ensure new developments are in keeping with the area
  • allow community members to raise issues
  • ensure that infrastructure is provided (such as stormwater drainage)
  • ensure buildings are structurally safe, ventilated and protected from fire

The DA process helps to ensure balanced and considered outcomes for all.

Planning system graphic

Land use and planning controls

The planning system is controlled at national, state and local levels of government.

DA assessments are guided by:

LEPs and SEPPs are Environmental Planning Instruments that consider local and state issues.

SEPPs deal with issues that are important to the whole state. Not every SEPP will be relevant to your DA.

Local Environmental Plans (LEPs)

Each council has its own LEPs. They list the types of development allowed in each zone (and those that do not need development consent).

Development Control Plan (DCP)

The Tweed Development Control Plan (DCP) provides detailed design and planning guidelines on specific issues:

  • building design, siting and size
  • access to sunlight
  • view sharing
  • landscaping
  • car parking
  • heritage
  • stormwater treatment
  • waste management
  • fences and walls
  • subdivisions

The DCP provide guidance only, which means there can be flexibility to make variations when supported by a good argument in your DA.

Next steps

I have development consent, what’s next?

Your development consent is an approval to carry out the development proposed in your DA. Make sure you read any conditions and know what needs to be completed before, during and after construction.

Before you start any building work you need a Construction Certificate (approval to build).


We’re working to improve our DA process and welcome your feedback.

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