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Getting Your DA Through Council

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Speak to anyone who's built or renovated a property, and chances are they'll warn you about red tape. Works are often delayed due to development applications getting held up at the local council.

In NSW, news reports suggest development applications or DA's take more than 100 days to be assessed. In fact, a story in The Australian newsletter reported that the number of councils taking that long to approve DA's has almost doubled during the past 12 months.

The report goes on to note that NSW DAs increased from an average of 68 days in 2010-11 to 71 days in 2011-12. If you need your project to be done, such lengthy delays are likely to halt your progress.

Worth the Gamble?

It's not hard to believe that given these delays, some homeowners choose to march ahead with construction before having council approval. While this will get your home built quicker, if council catches on and takes you to court, it will be torn down just as fast.

How to Get Your DA Through Council

So what can you do to reduce the wait time and get your DA through council? Consider these tips:

· Check council processing times via the Local Development Performance Monitoring section of the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure site. In other states, check with your local government planning department.

· Choose a simple build or renovation . Your DA is likely to take longer to process if it contains geotechnical, arborist, bushfire or other reports.

· Ask the council what you need. Many councils have a handout detailing the documents you'll need to include in your DA. This may include several copies of the application forms, plans and drawings, BASIX Certificate, environmental impact statement and a fee.

· Chat to a town planner , who can advise you on the document you'll need to submit to council. In 2010, more than one third of DAs were returned due to missing information. If you submit a complete application, you can reduce your approval time. In fact, incomplete applications can delay your approval by up to 47 days!

· Ask your builder . They may be able to help you compile and send your DA to council.

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