The DA Process

Carrying out development in the City of Canada Bay may need written approval from Council.  Below you will find information on what types of development require approval and the process of obtaining approval and completing your development.

Development proposals also often include the need for new or altered driveways off the public road. You will find detailed information on the driveway approval process below.

Related information

Step 1 - Does your development require approval?

If your development is of a minor nature, you may not require approval to carry out the work.  Council and the NSW Government have adopted policies that specify minimum criteria you must satisfy in order to not require an approval from Council.  If your proposal falls outside the minimum criteria, you may be able to obtain approval through Council as a Complying Development Certificate.  To find out if your development can be approved as Complying Development, please refer to the Complying Development web page or the Department of Planning and Infrastructure web page at If your proposal is not exempt from approval or Complying Development, you will then need to submit a Development Application to Council.

Step 2 - Review with the Local Environment Plan (LEP) and the Development Control Plan (DCP)

Council has adopted plans, policies and strategies to guide future development within the City of Canada Bay.  You should review these documents to find out how they will affect your proposal and to ensure that you address all relevant controls in the design of your development and when preparing your Statement of Environmental Effects for your Development Application. Please refer to our Planning Controls page.

Step 3 - Talk to Council, your Neighbours and Consultants before you prepare your application

Lodging a Development Application can be complicated and at a minimum you may need to employ a draftsperson or designer to prepare the plans and other documents required for your proposal.  For more complex applications, you may need an architect or a qualified town planning consultant to assist you with the preparation of plans and your Statement of Environmental Effects.  A planning consultant can also advise you on whether other professionals such as a heritage architect, traffic engineer, hydraulics engineer or surveyor may be required.  Please note:  Council is unable to recommend professionals to you but you can contact professional bodies such as the Planning Institute of Australia on 9280 2121 or the Australian Institute of Architectson 9356 3122 and they can provide details of appropriate planners or architects who may be able to assist you.

Step 4 - Preparing and submitting your application

To ensure that you have all the information necessary to submit your development application, Council has adopted a series of checklists for different types of development. The checklists set out the minimum and any additional requirements for a development application and the number of copies of documents required.

You should read the relevant checklist carefully and sign and submit it with your application. If your proposal involves two or more development types such as a dwelling house and a swimming pool, you will need to submit all information required from both.

You can lodge your application at our Customer Service Centre, 1A Marlborough Street, Drummoyne between 8.30am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday. Please Note: ensure you arrive before 3.30pm so there is sufficient time to thoroughly check and lodge your application. Please ensure you have your completed application form, checklist and plans and documents with you. Our Customer Service and Planning Administration staff will check everything while you wait to ensure that you have all necessary information to lodge your application. You will also need to pay your application fees – see below for more information.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted and will be returned to you with notations on your checklist of any plans and documents that have not been provided. If your application is ready to be accepted, you will be allocated a development application number and a receipt for your fees.

Related Information

Step 5 - Documentation required for a Development Application (DA) - Note: Electronic copies of documentation

Council's Development Application Forms, Checklists and DA Appendix are all designed to assist you in preparing and lodging the correct plans and documentation with your Development Application. To view these refer to our Forms page.

Please note that Council also requires all application forms, plans and associated documentation required for a Development Application or a Section 4.55 Modification (see Step 11) to be lodged in an electronic format.  The number of hard copies listed on the relevant DA Checklist or the Section 4.55 Checklist will also still be required to be submitted but in addition to this all such documents and plans will need to be submitted as an electronic version using a CD or USB or similar device.  Refer to the Electronic Copies for Development Applications Fact Sheet for further information.

Step 6 - Public Notification

Most Development Applications are placed on public notification generally for three weeks and this involves the following:

  • A notice will be placed on the site
  • A letter with a copy of your plans attached is sent to owners and occupiers of adjoining and nearby land
  • Plans and documents are placed on Council's Online DA Tracking Tool.

During the notification period, the community may raise concerns with your proposal by making a written submission to Council.  These submissions will be reviewed by the assessing planner and you will be given the opportunity to respond to the issues raised by objectors before your application is determined. Please note: all submissions are published on Council's web page for public viewing.

Step 7 - Assessment of your application

Council is required to take into account matters for consideration contained in Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act) when assessing Development Applications. These following matters are included:

  •  Any State Plan for Local Environmental Plan

These are important statutory controls for assessing a development application and include documents such as the Canada Bay Local Environmental Plan 2013.  This Plan sets out what types of development are permitted and what types are prohibited on your land.

  • Any Draft Plan that has been Placed on Public Exhibition

Council sometimes reviews its statutory controls.  During any review, Council is required to ensure that development proposals are not only consistent with existing controls, but the also the future planning intentions of Council and the community as indicated in draft Local Environmental Plan. 

  • Any Development Control Plan (DCP)

The Canada Bay DCP is designed to provide more detailed guidance for various types of proposed development and often contain requirements that seek to control the impact that your development might have on a neighbour's property.  You should review the parts of the DCP that are relevant to your proposal and demonstrate how you satisfy the requirements within in your Statement of Environmental Effects. 

  • The Likely Impacts of the Development

This consideration requires Council to assess how your development responds to its surrounding natural and built environment and, in particular, how it relates to the character of the neighbourhood.  This does not mean that the development has to be identical to other buildings in the street or area but it does mean that, in terms of height and size for example, the development should reflect the character of the locality in which it is to be located.  Other issues that fall within, 'likely impacts' include solar access, visual and acoustic privacy and view corridors.

 Please refer to the Canada Bay Development Control Plan for further guidance on these matters. 

  • The Suitability of the Site for the Development

This consideration requires Council to assess your development against constraints that may affect the development potential of certain sites such as natural hazards including flooding or land subsidence, significant trees or threatened species, the effect of heritage listings, transport demands, and availability of open space and recreation areas etc. 

  • Any Submissions made and the Public Interest

As mentioned in Step 6, Council places the majority of Development Applications it receives on public notification.  Council is required to take into consideration matters raised in submissions during the assessment of an application.

  • Any Advice provided by the Design Review Panel

Certain residential flat buildings and mixed use applications will be referred to Council’s Design Review Panel.  The Panel will review the proposal, visit the site and meet with Council and the applicant.  The role of the Panel is to provide independent, expert advice on the design quality of development. 

Step 8 - Determination of your application

Council must either approve or refuse your Development Application.  Applications are determined in two ways - either by delegated authority granted to the officers of the Council or by the Canada Bay Local Planning Panel.

Conditions of consent

Council has a variety of standard conditions which are used to control the way in which a development is constructed or how a premises is used following approval. 

These standard conditions have been collated into a single standard conditions document for quick reference. 

Step 9 - Review and appeals

If Council has refused your Development Application and you are not satisfied with the decision, you can apply to have the application reconsidered by Council under Sections 8.2-8.5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.  You can include any amendments or supporting documents with your Request for a Review.  Please see our Application to Review a Determination form for further information.  Prior to seeking a review, it may be advisable to obtain advice from a planning consultant or a legal practitioner who practices in planning law.

You may also appeal the decision of Council, including any conditions placed on your application if it has been approved, to the Land and Environment Court.  Sections 8.6-8.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 provides further information on your Appeal rights.  Prior to considering this option, it is advisable to obtain advice from a legal practitioner who practices in planning law.

Step 10 - Construction phase

If your approved proposal involves building work, you will need to get a Construction Certificate before you start your works.  Full details of Council's Construction Certificate service can be found on our Building Certification/PCA Services page.

Step 11 - Amending your approved development

Before or during the construction process or as you start operating your new business etc, it may become necessary to change parts of your proposal.  Sometimes, you may simply change your mind about some elements of your approved design.  In either case, you should ask your Principal Certifying Authority (usually either Council's Building Surveyors or a private certifier) if you will need further approval from Council under Section 4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 - these applications are commonly referred to as Section 4.55 Modifications.

It is important to note that Section 4.55 Modifications cannot include elements of your proposal that were not included in your approved development application.  For example, you may already have an approval for a new dwelling house and decide that you would like to include a new swimming pool in the rear yard - the swimming pool would need to be a new development application or Complying Development application.  It cannot be considered as a modification to your dwelling house approval.

There are four (4) different sub-sections under Section 4.55 & s4.56 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and these are as follows:-

Section 4.55 (1) - Modifications involving minor error, misdescription or miscalculation

An application may be made to modify a development consent granted by Council to correct a minor error, misdescription or miscalculation made by Council during the assessment and/or determination process.

Such modifications could include where Council has incorrectly described a development or applied a condition in error or where additional fees have been applied incorrectly or calculations on floor space, height etc. have been made in error.  Note:  These modifications generally do not apply to situations where the applicant has made similar errors.

Section 4.55 (1A) – Modifications involving minimal environmental impact

An application may be made to Council to modify a development consent granted by it if the proposed modification is of minimal environmental impact and is substantially the same development as the development for which the consent was originally granted before any modifications were made.

Such modifications could include relocation of doors or windows in a dwelling-house or amendments to the approved external materials/colour scheme.

Section 4.55 (2) – Other Modifications

An application may be made to Council to modify a development consent granted by it if the proposed modification is substantially the same development as the development for which the consent was originally granted before any modifications were made.

Such modifications would include any modification other than those referred to above under Section 4.55(1) or (1A).

Section 4.56 – Modification by consent authority consents granted by the court

An application may be made to council to modify a development consent granted by the court if the proposed modification is subsequently the same development or the development for which the consent was originally granted before any modifications were made.

Note:  The above information is a guide only and should not be solely relied upon.  If you are in any doubt as to whether your proposed changes would fall within Section 4.55 or s4.56 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act or any of the above sub-sections, you should contact Council's Duty Planner Service by booking an appointment through our on-line booking system.  Alternatively, for more complex matters, you should seek your own independent planning advice from a suitably qualified town planning consultant.