Complying Development Certificate

How do I apply for a Complying Development Certificate?

You will need to complete an application form, provide owners consent and lodge all supporting documentation.

What do I need to include when lodging a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) application?

Please refer to Council’s complying development certificate lodgement checklist for details on what to lodge with your application.

Pre-CDC lodgement meetings

Council particularly recommends that a pre-CDC lodgement meeting be held for large developments, for developments in sensitive sites or developments that may produce issues for others.

To organise a pre-CDC lodgement meeting, contact Council's Help and Centre on 9777 1000 to arrange an appointment. Normally these meetings will be attended by the area building surveyor. It is recommended that you provide your plans to Council before the meeting in case advice needs to be sought from other sections within Council.

A flat fee is charged and if it is determined that the proposed development could be considered as complying development this fee (or part thereof) will be credited to the CDC application when lodge with Council. If the proposal is not considered to be complying development the fee will be retained by Council.

As the pre-CDC lodgement meeting is indicative only and not a fully detailed assessment under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, Council is not responsible if additional issues arise during the processing of the lodged CDC.

What fees are payable?

Contact Councils Help and Services staff on 97771000 who can help you with fee estimates for Council to act as an Accredited Certifier and/or Principal Certifying Authority. Written quotations can also be provided. Our rates are competitive and inspections can be done on minimal notice.

How long does a Complying Development Certificate last?

A Complying Development Certificate lapses after five years unless physical work has commenced or where the approved use has been acted upon.

What if all the detailed design work is not yet finished?

You may find that all information you need is not available at the time you apply, e,g. structural, mechanical or hydraulic designs may not yet be finalised. Similarly, details on sprinkler systems, fire hydrant, fire hose reel systems and smoke hazard management systems are unlikely to be available when applying for the complying development. When the detail is not available, you can state in the specification your intent to comply with requirements by identifying the specific clauses in the BCA and Australian standards, codes or other documents, with a brief description of the how you propose to comply with each.

Council as the accredited certifier must, however, be satisfied that the proposed building will comply with the BCA. In combination, the information in the plans and specification together with the statements of intent and proposed manner of compliance should be sufficient.

Once issued, can a Complying Development Certificate be altered?

Section 87 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act permits the person who made an application to carry out complying development and a person having the benefit of a complying development certificate to apply to modify the development the subject of the application or certificate. The application and assessment process is the same as for the original application.

Council as the accredited certifier will need to consider whether the proposal as amended will meet the preset criteria and the requirements of the Building Code of Australia.

Can conditions be applied to a Complying Development Certificate?

Yes, but only those specified by the regulations and the relevant State Environmental Planning Policy. In some cases a condition may require notification of neighbours at least seven days prior to the commencement of work.

What is a fire safety schedule?

A fire safety schedule is a list specifying the fire safety measures (both current and proposed) that should be implemented in the building premises. It is issued with construction certificates, complying development certificates, fire safety orders and development consents for a change of building use where no building work is proposed.

My Complying Development Certificate has been issued what do I do next?

Once you have your complying development certificate and before you can start any work on the site, the owner, lessee or owners agent must appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) to oversee the work.

How do I appoint Council as a PCA?

When Council issues the complying development certificate a service agreement will also be provided with the documentation. This agreement specifies what inspections are required, what additional details are required to be lodged prior to commencement of works and what certificates will need to be submitted prior to occupation.

Council can also be the PCA where a CDC has been issued by a private certifier.

When can I start building work?

You may start building work once a complying development certificate has been issued and once the PCA has been appointed.

Do I need to contact Council before I start work?

As part of the PCA service agreement with Council you will be required to nominate a date for commencement of work.

When is a Structural Engineer required to do inspections of the building?

A Structural Engineer is required to certify piers, foundations and footings, reinforcement steel prior to pouring of concrete, any suspended reinforced concrete slabs, steel beam, lintels and any other structural members where specified in the service agreement with Council or when there is a structural variation to the approved plans and details.

When can I move into my building?

Before you can move into your building the PCA must issue you with an Occupation Certificate. This can be done after a final inspection on the building has been carried out and Councils building surveyor is satisfied that the building is safe to be occupied and that the completed construction is consistent with the complying development certificate. Refer to Council's Occupation Certificate application form for further details.

When can I get my security deposit back from Council?

If you paid any damage deposits, for example, a footpath damage deposit, Council will arrange to have the deposit refunded provided there is no damage to Councils infrastructure and all work has been completed.

What are the benefits in using council as an accredited certifier and Principal Certifying Authority?

  • Council staff are truly independent. 
  • Our offices are close and convenient. This also means that we are a short distance from your building site. 
  • Every building surveyor at Willoughby Council has access to all relevant Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia.
  • Willoughby Council staff have extensive knowledge of the local area.
  • Willoughby Council building surveyors have convenient access to planning and engineering staff thereby providing one point of contact for all necessary requirements from construction to completion.
  • Building staff have quick and easy access to the development application file, historical files and all Council data. The complying development certificate file is taken on inspections to enable the Willoughby Council building surveyors to make fully informed decisions.
  • Complying development certificates are determined by Building Surveyors meaning that you can deal with the one person throughout the assessment and construction process. 
  • We do not provide certification services outside Willoughby Council area which allows Council staff to concentrate on the needs of the local area.
  • Services do not cease when a staff member is on leave.
  • Currently Council staff have combined experience of 200 years in building surveying. All building surveying staff are accredited and have suitable qualifications and experience.
  • Our fees contain no hidden costs. Once you engage Council as an accredited certifier or PCA we do not charge for phone calls, letters and other incidentals. Our fees are clearly identified on our fee proposal.

Is my application for a complying development certificate (CDC) notified to adjoining occupiers?

Yes. A certifying authority for a CDC application which proposes a new dwelling, an addition to an existing dwelling, demolition or a secondary dwelling must give 14 days notice to the occupier of each dwelling which is within 20 metres of the subject property prior to determination of the application.

The 14 day pre-approval period is an opportunity for your neighbours to discuss the proposed demolition/building works with you. There is no obligation to make changes to the development if representations are made to you.

Following completion of the 14 day period your CDC will be approved, subject to conditions, if it meets all standards under the relevant state environmental planning policy.