Property development is mired in complex laws, bylaws, rules, and more. As a property developer, getting to know your way around these intricacies is critical. It ensures your project proceeds smoothly by limiting delays and loss of profit. One aspect of property development is acquiring development approval. But what is development approval? Well, one thing is certain: you can’t break ground without it.

The Definition of Development Approval

Development approval is a regulatory process whereby a property developer is granted permission to build on a tract of land. Developers will obtain this approval through a local government or council. The developer must specify the design of the building, location, scale, and project timeframe. Various conditions must be met throughout the project, the developer must follow the plans, the project must be completed within the agreed-upon time frame, and specified materials in the approved design must be used. One or more types of consent must be granted by the local government, depending on the development type.

Types of consent required for development approval:

  • Planning consent is granted by the Council Planning Department
  • Building consent is given if the development adheres to the regulations set out by the Building Code of Australia
  • Land division consent is required to build new buildings or dwellings.


Why You Need Development Approval

Property developers need development approval so that town planners and local councils can ensure the development follows state and local planning regulations. These regulations are in place to ensure our cities work for us; the transport network remains effective, the community approves of new projects, the community has use for the suggested development, heritage sites are not interfered with, and more. Without proper planning, our cities can become congested and unsustainable, ultimately leading to residents relocating, resulting in urban decay, and urban sprawl.

Factors which influence whether development approval will be granted based on town planning:

  • Population growth
  • Demographic changes
  • Economic growth
  • Urban renewal
  • Community approval
  • Preserving heritage sites
  • Preserving natural resources
  • Water saving tactics
  • Sustainability
  • Planning around flood and fire zones
  • Planning around public utilities to ensure efficiency
  • Accounting for public transport


How To Get Development Approval

Here are the steps to complete to attain development approval.

  1. Concept and Consultation
    During the first stage of the process, property developers will assess their chosen land in terms of heritage, zoning, and conservation. A property development platform like Archistar is helpful in this regard. Next, consulting with a Council Duty Planner will help to determine which applications need to be submitted based on the concept.
  2. Preparing Development Approval Application Forms
    Depending on the site and proposal, consultation with the council will take place to produce the required information. This information typically includes the architectural plans, consent from the property owner, site survey, site analysis, Statement of Environmental Effects, landscape and drainage plans, an energy efficiency report, and additional reports such as heritage, bushfire, and arborist reports where necessary.
  3. Lodgement
    A council fee will have to be paid on submission of the development approval application. Neighbours will be notified of the pending development approval if everything goes to plan.
  4. Application Assessment
    The council will assess the development approval application and may request additional information.
  5. Consent Granted or Dismissed
    Development approval will be granted; if not, a review can be requested, or an appeal can be lodged with the Land & Environment Court.
  6. Conditions for Approval
    To get development approval, the council may have a list of additional conditions which need to be met.
  7. Construction Begins
    Once approval has been granted, construction can begin. Construction must be carried out according to the agreement in the development approval application. This will include details such as the project timeline, the materials used, and the architectural plans.

When you know what development approval is, it’s easier to work through the process. To get the ball rolling, use Archistar to access planning data and planning rules for your desired piece of land. The platform will streamline your workflow and simplify the planning phase of any property development project, speeding up processes by up to 30x.