To ensure your building project runs smoothly, check with your local council or registered private certifier for the approvals your building work needs.

We’ve provided some information below, but recommend doing extensive research before starting work.

Use the NSW Planning Portal to find out if you need approvals.

Types of approval

Development consent or a Complying Development Certificate (CDC)

If you're building or renovating your property, you may need development consent from your local council.

Complying development

Complying development is a fast track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial, and industrial development.

Your local council or a registered certifier can issue a complying development certificate (CDC) for approved developments.

Visit Service NSW to find out more about the application process.

Development consent

If your building work needs development consent, you can't start until:

1. A construction certificate has been issued. If a construction certificate is issued after the work starts, it will be invalid and an occupation certificate won't be issued.

2. You've appointed a principal certifier, either a registered certifier or the local council, to undertake critical stage inspections during construction. Your certifier will decide if an occupation certificate can be issued upon completion, confirming the building is safe to occupy and use.

3. You've notified the principal certifier of whether the work is being undertaken as an owner-builder, or by a licensed contractor, and the name of that contractor.

4. The principal certifier has notified the local council (and the consent authority, if not the council) of their appointment at least two days before work commences.

5. You've notified the contractor of any critical stage inspections and other inspections the principal certifier requires.

6. You've notified council of the intended date for commencing the building work at least two days before the work commences.

Construction approval

A construction certificate confirms your construction plans and development specifications are consistent with the development consent, and comply with the Building Code of Australia.

A construction certificate can be provided by either your local council or a registered certifier.

You don't need a construction certificate if you have a CDC.

Choosing a certifying authority

If your work requires approval (either development consent or a complying development certificate) you need to hire a principal certifier before work starts.

Whether you choose the council or a registered certifier as your principal certifier, their job is to uphold the public interest by ensuring legislative requirements are met.

For more information go to What certifiers do.

You can appoint one registered certifier or the council to issue a construction certificate (or CDC), and a different certifier or the council as the principal certifier.

Your builder, architect or draftsperson may recommend someone, but it's your decision, and the contract must be between you and the certifier.

The builder is not allowed to sign the contract on your behalf, and it's illegal for a builder to influence your choice of certifier.

To choose a certifier, go to Finding and appointing a certifier.

Next Consumer building guide