The DA process

Building or renovating your home is always exciting. But the Development Approval process can be overwhelming. The following process will make the pathway to building your home easier.

Stage 1 – Pre-lodgement

First, it’s important to gather the right information about your property. You should also talk to your neighbours early on in the process and relevant specialists (e.g. architect, builder, town planner) who can help you prepare your Development Application.

When you have prepared a preliminary concept plan on a specific site, visit Council’s building staff from 8.30am to 11.30 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays to discuss your proposal. For this meeting please provide the following if possible:

  • your name and contact details
  • property address including lot and deposited plan number
  • site plan, floor plan, typical elevation including dimensions, north point and where possible a preliminary site level
  • written description of the proposal.

Giving council an assessment ready application, with all the required information will not guarantee approval – however it will promote an efficient process, saving time and money, for both you and council.

Stage 2 – Lodgement

When you have filled out the relevant forms you can lodge your application with Council. Lodgement is the formal start of the DA process. Council's Customer Service Team will check that all the information has been provided.

A completed DA will generally include:

  • DA form and checklist
  • any necessary specialist reports
  • all matters required for a DA as listed in the EP&A Regulation (Schedule 1, Part 1); and
  • the required DA fee (contact Building Services to provide a DA fee quote prior to lodging your application)
  • all documents saved on a USB.

Neighbour notification and advertising

Once your DA is lodged and checked, formal neighbour notification may occur. If notification is required for a DA, Council’s notification typically includes one or more of the following:

Council’s website

Development applications (DAs) are available electronically on the DA's Online portal.


DAs on public exhibition are included in the Council's Public Notices in the Ballina Shire Advocate.


Council may send letters (email or post) to adjoining and or surrounding landowners who may be potentially impacted by the development proposal.

Site signage

Council staff may provide a sign on the site of the proposed development.

Referrals (internal and external)

Council has internal experts who will comment on different environmental issues. Other government agencies have special roles to provide comment or agreement/approval within their areas of expertise such as NSW Rural Fire Service and Office of Environment and Heritage.

Allocation to an assessment officer

An assessment officer will be allocated to you and they will be your key point of contact.

Stage 3 – Assessment

Council staff will formally assess your DA. This means that the site must be inspected, applicants and neighbours engaged, reports drafted and recommendations made.

DA tracking system

You can consult DAs Online portal to monitor the progress of your DA.

Stage 4 – Determination

There three possible outcomes for a DA:

  1. Development Consent (granted with conditions)
  2. DA Refusal (with reasons)
  3. Deferral Commencement Consent (waiting for one or more important matters to be resolved)

During this stage you may seek to:

  • modify your development consent.
  • request council reconsider its decision, or
  • appeal council’s decision to the Land and Environment Court.

Stage 5 – Approval to build

Before you can start building you must do four things:

  1. Appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) to monitor construction – this can be council or your appointed private certifier.
  2. Apply for a Construction Certificate if Council is doing the inspections, otherwise your private certifier will complete this process.
  3. Give the council and the PCA two days’ notice before you start work.
  4. Complete any works listed in the ‘Prior to commencing work’ part of the consent.

Stage 6 – Occupation certificate

You must obtain an Occupation Certificate to certify that you have met the requirements of your development consent and construction certificate, and that the building is now ready to occupy.


Connect with us

Postal Address

The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

View more contacts

40 Cherry Street
Ballina NSW 2478


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Monday to Friday