If you’re planning on making structural changes to your property, you will need to
lodge a development application. How long approval takes depends on the type and scale of your application and your local council. Some can take a few weeks while others may drag out for months. Making sure the process runs as smoothly as possible is the best way to avoid costly delays so make sure you have all your ducks in a row
before you start.


Hire a draftsperson or architect who is familiar with your local council. They should have a sound knowledge of the planning controls and legal requirements. Don’t even think about lodging the claim yourself. You’ll need to submit such paperwork as scaled architectural drawings, drainage plans, geotechnical reports, waste management plans, a statement of heritage impact, acoustical report and an engineers certificate. This is what you pay an architect or draughtsman for.


Don’t lodge a DA if you don’t need to. It may sound daft but plenty of people assume they need DA when in fact they don’t. You may be exempted altogether for minor additions or alterations, or your work may come under ‘complying development’ which generally get approval in a couple of weeks. Any good draughtsperson or architect will be able to tell you whether your planned work falls into this category, and, should be able to create a design that will comply.


Keep the neighbours onside. It’s not always possible to be best of friends during building work but you should do everything you can to keep it cordial. Have a chat with them in advance about your plans so you can talk through any concerns they might have in advance. If they object to the application once it’s lodged, you’ll waste valuable time and money and relationships will deteriorate even further.


Don’t assume if your mate got DA easily on his/her monster extension that yours will be a shoo-in. Local councils make their own rules and they can vary quote substantially.

Feeling inspired? Check out this incredible renovation of a 100-year-old cottage:


For more expert advice try:
>> home fit out: the pros and cons of buying overseas
>> how to keep your renovation secure
>> how to keep pets safe during a renovation