What is the difference between a DA & CDC

What is the difference between a DA & CDC


When building a new home, you have two options to ensure that you are meeting all the regulatory requirements:

A Development Application (DA) is a merit-based assessment conducted directly through the local council. The council will have a set of guidelines and parameters that will be used to assess your application. In some circumstances, your application may fall outside those guidelines, but the council still has the option of approving your DA.

A DA is a two-stage process that includes the assessment and then once the DA is completed, a construction certificate must be submitted and approved. 

A Construction Certificate considers the planning aspects of the build. Some of the elements required include site plans, architectural plans, engineering plans, building specifications, fire safety, and sustainability statements.


Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is a combined planning and construction approval process. It is designed to enable straightforward development applications to be fast-tracked. It can be conducted by either your local council or a private certifier. As a result, the process is faster than a DA.

There are two steps:

  • A strictly defined checklist that you must comply with for every element. Failure to meet every regulation will render the CDC non-compliant.
  • The second step is the inclusion of the Construction Certificate.


If your development application (DA) includes a balcony that does technically doesn’t fit the guidelines, but when reviewed by the council does not affect other properties it may be approved. In the case of a CDC, because it does not fit the guidelines, your application would be rejected.


How Do I Choose Between a DA and CDC?

Firstly, you need to check whether a CDC is permissible. Some sites have restrictions that will only allow for a DA through the council. This permission can be found in your Section 149 Planning Certificate that contains information on how a property may be developed and whether there are restrictions on development. The Perfect Space will obtain your Section 149 Certificate as part of your tendering and concept design process.

Restrictions may be in place due to specific issues such as your block is flood-restricted, is part of a critical habitat, is heritage listed or other restrictions related to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

Once you know that a CDC is permissible, The Perfect Space will provide the right advice on what will be the best process for you. Considerations will be:

  • Reviewing the CDC documents in place for the local council area.
  • Reviewing the design & type of building that meets your needs.
  • How large is your desired home comparative to the size of the site?
  • What are the setbacks from the boundaries?
  • What are the floor/space ratios – how big the building will be in comparison to the entire site?
  • Does the design meet all criteria?

How long does this process take?

In general, you should allow up to six months to have a Development Application approved, whereas a Complying Development can be completed in around three to four months.


The Perfect Space will be able to offer expert advice on all the pros and cons of which process is best for you – DA or CDC based on council regulations for your land and the type of home you wish to build.

Call the Perfect Space today on 02 9907 4568

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.