Consent required

A development application (DA) is required for most development in the local area.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 defines development as:

  • using land
  • subdividing land
  • erecting a building
  • carrying out work
  • pruning or removing trees
  • demolition
  • any other matter controlled by an environmental planning instrument.

To get development consent you must lodge a DA with the City of Sydney.

Depending on the scope of your proposed development there are different requirements for different categories:

Before you prepare a DA you should make an appointment with a planner at our Town Hall Customer Service Centre to find out:

  • whether your proposed development is permissible
  • whether a DA is actually required
  • the required fees payable
  • how the City's plans, codes and policies affect your proposed development.

It is your responsibility to ensure the relevant planning controls and policies, also known as planning instruments, that cover types of developments and locations have been identified and satisfied.

Major developments

Before you prepare a DA for a major development such as a new building or major refurbishment, please contact a duty planner at the City to discuss your proposal (see contacts below).

Cultural activity, live music and performance

Before you prepare a DA that will include cultural or live music and performance activity at an art gallery, performance or rehearsal space, for example, you may wish to contact one of the City's cultural strategy advisors to discuss your proposal in addition to meeting with the City's development assessment staff (see book a planner).

Ianto Ware, Strategy Advisor – Culture
02 9246 7391

Late trading for business

The City of Sydney amended the late night trading provisions in the Sydney DCP 2012 to encourage performance and later trading shops and businesses. If you would like to extend your trading hours, see what information is required for your development application and modification application. 

Exempt and complying developments

Some minor development, called exempt development, does not require consent. Another type of development, called complying development, requires a complying development certificate. Please contact a duty planner at the City for further information about these types of developments (see contacts below).

The Department of Planning and Environment provides information about development that can be undertaken without planning approval from the City as 'exempt' or 'complying' development. 

Heritage works without consent

To make it easier for owners to maintain and repair their properties, the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 specifies certain development that may be carried out to heritage items or within heritage conservation areas without the need for development consent

Construction certificates

Before undertaking any building or structural work, you will need to get a construction certificate, previously known as a building application, in addition to securing development consent with a DA.

A construction certificate certifies that the detailed construction plans and development specifications are consistent with the development consent and also comply with the Building Code of Australia. You can get the certificate from either the City or an accredited private certifier. 


For general planning advice you can make an appointment to speak to a duty planner. Duty planner appointments are only available at our Town Hall Customer Service Centre.

Note: For larger developments or more complex development advice, you will need to arrange a pre-DA meeting

Last updated: Wednesday, 3 July 2019