Your step-by-step guide to the development application process
If your development is of a minor nature, you may not require approval to carry out the work. Council and the NSW Government have adopted policies that specify criteria you must satisfy in order to be exempt development. If your proposal falls outside the minimum criteria for exempt development, you may be able to obtain approval through Council with a Complying Development Certificate. Complying Development Certificate Applications are to be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.
To find out if your development can be approved as complying development, please go to our Exempt and Complying Development page. If your proposal is not exempt or complying development, you will then need to submit a DA. If the work is minor in nature (such as a pool, carport, fence, garage, deck etc) see below for our Minor residential DAs information.
Council has adopted plans, policies and strategies to guide future development within Lismore. You must comply with these planning controls. You will need to address planning controls in your Statement of Environmental Effects. Please go to our Planning Controls page. You may also need to comply with state government requirements such as the NSW Government’s Building Sustainability Index, BASIX.
Lodging a DA can be complicated and you may need to employ a planning consultant to prepare your documentation or you may wish to get pre-lodgement advice from Council. A planning consultant can also advise you on whether other professionals such as a heritage architect, traffic engineer, hydraulics engineer or surveyor may be required. Council cannot recommend consultants… grab the Yellow Pages or Google ‘planning consultants’ in your area. For prelodgement advice see below.
In order to get a speedy resolution for your development application or building works, a pre-lodgement meeting can help. This is generally for large DAs.
This gives you the chance to talk face-to-face about your proposal and clarify what Council expectations are for the lodgement of your DA. Pre-lodgement meetings can help you avoid delays, unnecessary financial loss and even refusal of an application.
Please complete a pre-lodgement application and submit together with supporting documentation and the relevant fees. Council will then contact you to arrange a suitable appointment time.
Pre-lodgement Meetings Fact Sheet
This service is aimed at small-scale residential projects such as new dwellings, dual occupancies and small business applications such as a change of use. This is a free service for meetings of up to 30 minutes where potential applicants will have an opportunity to meet with Council staff to discuss their proposal.
If you need advice about a DA or building/construction matter, you can phone Council’s Development and Compliance staff between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday on (02) 6625 0500.
If our staff are out on a job or unavailable, they will call you back within 48 hours.
You can also talk to our Duty Planner anytime between 8.30am and 10.30am on Tuesday and Thursday without a prior appointment at our Corporate Centre in Goonellabah. This is a free service and the advice session is generally limited to 15 minutes. You can also book an appointment outside these hours that suits you.
Our Duty Planner can provide basic preliminary development advice regarding:
- Exempt and complying development.
- Planning controls and the application/approval process apply to your property/proposal.
- Information you will need to submit with your DA.
- Any other questions you may have.
People undertaking dual occupancies, units, commercial and industrial proposals should complete a Development Application on the NSW Planning Portal. For Class 1 and 10 buildings (i.e. residential dwellings, swimming pools, garages and shed, a please complete a Development Application and Construction Certificate application on the NSW Planning Portal. We also have a Development Application Guide to help you through the process. You will also require an Owner’s Consent Form which will need to be completed and loaded up on the NSW Planning Portal with your plans/documentation.
If your proposal involves two or more development types (such as a house and a pool) you will need to submit both sets of planning documents with your application. Council encourages people to submit them in electronic form wherever possible (CD or USB) although hardcopy plans will be accepted.
All planning relating applications need to be lodged on the NSW Planning Portal under the following link https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/onlineDA. You will need to register for a planning portal account to start your application.
Some DAs need to be placed on public exhibition. This may include an ad in the newspaper, on-site signs or letters to adjoining or nearby owners. This gives the public a chance to comment. DAs and documentation are also placed in DA Tracking.
Once you have your development consent, check your conditions of consent and if there is a requirement for a Construction Certificate. An application for a Construction Certificate can be made with either Council through the NSW Planning Portal or a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA).
Appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). This must be done at least two days prior to any work commencing. To appoint a PCA you will need to complete an application on the NSW Planning Portal website. If you haven’t already done so you will need to register for a planning portal account to start this process.
Please note: Ancillary approvals or any works that affect public roads or footpaths such as a new driveway (Section 138) or any works involving water, sewer or stormwater (Section 68) can be approved concurrently with your development approval for residential building works only. All you need to do is complete the Section 138 and Section 68 approval section on the NSW Planning Portal when applying for a Development Application. All commercial and industrial Section 138 and Section 68 approvals can be applied for on Lismore City Council’s Electronic Portal at https://lismore.nsw.gov.au/information-on-our-electronic-lodgement-system-and-pre-lodgement-advice
Minor residential development
If you are doing general home improvements such as a pool, deck, fence, carport, garage etc and these do not meet Exempt and Complying Development you will need to lodge a minor development application and obtain a Construction Certificate prior to starting work.
Follow these steps:
- Complete a Development Application and Construction Certificate application on the NSW Planning Portal. This form contains a checklist of all the documentation you will need to provide. Please be aware a Construction Certificate is needed prior to any work commencing. All planning relating applications need to be lodged on the NSW Planning Portal under the following link https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/onlineDA. You will need to register for a planning portal account to start your application.
- Complete a Minor Statement of Environmental Effects and a Sedimentation and Erosion Control form.
- Submit these forms with your plans for the works via the NSW Planning Portal.
- Once you have your development consent, check your conditions of consent to see what you need do next.
- Appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). This must be done at least two days prior to any work commencing. To appoint a PCA you will need to complete an application on the NSW Planning Portal website. If you haven’t already done so you will need to register for a planning portal account to start this process.
PLEASE NOTE: Ancillary approvals or any works that affect public roads or footpaths such as a new driveway (Section 138) or any works involving water, sewer or stormwater (Section 68) can be approved concurrently with your development approval for residential building works only. All you need to do is complete the Section 138 and Section 68 approval section on the NSW Planning Portal when applying for a Development Application. All commercial and industrial Section 138 and Section 68 approvals can be applied for on Lismore City Council’s Electronic Portal at https://lismore.nsw.gov.au/information-on-our-electronic-lodgement-system-and-pre-lodgement-advice.
Modifications (Section 4.55 applications) and Review of Determination
Section 4.55 applications
After a development consent has been issued, the original applicant or anyone entitled to act on the applicant’s behalf can apply for approval to modify that development consent via the NSW Planning Portal. Section 4.55 refers to the part of the Act that allows a development consent to be modified as long as the development is substantially the same.
If Council does not agree that the proposed modifications would result in substantially the same development as was originally approved, a new development application will need to be submitted for assessment.
When can an application for a modification be made?
An application for the modification of a development consent can only be made if a valid development consent has been issued by Council. A development consent remains valid once the approved development has commenced in accordance with the conditions of a development consent.
What types of modifications are allowed under Section 4.55?
A Section 4.55 application can propose to modify the conditions of a development consent or alter the approved development. There are number of different types of modifications allowed under Section 4.55 of the Act. Council’s application form can be used to make an application for three of these types of modifications:
Section 4.55 (1) – Modifications involving minor errors, a wrong description or miscalculation.
There would be no change to the form of the development approved.
Section 4.55 (1a) – Modifications involving minimal environmental impact.
These are used for minor amendments. There is no impact on privacy, height, overshadowing etc.
Section 4.55 (2) – Other modifications.
These are all other modifications where environmental impact is possible.
Please note that an additional Construction Certificate may be required as part of any Section 4.55 modification.
Review of Determination
Under the provisions of Section 8.2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, an applicant may request that we review a determination of an application which is not complying, integrated, designated or submitted by or on behalf of the Crown. The request for a review must be made within six months after the date of the determination. You will need to make application on the NSW Planning Portal and provide supporting documentation.