Help and advice

What is the difference between a DA & CDC in Sydney?

Difference between a DA and a CDC

When building a new single or double storey home you have 2 options to ensure that you are meeting all the regulatory requirements.

  1. 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 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 & 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.

  3. Complying Development Checklist (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.

    The two steps are:
    • A strictly defined checklist that you must comply with every element. Failure to meet every regulation will render the CDC non-compliant.
    • 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 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 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. ANSA Homes will obtain your Section 149 Certificate as part of your tendering process.

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

Once you know that a CDC is permissible, ANSA Homes 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 6 months to have a Development Application approved, whereas a Complying Development can be completed in around 3-4 months.

ANSA Homes will have an in depth knowledge of all the pros and cons of which process is best for you – DA or CDC based on Council regulations for you land and the type of home you wish to build.