Five steps to get your design approved by your local Council

Are you planning to build a new house or undertake a renovation? Don’t worry we are here to provide you five easy steps to get your design approved by your local council.

Constructing a home for your family is a dream that every person carries, and it needs to be unique and based on your family needs. Every family is different and has different needs. If you are single and live alone, your needs will be different from a family who have kids or older people. Young, employed people prefer different home designs than someone who wants to build a post-retirement home.

Sharp Design Solutions are here to help you to get the approval for your desired dream home with these five easy steps.

Step 1: Hire professionals

The most important factor about building a home is to make sure your design does not encroach onto a neighbor’s property or government land and follows all the rules and regulations applicable to the property. This is where a unique team of professional Architects and Town Planners will showcase their skill set and design your home in the designated area while making sure it follows all the government guidelines. 

One of the best parts about hiring a professional team is that they can show you a rough design before starting any construction work. By using interactive designs, virtual reality and 3D images and videos, they will be able to project your home in front of you to feel and understand the space.

Instead of taking all responsibility, we advise you to team up with an experienced professional team. In case you need any assistance, you can contact us regarding your requirements.

Step 2: Check if alternative approval pathway is applicable

Before we get into the development approval process needed to get your design approved, let’s look at an alternate approval pathway that NSW State has in place. The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) have two applications processes involved namely, Complying Development and Exempt Development.

The Complying Development application should meet all the regulations and should not involve any heritage items for the proposed development. You can also get your complying development approved via Private Certifier.

The Exempt Development application allows low-impact development to proceed without council consent if it complies with all rules. This applies to minor projects such as decks and carports. Efficient processing of building applications is vital to the economy.

Step 3: Talk to your neighbors before lodging the application

It is always a better idea to inform your neighbors about the proposal that you have in your mind before submitting to Council. Councils are generally focused on protecting the amenity of all residents in their area. Amenity for residents, in their homes, includes a right to sunlight (especially in winter), security and protection of views and privacy from overlooking. These are some of the major factors which the neighbor might object for your development application.

In a scenario where the neighbors are not really on board with your proposal, having a professional team which can discuss and inform the neighbor is always a useful solution to achieve a balanced outcome in terms of protecting their amenities and achieving your proposed home design.

Step 4: Comply with all State/Council planning controls or present a sound case for variations

The biggest hurdle in getting your home design approved is not following the guidelines and regulations set out for your area. This might increase the resistance from Council and cause them to reject the application straight away. Many of the applications submitted to Council challenge the regulations and lead to rejection while costing the client a fortune.

It is important that the professional team is knowledgeable and experienced about the Council regulations. In certain circumstances, it is not feasible to follow all the guidelines; this is where the Town Planners need to prepare a compelling variation statement to accompany the proposed variation from the Council regulations.

Step 5: Prepare all the necessary documentation and lodgment: Architectural documentation set, Survey, Statement of Environmental Effects, landscaping, etc.

After all the necessary planning and organization has been completed, it is important that your professional team is able to put together a team of consultants required for the application for example Town Planner, Surveyor, Landscape designer, Arborist, etc. 

Your professional team will be your representative to the consultants and cut down your stress level trying to deal and negotiate with them yourself. Your team will be able to prepare all the documentation from their end like architectural drawing set and manage all the reports required by councils from other consultants. 

Most Councils have Development Application lodgment checklist that you can follow to ensure that all the relevant documentation is present prior to lodgment.

NSW has introduced an online Planning Portal where you can check the zoning of your property, find out what type of development is allowable, view 3D demonstrations of exempt development and access various development statistics. Your professional team can lodge your application online via Planning portal website which you can check for progress of your application.

Rohit Lunawat

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