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  • Writer's pictureDanny Broe Architect

Complying Development Certificates Demystified

Last month I published a flowchart that intricately describes how our office works through a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) application. This week, I will explain what the CDC itself means, and its implications for home owners looking to renovate.

The NSW Government introduced Complying Development Certificates (CDC) as an initiative to remove unnecessary complexity and red tape for home owners constructing single or two storey dwelling houses or embarking on low impact renovations or improvements to their homes. The CDC is a fastracked combined planning and construction approval for development that meets pre-determined development standards outlined in the State Environmental and Planning Policy (SEPP). This means that as an alternative to lodging a traditional development application which will be assessed by a council town planner using local policies, renovation works may now be assessed by private certifiers using a set of state-wide guidelines that intends to result in faster and cheaper approval for home owners.  

How to apply for a CDC - The big change here is that private certifiers can do an approval for renovation works, not just council.

- As the CDC is a combined planning and construction approval, an architect plays a pivotal role in coming up with high quality design and providing comprehensive documentation for the project.

Overview of Documents Required

- Architectural drawings

- Engineers drawings

- waterboard approval 

- BASIX certificate

- Section 149(2) certificate

- Survey

-  Land title search

Overview of Payable Fees

- Architectural fees

- Engineering fees

- Certifier's fees

- Section 94A council contribution

- Document registration fees to council

- Long Service Levy

Timeline of a typical CDC application

- An architect will source a certifier to do a fee proposal for a project. An engineer may also be recommended.  - Once the client signs the fee proposal, a set of plans will be sent to the certifier so they may perform a pre-assessment to confirm that the proposal can be formally assessed through a CDC, not a DA.  - If the pre-assessment is OK, the certifier will send a comprehensive list of documents and payable fees. - The architect will compile the documents and lodge a formal assessment. - The certifier will take 14 days to notify the neighbours of a proposed development.  - Meanwhile, the engineer may be instructed to begin structural design. - During this period also, other fees can be paid. - Enginering drawings will be supplemented to the certifier to coincide with the end of the notification period. 

- When the certifier has received all the proof of payment and drawings, they will typically take between 10 and 14 days to finish their assessment.

This is intended to be an overview of the process of anyone thinking of engaging an architect for a renovation, and each application might have extra requirements that is specific to the project.

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