If you are building or renovating in the ACT you may need to submit a development application (DA) for approval.
You can find an industry practitioner such as an architect, draftsperson or building certifier to help you.
What developments require approval?
The type of work you’re planning, its complexity, and how your land is zoned determines whether you need to submit at DA.
Some developments are exempt from a DA if they meet certain requirements.
There are also some prohibited developments.
How do I work out what I can do on my land?
All land in the ACT is zoned for different uses.
Use ACTMAPi to find:
- your block
- zone details
- what types of development are allowed
- development codes
Applications for developments on unleased land (nature strips or verges in front of property) require other approvals.
What is a DA track?
The ACT has a track-based system for assessing proposals that need approval:
- code track – for simpler developments that meet all the relevant rules in the Territory Plan
- merit track – for most developments, including varying a lease, multi-unit and commercial developments, and single houses
- impact track – for developments that may have a major impact on the environment
Once you know your zoning you can find the applicable development code, which lists elements such as:
- building and site controls
- allowable encroachments
- built form
- materials and finish
- vehicle access
The development code, type of development, potential impacts of the development and any exemptions will determine the track for your DA.
Do I need to consult with my neighbours about my DA?
If your development is located in an established area you are strongly encouraged to consult with your neighbours during the design stage. This is to make sure the development proposal considers all the issues that might arise.
Even though neighbour consultation is not mandatory it is encouraged and should occur before a DA is lodged.
Developers of significant projects need to engage the community with pre-DA consultation.
When is the public notified about a DA?
After a DA has been lodged in the merit track or impact track, we must notify the public.
If your proposal requires:
- minor notification: letters will be sent to the neighbours adjoining your property advising them of your application
- major notification: letters will be sent to the adjoining neighbours and a sign placed on the site
A representation is a comment on or objection to a DA. A representation will only be considered if it is made during the public notification period.
Representations form part of the public register and are made available to the applicant, unless exemption has been granted.
Anyone who has made a representation during the public notification period is notified in writing of the decision as well as any rights of review of the decision.
Representations submitted for development applications marked - PUBLIC NOTIFICATION PERIOD CLOSED - Representations can no longer be submitted in relation to this DA will not be considered in the assessment of the DA.
How do I lodge a DA?
DAs are lodged online using eDevelopment.
Before you start your application you should:
- get your site plan right
- get pre-application information
- check the development application naming conventions
- prepare your documents
- use a checklist
- review the fees
Find out more about how to lodge your DA.
How are DAs assessed?
Your DA is assessed under the Planning and Development Act 2007 and against:
- the relevant code of the Territory Plan
- objectives of the zone the land is in
- the suitability of land for the development
- all representations made during notification
- advice from entities including other government departments and utility services
- a plan of management for any public land
- the likely impact of the development, including any environmental impact
How long does DA assessment take?
Processing time for an application depends on:
- what track it is in
- any comments received during public notification of the DA
The statutory timeframes are:
- 20 working days from date of lodgement for code track applications
- 30 working days from date of lodgement for merit and impact tracks if no representations are received, and 45 working days from date of lodgement when representations are received
The DA is considered lodged once the relevant fees are paid.
Types of decisions
Development applications can be:
- approved subject to conditions
In some situations, the Minister may make a decision on a development application if:
- it raises a major policy issue
- it seeks approval for a development that may have a substantial effect on the achievement or development of the object of the Territory Plan
- the approval or refusal of the development application would provide a substantial public benefit
What happens when a decision is made?
You will be notified via email with a link to download the notice of decision, together with any associated plans.
Plans that are approved are electronically stamped.
People who make a representation are also notified.
There are also judicial review options available in the Supreme Court.
Search the public register of development applications.
Contact us for more information.