For those who work in development or the property industry it may be obvious what a Development Approval is. However, there are many people who don’t have a background in development or property and for them this is a reasonable question to ask.
A Development Approval, Development Application or “DA” as they are commonly referred to, is an approval you need from a government authority to establish a new land use, develop something or build something. The most common development approval is issued by your local authority or Council. State Governments Departments can also issue approvals, however Council’s issue the majority.
A DA is normally associated with two main types of activity and its worth knowing the difference.
• The first type of a development approval is for a new land use. This is a town planning approval and is most commonly applied for with the help of a town planning consultant. This is your “DA”. This is issued by Council and examples include approvals for a new building, subdivision or multi-unit development.
• The second type of development approval is a Building Approval. This is the actual approval that allows you to commence building work. This is your “BA”. In Queensland a building approval is issued by a Private Certifier and not by the Council.
You will often here people refer to a “DA / BA”. A DA, or the town planning approval, is obtained first. This is followed by the BA, or building approval.
You don’t always need both a DA and BA. In many cases, especially for houses, a Building Approval is only required to start building work.
The Noosa /Sunshine /Brisbane City Council provides an explanation of a development approval. There is a lot of useful information on the Council website, however I believe it is often a bit heavy on language and is not always easy to follow.
The power for Council’s and Private Certifiers to issue approvals comes from the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. This is the legislation that control development in Queensland.
The Act defines development as:
Development is any of the following—
a) carrying out building work;
b) carrying out plumbing or drainage work;
c) carrying out operational work;
d) reconfiguring a lot;
e) making a material change of use of premises.
Terms such as Material Change of Use and Reconfiguring a Lot are types of town planning approvals.