Residential Design Series The council Process

June 26, 2018


The Council Process.

Before you can do any building work you are going to have to deal with the council process. Intertwined with council requirements on higher standards for design and building is the Building Code of Australia. Any building work you do will have to be built according to the code. If for instance you cannot replace an opening window on or within .900mm of the boundary it will be because of the Code not the council.

I strongly recommend all clients familiarize themselves with their DCP {Development Control Plan}. Every council has a DCP, a town planning document that provides detailed guidance on how you are expected to design and build.

If you wish to step outside of these controls then you will have to provide sound town planning arguments to justify your case. “They did it,” generally doesn’t work.

All residential renovations will require a development application. The development application when approved gives you permission to proceed with the design you have submitted. To begin building you must first apply for a construction certificate. The DA details what you will be building. The CC details how it will be built. You can submit the specification and engineers details (generally what is required to complete the CC application) with the DA if you wish. 

There are substantial submission requirements for a Development application

Your drawings must be drawn to Australian Height Datum, that means you will require a Contour Survey.

  • A contour survey should detail your property and your neighbours’ properties. It will show all the details of an identification survey plus heights of finished floor level, gutters, ridges, and numerous spot levels to make identification and building easier. A detailed contour survey is invaluable for any major building or landscaping work. They can be expensive so shop around for a good price.

Your drawings will consist of :

  • Site plan includes north point, boundary dimensions, set backs, location of trees, easements, street name and number, building footprint
  • Elevations. The elevations show you all faces of the proposed building work. They must show finished floor levels, ridge heights and finished ground levels.
  • Floor plans. fully dimensioned floor plans detailing the extent of the existing and proposed building work.
  • Sections.  A section can be described as a knife cut through the building at whatever point the designer chooses. It details how the building work will be done.

I would submit all the above on one sheet of drawings. Plenty of designers submit them as a package of A3 drawings because of the expediency of  A3 printers.

Additionally you will require notification plans 6A4’s of site plans and elevations. These will be sent to your neighbours.

If you are doing a roof conversion or first floor addition you will need:

  • Shadow Drawings. These will show the impact of your existing and proposed building work on your neighbours property.  You will need them for the 21st June at 9.00am, 12.00pm and 3.00pm. They must be done in plan and elevation and could also be required for March21st and Sept23rd.

Statement of Environmental Effects. A quality EIS should read like Gone with the Wind. It details everything about the home and the lifestyles of the people who live in it. It is your opportunity to state your case to the town planners and you should make the most of it. A good EIS will identify the area of the land, the area of the existing and proposed building works, the floor space ratio and the area of soft landscaping. It will also identify the architectural style of the property, its condition and list the identifying architectural features. The EIS should refer to the relevant DCP and where you cannot meet the Preferred objectives then you need to argue your case.

  • A Basix Statement is required for all residential work with a greater value than $50,000.00 A Basix certificate identifies the ecologically soundness of your design.
  • Heritage Assessment For houses that are situated in a heritage or sensitive conservation area.

Additionally somewhere you are also now required to submit a Stormwater concept plan. Some councils are beginning to encourage residents to install rainwater tanks, a move I applaud.

Once your DA has been approved you will need to provide as part of your construction certificate a:

  • Specification this details how and the method of your building work.
  • Structural and Hydraulic Enginneers Report. Details the structural suitability of your property.


It is easier to pronounce Kefalograviera cheese, than it is to comprehend the mountains of details, town-planners continue to demand.  Never-the-less your documentation must be in good order to achieve a positive result.

Good building and design!

Note: The views expressed in this article are of a broadly based nature and are in no way to be taken as the basis of an individual design. Should a reader wish to pursue the ideas expressed then at all times we recommend they consult with the appropriate professionals. 

Blog Tags:
0 Comments (Reply)