What to do if you started building without development consent

Home Owners
Mar 2023

Believe it or not, it's fairly common that individuals do not realise that some items require consent to build in some areas. Thankfully there is a process to get your development authorised, but it's not necessarily the easiest to do and there are a few steps to the process.

If you have built or started building your desired development including:

  • renovations to your home (such as an addition of a bathroom)
  • installation of a swimming pool
  • any outbuilding structures (like a deck or shed)
  • changed the use of a building (for instance running a business from your house)
  • made any changes to a site that legally requires Development Consent through either a Development Application or Complying Development Certificate

You will need to apply for a Building Information Certificate (BIC) through your local Council.

Adding an entertaining area may require development consent! Check before you build.

What is a Building Information Certificate?

A Building Information Certificate (BIC) is issued by Council for the whole or part of a building that has been changed, and essentially is a document that confirms Council will not take any regulatory action against the unauthorised structure or work for a period of 7 years.

Approved does not currently offer a lodgement service for BIC Applications, though here is a guide to assist you in the process:

What information is required to support your application?

The BIC aims to ensure your building complies with relevant legislation and standards, with the assurance from Council. The following information will need to be submitted to enable Council to assess the application:

  • Description of the scope of works.
  • Identification survey to confirm the location of all existing structures on site.
  • Works as executed plans to identify all works completed without approval (Site plan, Floor Plan, Elevation Plans).
  • Engineer’s structural adequacy certification to conform works are structurally sound.
  • Estimate of the value of the works undertaken.

You'll need to get some plans drawn up showing the new development.

What is the process once lodged with Council?

The application for the BIC will need to be lodged via the NSW Planning Portal rather than directly with Council. Council will access the application from the Portal for assessment.

Following a preliminary review, Council may request additional information to enable them to issue the BIC. This may include alterations to satisfy BCA compliance, the submission of a Development Application to formalise the change of use and the payment of additional fees. This cannot be determined until after an assessment has been undertaken.

Following their assessment, Council will determine the application either by approving it (often with conditions to be met by the applicant) or by refusing it.

If, at any stage of the process Council requires a Development Application to be lodged to support the development, Approved can coordinate the Development Application on your behalf. We can also attend pre-DA meetings and provide guidance on the best way forward to address Council's concerns while saving you time and money.

Need more information or help with your approval? Further information can be provided via a meeting with an Approved Town Planner at any time to provide advice and guidance.

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