What is the D.A Process for a secondary dwelling?

The NSW Government’s State Environment Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 – commonly referred to as ARHSEPP – encourages the addition of secondary dwellings – these are granny flats or Studios.

The approval process for a secondary dwelling can be obtained through two methods, both requiring your project to meet the ARHSEPP guidelines. The first is a Development Application (D.A) – The traditional method of submitting an application to your local Council. The second is bypassing Council and getting approved through a certifier (CDC).

Key Requirements For The D.A Process

  • Your property must be zoned residential, Zones R1, R2, R3, R4 or R5.
  • Your block must be larger than 450m2
  • 2nd dwelling not larger than 25% of existing property.
  • Your granny flat can have a maximum internal floor area of 60m2. External areas (EG: deck, patio) have no size constraints.

How long does the D.A process take?

Council approval varies from council to council. In NSW on average it take 6-8 weeks from lodgement, in rural areas.

Building a modular second dwelling could make the D.A process quicker

Ieshahomes sell uniformed module homes that have been pre-fabricated. Each module is always the same – configurations maybe different, but in general once D.A approved in an area, Ieshahomes can reference that and this may contribute to a faster D.A being granted by your local council.

What is the right way to apply for council consent when building a granny flat?

Make sure you’re aware of your local council’s guidelines when building a granny flat/second dwelling

It is important to advise your local council and provide any property changes as soon as you make them, or when you are planning to make them. This provides an accurate history of your property. Property information includes property type, D.A, DP. lot no:, plans, electrical town services and plumbing, drains etc.

What happens if you don’t go through the D.A Process

If you build a secondary dwelling, you need to go through the D.A process and register it as a consented dwelling with council. If you miss this important step and do not go through the D.A process, this can cause issues when you sell the property in the future. Until your secondary dwelling/granny flat has council consent, it is classified as an uncertified dwelling.

Of course certification can also be gained by private certifiers (CDC) who provide Cert Of Occupation, however, construction certificates are only issued by your local council.

Should you go through the D.A process when building a granny flat?

The bottom line is that it’s best to be certified and go through the D.A process. Your property will be worth more and everything is above board, safe and without unexpected issues down the track.


Online References:

NSW Guide To The Development Application Process

NSW Planning Guidelines on Secondary Dwellings (granny flats)

Affordable Rental Housing State Environment Planning Policy (ARHSEPP)