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Development Applications

In general, there are three classifications of development which determines whether development consent for your works is required or not:

  • Exempt Development – Some minor development, called exempt development, does not require consent. Minor works such as a small deck, fencing or kitchen renovations may fit this category subject to compliance with all relevant criteria specified within State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. Find out more about exempt development here.
  • Complying Development – Building a new house extension, adding a pool, or granny flat may be eligible for a fast approval from Council or an accredited certifier.  A simplified and expeditious approval process can be followed for these types of works where they meet standards specified for a complying development certificate within State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.
  • Development Application (DA) - If your development is not classified as exempt or complying development, then a development application is required to be submitted to Council for approval.

All Development Applications and other planning related applications must be lodged with Hornsby Shire Council electronically via the NSW Planning Portal. This is an initiative of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and they have established the Portal for lodgement of applications.

The NSW Planning Portal allows for a more convenient and environmentally friendly process for the lodgement of your application, allowing you to lodge online — anywhere, anytime.

  • Development Application
  • Section 4.55 Modification Application
  • Section 8.2 Review of Determination
  • Complying Development Certificates
  • Construction Certificates
  • Occupation Certificates
  • Subdivision Certificate
  • PC Appointment
  • Subdivision Works Certificate

To assist you in lodging your Development Application, Modification or Review of Determination application via the NSW Planning Portal, we have provided some simple steps to guide you through the process. Should you encounter any difficulties, please refer to the advice under the Support for our Applicants section below.

Step 1 - Register or Login

Access the NSW Planning Portal and either login to your existing account or create an eplanning portal account, please refer to this guide to register an account.

Step 2 - Enter your development proposal and application details

Enter the application details in the portal using the Submit a Development Application guide. Please note, Council no longer has a Development Application Form, the Planning Portal automatically creates a form called a 'Pre-DA form' based on the information provided by the applicant at lodgement.

To prevent unnecessary delays with the handling and acceptance of your DA, ensure the following is uploaded to the Planning Portal as per Council's document naming formats, outlined in the document Naming Standards for Documents lodged via Eplanning Portal.

  1. Statement of Environmental Effects (or Statement of Modification) - Applicable for the majority of Development Applications, Modifications or Review of Determinations.
  2. Owners Consent form for all owners unless all owners are listed within the Planning Portal application form
  3. Cost Summary Report / Quantity Surveyors Report must be submitted with all applications as follows:
    1. Development with an estimated cost up to $2,000,000 – Cost Summary Report Form completed by a Building Industry Professional
    2. Development with an estimated cost of $3,000,001 or greater – a Quantity Surveyors Report or Cost Summary Report completed by a Quantity Surveyor
  4. Boundary Identification Survey - Applicable for the majority of applications, with the exception of change of use of premises, internal alterations or a strata subdivision. Council will not accept an application without a recent Boundary Identification Survey.
  5. Tree Survey Plan – Applicable if trees are located on the site. The plan must detail the species of tree, diameter, spread and location on the site.
  6. Architectural Plans - a "Masterset", which is a full set of all architectural plans uploaded as one document in the portal under 'Architectural Plans'. (Please do not submit architectural plans as separate documents i.e. site plan, elevations, sections. Plans should be submitted as one document).

    Note: All plans regardless of scale must have reduced levels (RL’s) to Australian Height Datum (AHD) for natural ground levels, floor levels and proposed ridge/parapet levels. Council will not accept an application without levels to AHD as this is not in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act Regulations 2000.
  7. Stormwater Concept Plan (if applicable)


    Note: For alterations and additions where it is proposed to connect to the existing internal system. Details of the existing system must be provided at lodgement stage.
  8. Sediment and Erosion Control Plan (if applicable) – See Hornsby Development Application Lodgement Guidelines.
  9. Landscaping Plan (if applicable) – See Hornsby Development Application Lodgement Guidelines.
  10. BASIX Certificate (if applicable and must be submitted within 3 months of the date of issue)
  11. Waste Management Plan – Applicable for the majority of all development application with the exception of some 4.55 Modifications.
  12. Technical Reports - For example, Geotechnical Report, Bushfire Report, Biodiversity, Heritage Impact Statement, SEPP 65/Apartment Design Guide, Traffic Impact Assessment, BCA Report, BASIX Certificate, Waste Management Plan, Arboricultural Impact Assessment Report and Flood Study. – See Hornsby Development Application Lodgement Guidelines or contact Council’s Duty Planning Advisor to determine which reports are applicable to your development proposal and/or site.
  13. Payment of application fees - Council offer online payments for Development Applications and will upload an invoice to the eplanning portal once the application is ready for lodgement. DO NOT upload payment details to the Planning Portal. If this fee is not paid within two business days the application will be automatically ‘Cancelled’.
Step 3 - Completeness Check

Once you have submitted your application via the Planning Portal, Council will review the documentation for completeness within 5 business days of the date of lodgement or more for complex applications. Based on the information submitted, Council will make a decision to:

  • ACCEPT the application,
  • REQUEST ADDITIONAL INFORMATION with a list of matters for you to address; or
  • RETURN the application.
Returned applications & how to relodge

For applications which have been returned due to insufficient information, Council will provide a list of missing documentation so applicants know what to upload next time. The Planning Portal now provides the option to Create a new Copy of your DA allowing applicants to relodge a new application (including submitting the requested additional documentation) with ease.

How to lodge additional information

For applications where Council requests additional information use this guide for instructions on how to lodge additional information in the Portal. Note, it is preferable for applicants to upload all required additional information at the same time.

For the lodgement of the following planning applications please visit Council’s Online Services Portal:

  • Application for Approval to Install a Wastewater Management System
  • Application for Vehicular Crossing Boundary Levels
  • Building Certificate
  • Bushfire Attack Level Certificate (BAL)
  • Execution of Legal Documents
  • Hoarding/Temporary Fencing
  • Out of Hours Construction
  • Pre-Lodgement Application and Written Planning Advice
  • Swimming Pool Barrier Inspection Request/Compliance Certificate
  • Application for approval to connect stormwater drainage outlet to Council's System
Steps to take prior to Lodgement of a DA
  • Review of the Hornsby DCP and LEP page and General Planning Enquiries - Understanding the planning controls that apply to your property, the type of development you can undertake and how to address any non-compliances, is fundamental in determining the likelihood of an approval. You can obtain the planning controls that apply to your property on our website and discuss any implications which arise with Council’s the Duty Town Planner or by consulting with your architect, building consultant or town planner.
  • Consider one of Council's Planning Advice Services | Written Planning Advice | Pre lodgement Page to discuss specific and or complex planning, environmental or design issues and find out how to address any non-compliances with the planning controls.
  • It is strongly recommended that a Pre lodgement Application be made for complex planning matters or development in heritage conservation areas, development with heritage items, and development on environmentally sensitive land.
  • Read Council's Development Application Submission Guideline. The Lodgement Requirements are the primary tool for Council staff to determine whether your application can be accepted into the system to proceed to notification, referral, assessment and ultimately determination.

The application fee is a proportion of the development value. It covers Council costs, including notifying the community of your development and the assessment process. Please note that in most cases a Section 7.11 or 7.12 contribution fee will also be applicable after the development application is approved.

To find out the fee for your Development Application phone Council’s Customer Service on 98476666 and quote the development value.

Council’s fees and charges.

  1. Initial review
    An initial review of your application will be undertaken to make sure the application is complete. If the development does not comply and/or it lacks important information, Council will raise any issues or additional information required with the Applicant through the NSW Planning Portal.
  2. Notification/advertisement & Submissions
    Once your application is formally accepted by Council, it will be placed on public exhibition for generally 14 days and can extend to 30 days, depending on the development proposed. Surrounding residents will be notified in accordance with Council's Community Engagement Plan and will be provided to opportunity to make a submission about the proposed development. Application's on exhibition are viewable through Application Enquiry. Note: If an application is amended before a determination is made, the changes may require re-notification and be subject to a re-notification fee.
  3. Referral
    The majority of development applications will require input from specialists within Council, e.g. Tree officer, Building Surveyor, Development Engineer or Environmental Health Officer. If the application is classified as Integrated Development, or involves land associated with a public authority, the application may be forwarded through the NSW Planning Portal to the relevant public authority for comment. The assessment officer will take comments received from referral bodies into consideration when assessing the development application
  4. Assessment
    Once the notification period has finished, the assessment officer will commence assessing the development application. The officer will review all plans and supporting documentation, conduct a site inspection, review any submissions made, consider statutory requirements and compliance with relevant planning controls, and complete an assessment report.
  5. Determination
    The assessment officer will put forward a recommendation to management or the application may be determined by a Planning Panel, depending on its size, complexity, number of submissions received.
  6. Outcome
    The applicant will receive electronic confirmation of the outcome of the application.

Council receives and determines over 1000 Development Applications per year as well as numerous related applications such as Subdivision Works Certificates, Construction Certificates and Subdivision Certificates. There may be times when Council’s resources are stretched resulting in minor delays to processing your application.

For Development Applications, such as alterations and additions to dwellings, our target processing time is 60 days (excluding stop the clock, where additional information has been requested).

More complex Development Applications, or applications that attract a high level of community interest, generally take longer to assess and they may need to be determined by the Hornsby Local Planning Panel or the Sydney North Planning Panel. The target for reporting to these Panels is 180 days.

Council’s median processing time for the assessment of Development Applications for the financial year 2021/2022 was 46 days.

To assist Council in determining your application more quickly please ensure your Development Application is complete, containing all of the required information before submitting through the ePlanning Portal. Information required to be submitted with a Development Application can be found by reviewing the Development Application Submission Guide.

From January 2020, Council will raise requests for development applications requiring a concurrence and/or referral to the relevant agency through the NSW Planning Portal. If a payment is required, the applicant will be notified via email and the application will not progress until it is paid. For referrals not requiring payment will automatically be forwarded to the agency by Council.

Certain development applications require approval (such as a permit or license) from a NSW Government agency, before a determination can be made by Council, these are called integrated development. Integrated development applications require an approval listed in Section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. For example, this may include an aquaculture permit, mining lease, pollution licence, Aboriginal heritage impact permit. For Council to process an integrated development application, an integrated development fee is payable, in addition to a fee payable to the relevant NSW Government agency through the Planning Portal, as outlined above.

The Online Payments for Concurrence and Referrals guide (NSW Government) will assist you in paying the fee through the NSW Planning Portal.

Before you start any work, make sure you seek advice and approvals from Council or a planning professional. Protect yourself, your project and your community by following the guidance you are given to avoid unnecessary financial and legal consequences.

Once development consent is granted, there are some more steps you must take before you can start to build:

  • Obtain a construction certificate - In most cases, a construction certificate is required and can be obtained through Council or an accredited certifier (private certifier). Download the Construction Certificate Form and Checklist. Once completed the form may be lodged by mail or in person. Fees apply at this stage.
  • Appoint a principal certifying authority (PCA) - The certifier will conduct critical stage inspections and provide final completion certificates once your project is completed. See the Building Professionals Board for more information on appointing a private certifier.
  • Notify Council in writing of the PCA's details and the date of commencement of building works, at least 2 days prior to commencement.

Council is interested in your feedback regarding the Development Application process. This may be used to assist Council in improving its services.

Feedback can be left using the following email address: devmail@hornsby.nsw.gov.au.