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DA Guide

Development Application Guide

Step 1 – Check if Council approval is required

Before you undertake any development or building works, you will need to determine what approvals are required.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 defines development as:
  • the use of land, and
  • the subdivision of land, and
  • the erection of a building, and
  • the carrying out of a work, and
  • the demolition of a building or work
  • any other act, matter or thing controlled by an environmental planning instrument.

Certain types of minor development may be carried out as Exempt or Complying Development. All other development will require a Development Application to be submitted to Council.

Exempt Development

Exempt development is development that complies with specified criteria. It is of a minor nature and may be carried out without Council consent subject to compliance with specific requirements and limitations.

For this type of development to be carried out without consent, all of the criteria and requirements specified in the relevant planning instrument must be met, including compliance with the Building Code of Australia. If any of the criteria cannot be fully met, a complying certificate or development approval must be obtained before carrying out the work or development.

Complying Development

Complying development is development that has a greater impact than the exempt development types, but is still considered to have minor environmental impact on neighbourhood amenity which can be addressed by predetermined development criteria.

Complying development is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward development that can be determined by Council or a private accredited certifier.

Exempt and Complying Development is specified under:

If proposal meets the Exempt Development criteria, Council approval is not required, however it is suggested that you inform Council in writing of your proposal.

If proposal meets the Complying Development criteria, then approval is required. Approval can be issued by an Accredited Certifier or Council. If approval is sought from Council the following application form should be used:

If proposal does not meet Exempt or Complying Development criteria, then proceed to the next step.

Step 2 – Consult Mosman LEP and DCPs

If the proposal does not meet Exempt or Complying Development criteria, then you need to consult the following Mosman Council documents:
Local Environmental Plan
Development Control Plans
These documents contain planning controls and requirements for development in Mosman.

Step 3 – Consult Neighbours and Meet with Council Staff

Council encourages you to consult with neighbours to provide an opportunity to accommodate any reasonable concerns. Consulting neighbours can improve the development application process if neighbours have an understanding of the proposal before the Development Application is lodged.

It is recommended that before submitting the Development Application you meet with Council staff and discuss the proposal. This will provide opportunity to seek input from council staff about your proposal before preparing detailed plans. Meetings with Council staff can take one of two forms:

Informal meeting

Informal meetings can provide a general indication as to whether the proposal meets the objectives of the planning controls in Mosman, and can identify issues that need to be addressed in the Development Application. No written feedback will be provided.

Formal prelodgement meeting

Council offers a formal prelodgement meeting service for a fee.

Advantages of a formal prelodgement meeting

Mosman Council provides a formal prelodgement meeting service to potential applicants to ensure they are aware of the relevant standards, codes and policies against which a proposal will be assessed. The discussion held with council staff at the prelodgement meeting will be documented and written feedback will be provided. The amount of input given by staff depends on the amount and quality of information that you are able to provide. If you decide to go ahead and lodge your application, staff will refer to the prelodgement meeting minutes as part of the assessment process.

What can I expect from a formal prelodgement meeting?

A prelodgement meeting gives you:

  • an understanding of issues that might cause delay, need further consideration, have some sensitivity or cause concern;
  • knowledge about what information, plans, drawings or technical reports you need to lodge with your development application;
  • an understanding of the permissibility of your proposal and the relevant development standards, controls and policies;
  • a meeting with at least two assessment staff;
  • a meeting date arranged within ten (10) days after lodgement; and
  • written feedback outlining the description of site and proposal discussed as well as an outline of any issues or concerns raised by the proposal.

Important note: Attending a prelodgement meeting and addressing concerns and comments made does not imply that the development will gain development consent. The views of the community, internal specialists and other government authorities are not able to be taken into account in the prelodgement process.

How do I arrange a formal prelodgement meeting?

Complete the prelodgement application form. Lodge the form with the applicable fee and any plans and supporting documentation you have prepared.

The prelodgement application will be allocated to an officer who will call you to arrange a site inspection and meeting time.

What do I supply with a prelodgement meeting?

It is important to be prepared for the prelodgement meeting. You will need to have an outline of what is being proposed. The amount of input given by staff depends on the amount and quality of information that you are able to provide. Useful material includes:

  • concept plans and survey plan;
  • general information covering what you hope to achieve on the site and how you propose to address any likely impacts on the local area; and
  • details about the site and adjoining development.
Prelodgement meeting fee schedule
The following charges apply to formal prelodgement meetings:
Cost of WorkFee
Up to $1,200,000 $1,224
$1,200,001 to $2,500,000 $2,035
$2,500,001 to $5,000,000$3,060

Step 4 – What to submit with an Application

The Development Application Guide, Matrix and Detailed Checklist provides important information for applicants when lodging applications with Mosman Council.

The Development Application Form is required to be used for Development Applications, Review Applications and Modification Applications.

Development Applications must contain all necessary information as identified in the Detailed Checklist.

  • DA Fee Estimator – an Excel spreadsheet to help you calculate the fees payable

The following information MUST be provided with all development applications:

  • CD or USB with each plan and document required as a separate PDF in Adobe format;
  • scaled architectural plans including site plan, elevations and sectional details;
  • site analysis plan;
  • survey plan;
  • landscape plans and calculations;
  • concept drainage plans (which may require installation of an on-* site detention system and/or the creation of an easement through adjoining property/ies); and
  • shadow diagrams.

The following information is to be provided with Development Applications if applicable:

  • Architectural model – mandatory if the value of the work is above $1.5 million;
  • Statement of Heritage Impact – if the property is heritage affected;
  • Traffic and Parking Impact Study – commercial and multi-residential development;
  • Building Code of Australia (BCA) – particularly for development where BCA requirements may affect the design of the building;
  • Acoustic report – where the proposal has the potential to generate a noise impact and residential development on Spit and Military Roads;
  • Where works are classified as Integrated Development additional documentation and fees are required to forward the proposal to the relevant Government authorities, such as NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service – contact Council for more information about Integrated Development;
  • Arborist report;
  • Schedule of finishes for new buildings;
  • Geotechnical report; and
  • BASIX Certificate – for further information visit the BASIX website

Step 5 – Lodging an Application

Council has established a Development Application lodgement process aimed at reducing waiting times and assisting applicants with the submission of their applications. This process is applicable to all Development Applications and Modification Applications.

Applicant submissions are lodged directly with the Development Services team for review. On provision of the documents, the applicant will receive an acknowledge email and reference number. Staff will then undertake a pre-lodgement review of the documents submitted within five days.

If the documentation is found to be in order, Council will calculate and advise the applicant via email of the required fee and the application reference number. The fee can be paid in person at Council, by mail or by online payment. On payment of the fee the application will be formally lodged, a tax invoice/receipt will be emailed to the applicant, and the assessment of the application will commence. Once payment is received the application can be tracked on Council’s DA Tracker, where the name and phone number of the assessment officer will be available.

Where the documentation is found to be deficient and it can’t be readily remedied, the submission will be returned to the applicant to address the identified shortcomings.

Step 6 – Public Notification and Submissions

Applications are notified in accordance with the Mosman Community Participation Plan.

The majority of applications are notified for 14 days. Applications involving Integrated and Designated development are notified for 28 days. Extended notification periods apply over the Christmas and New Year period.

Applications are notified in the following ways:
  • a letter describing the proposal is sent to affected neighbours.
  • a notice is erected on the site.
  • the proposal is listed in Council’s Column in the Mosman Daily and the Public Notices page on this website.

During the notification period the following is available to assist you in making a submission:

  • The DA Tracker contains all relevant details of the proposal, including plans.
  • Hard copies of the documents lodged with the application can be viewed at the Civic Centre during normal business hours (Public Holidays excepted).

For your and our personal safety we encourage you to view the documents online rather than attend council (Added 16 March 2020).

If you make a submission please remember:

  • You should review the plans and read the accompanying information so you are clear on the details. Mostly, the applicant will be your neighbour or their architect so you may be able to clarify detail or resolve any concerns by discussing it with them.
  • Development assessment involves a process of mutual adjustment between your legitimate concerns and the reasonable development rights of the applicant. Council has to evaluate both within a statutory planning framework and in many cases no party will be totally satisfied. This is the nature of the process.
  • Council is interested in what your issues are with the DA. These are best expressed in your own words and need not rely on lengthy references to provisions of planning instruments (LEPs and DCPs) – references which may obscure real issues.
  • Council staff are available to assist you with interpretation of DA documents and general enquiries during the notification period; however, detailed explanation of the applicant’s intent can best be obtained from the applicant direct.
  • Staff do not reply to questions posed in written submissions but cover issues as part of the DA assessment.

How to make a submission

During the notification period you are able to make a submission either online via the DA Tracker or by email to


Submissions will be acknowledged by email or letter by post.


The supply of personal contact information in a submission is voluntary pursuant to the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. By including your contact information in a submission you are acknowledging that it will be made available for public view at Council offices and through the Council website.

Disclosure requirements

If you have given a gift or made a donation to a Councillor, an employee or an approved contractor of Mosman Council within the past two (2) years, by law you must include a disclosure statement with your submission.

Assessment and Decisions

When considering a DA the assessment officer will have regard to:

  • Statutory requirements under the Act;
  • Adopted policies of Council; and
  • Issues raised in written submissions.

Some applications are determined under delegated authority of Council whilst others are determined by the Mosman Local Planning Panel (MLPP) or the Sydney North Planning Panel.

If the application is to be referred to the MLPP for determination you will not be notified in writing. Instead, you are invited to either:
  • Register for MLPP Notification on the DA Tracker and receive emailed notification if an application is referred to MLPP for determination.
  • Check Council website’s Mosman Local Planning Panel page; or
  • Phone the agenda hotline on 9978 4122 to confirm what matters are listed on the MLPP Agenda.

When a final determination is made all people who made a submission are informed of the outcome. The Assessment Report and Notice of Determination are made available on the DA Tracker.

Note: any written submission made regarding a Development Application will be available for the public to access via the DA Tracker.

Step 7 – Determination: Decisions, Delegations and Meetings

Mosman Local Planning Panel

In 2017, the NSW Government introduced changes to make local planning panels (LPPs), formerly known as independent hearing and assessment panels, mandatory for all councils in Greater Sydney.

The establishment of the Mosman Local Planning Panel (MLPP) means that development applications will be determined by either Council staff, the Mosman Local Planning Panel or the Sydney North Planning Panel.

Applications will be referred to the Mosman Local Planning Panel for advice prior to determination if:

a. The application involves a development application:

i. with unresolved objections from three or more properties; or

ii. with continuing unresolved objections relating to view loss of the Harbour or scenic landmarks (i.e. the Heads, Opera House or Harbour Bridge); or

iii. with at least one objection from a property owner that shares a side boundary and there is non-compliance with the minimum side setback requirement of the DCP and/or the development would extend beyond the rear alignment of that same adjoining neighbour’s building.

b. The application relates to a review of determination pursuant to S.8.2(1)(a) or S.8.2(1)(b) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

c. The application relates to a modification of development consent under S.4.55(2) or S.4.56(1) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 where the terms of a. (i), (ii) and (iii) apply.

d. The General Manager, Director Environment and Planning or Manager Development Services considers the application should be brought before the Panel.

e. The application involves public land, Crown land where Mosman Council is the reserve trust manager, or an unmade road zoned RE1 or E2 under Mosman LEP2012, or land owned by a public authority as defined in the Local Government Act 1993 and the application is a determination of application for Development Consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Applications will be referred to the Mosman Local Planning Panel for determination if:

f. The applicant or land owner is the Council, a councillor, a staff member of Mosman Council who is involved in the Council’s functions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, a member of parliament or a relative of any such a person, where the development is other than internal alterations and additions to any building that is not a heritage item, advertising signage, maintenance and restoration of a heritage item or a minor building structure/s projecting from the building facade over public land.

g. The application is the subject of 10 or more unique submissions by way of objection.

h. The application contravenes a development standard imposed by an environmental planning instrument by more than 10% or a non-numerical development standard.

i. The application involves designated development, development to which State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 – Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development applies, demolition of a heritage item (either wholly or partially), new licenced premises (requiring a club licence, a hotel (general bar) licence or a on-premises licence for public entertainment), sex services premises, restricted premises or where the applicant has offered to enter into a planning agreement.

Further information regarding the Mosman Local Planning Panel, including the agenda and decisions can be found here.

Sydney North Planning Panel

A Development Application will be referred to the Sydney North Planning Panel for determination if the application involves regionally significant development. Further information can be found on the Greater Sydney Commission website.

Public notification of certain decisions and reasons for the decisions

Schedule 1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 provides mandatory notification requirements relating to determinations of an application for development consent or modification of a development consent and requires that public notification be provided of:

a. the decision, and

b. the date of the decision, and

c. the reasons for the decision (having regard to any statutory requirements applying to the decision), and

d. how community views were taken into account in making the decision.

This information is provided on the DA Tracker in the form of the Notice of Determination (a & b) and Assessment Report (c & d).

Step 8 – DA approved. What happens next?

Once your DA is approved, there are some more steps you must take before you can start to build:

a. Obtain a Construction Certificate (CC)

You need a construction certificate before you can start building work.

A construction certificate confirms building plans comply with the BCA, are ‘not inconsistent’ with the development consent and comply with relevant conditions of the development consent.

Private accredited certifiers and councils can issue construction certificates.

If you want Council to issue your construction certificate you will need to complete the Application for Construction Certificate. Council’s certifiers can be contacted on 9978 4094 should you have any questions or require further information about lodging a construction certificate.

The NSW Building Professionals Board (BPB) provides a register of private accredited certifiers and information on the role of accredited certifiers on the NSW Building Professionals Board (BPB) website

Before obtaining a construction certificate with either a private accredited certifier or council you will need to pay certain fees to council. Using the booking calendar on Council’s website an appointment can now be made to pay these fees with customer service staff. Customers booking an appointment will benefit from reduced waiting time and they will also receive an email reminder of all documents required for the appointment.

b. Appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)

The PCA must be appointed by the ‘person having the benefit of the development consent’ – this means you as the owner and not your builder.

The PCA can either be council or a private accredited certifier.

If you want to appoint Council as the PCA please contact our certifiers on 9978 4094.

The NSW Building Professionals Board (BPB) provides a register of private accredited certifiers and information on the role of accredited certifiers on the NSW Building Professionals Board (BPB) website

The PCA is usually the same person or firm that issued your CC, but does not have to be – as with your CC, it can be a private accredited certifier or council as PCA.

The PCA’s job is to work with you through the construction process and issue you with an Occupation Certificate (OC) when the work is completed. To make this decision, the PCA inspects the development at various points in the build and ultimately ensures that the building is safe and fit to occupy and in accordance with the development consent and CC.

c. Give the council two days’ notice before you start work

As the person having the benefit of a development consent, you must give council at least two days notice in writing of your intention to commence work on the site, and must notify council in writing at least two days before building work commences of your appointed PCA.

Step 9 – Construction and the Principal Certifying Authority

A Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is required to inspect the building work during the course of construction to ensure compliance with the relevant standards. This PCA may be the Council or from private enterprise. Council must be notified who the PCA is at least 2 days before work commences.


For details of accreditation of appropriate professionals see the Building Professionals Board .