Building and Development FAQs

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Building and Development FAQs

Common Questions

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions to do with planning, building and development.

​All development, unless it is complying or exempt development, (see types of development) requires the submission of a development application and the consent of Council, subject to the relevant legislation.

Exemptions apply in some instances for structures that meet specific guidelines.  It is necessary to refer to Schedule 2 of Coffs Harbour's Local Environmental Plan 2013 to check against the relevant provisions.

Applications that require development consent will generally also require issue of a construction certificate ​prior to the commencement of building or subdivision works.

Development consent can only be issued by Council.  The issuing of construction certificates and the undertaking of building inspections may be carried out by Council as well as accredited certifiers.

​Council's Duty Officer is available to take general enquiries between 8.30am and 12.00pm on weekdays or at other times by making an appointment. To make an appointment call Council on 02 6648 4000 between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

​Further details on the steps involved in the development application process are available here.

​You can track your DA through our DA Tracker Tool.

The time taken to determine a development application will be affected by a number of factors, including:

  • Whether you have researched and designed your development to Council's standards.
  • Whether you have submitted sufficient information, and the quality and professionalism of that information, to enable Council to meet its legal obligations to assess your application.
  • The response to your application from your neighbours and the wider community.
  • Whether Council considers there is a need for you to vary your proposal to meet planning requirements or community concerns.
  • Responses from government agencies involved in assessing your application.
  • The resources available to process your application.
  • Whether your application can be determined entirely under delegation, or whether it needs to be reported to a Council meeting.

​Council staff determine more than 95 per cent of development applications.  The remaining applications are reported to Council for determination.

​This depends on the level of delegation given to Council staff, whether significant public interest has been shown following consultation and whether the application proposes to vary Councils development standards.

​Council holds a public meeting every second Thursday. These meetings consider general Council business as well as Development Applications.

​Council advertises and notifies development proposals that may be contentious or that are likely to affect the amenity of neighbouring or nearby properties.  Council staff refer to the Development Control Plan (Notification) as a guide to the notification or advertising of applications.  Some development proposals, such as designated development, are required by law to be notified and advertised.

​Residential building work, which is to be carried out by a licensed builder and is valued at over $20,000 will need to be covered by Builders Warranty Insurance.

For residential works over $10,000 carried out by an owner builder, an Owner Builder Permit is required to be obtained from the Department of Fair Trading.  A copy of this permit must be supplied to Council or an accredited certifier before the construction certificate is released.

If the value of the building work exceeds $25,000 you will also need to pay the Long Service Levy which is 0.35% of the total cost of the work.  Council collects the Long Service Levy on behalf of the State Government.

​If the work you propose needs development consent from Council, you cannot commence work until development consent and a construction certificate has been obtained.  It is an offence under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to do so.

Works approved in the development consent must be commenced within a period of five years from the date shown as the commencement date.  The lapse date is also shown on the consent.  If you modify your development consent, the commencement and lapse dates do not change from those shown on the original consent.

​If a final inspection has been carried out, and occupation has been granted, a garbage bin should be organised by the inspector authorising occupation. 

  1. In the instance where a final inspection has been carried out, occupation has been granted and no garbage bin has been issued, contact Council on 02 6648 4000.
  2. If no final inspection has been carried out and the owners are occupying the building, then a final inspection needs to be organised and occupation granted prior to Council issuing a garbage bin.