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Development Approval in Commercial Construction

So, you have chosen your commercial builder (hopefully the right one!), happy with the design of your building and are eager to get started…

Client: “So when do we start?”

Builder: “Once we receive DA approval, then we can submit for Building Permit”….

Hmmm, what does that even mean? How long do you have to wait? What the hell is DA?

Development Application or DA, as we like to call it, is the first stepping stone when it comes to the approvals process.

The building process can be a bit mind boggling the first time but there a couple of hoops to jump through with the Council before any soil is turned over. In most cases your chosen Builder will take care of the whole process but even so, it is good to know what is involved. Without getting too bogged down, let’s review what’s required.

This application is relatively simple. You or your commercial builder will submit the following on your behalf:

  • A completed application form with the applicants details along with the land owner’s information.
  • It must be noted whether Commercial or Industrial
  • Complete Industrial Checklist, if applicable
  • Certificate of Title obtained from Landgate
  • When constructing in certain commercial areas, design guidelines may apply and require the developer to sign off on the design
  • Set of Architectural drawings
  • A fee is payable upon submission. The fee is determined by a Schedule and is based on the value of the proposed development. (Always check with your commercial builder if this portion has been allowed for in contract price)

After all has been submitted, the Council can take as long as three months to either approve or not approve D/A. In some cases, the council may question things like not having enough car bays for the premises or the landscaping area needs to be increased. If this happens, the Architect on the project will be required to revise the plan to suit. Most qualified Architects and Commercial Builders like Buildcom Construction WA will already know these requirements which will therefore limit the back and forth with council.

Once Development Approval has been issued, it is important to note that it is not a Building Permit and you cannot commence construction. Council will issue you with an approval letter with a list of conditions you and your commercial builder must comply with. Any specials points may need to be included in the Issued For Construction Drawings. The final step is Building Permit application. (see our blog on this)


For further DA information on each council please click on the links below:—Checklists-Forms-and-Policies