Steps to Get Council Approval

When creating a new design for a new home or renovation, you will need approval from the council, and it is not as simple as you may think. Here you may have to push rules a bit to get your design and plan approved. You might force yourself to negate the outcome of what you want for your plan to sail through the system quickly and without a hassle.

To what extent do you push the rules or break the rules to get what you want? That should be a question a property owner needs to ask. And is it worth pushing the rules, or you can still gain council approval even when your project breaks the rules? Or build a non-contentious building that has guaranteed approval? Which way is better? I will share three helpful tips that will guide your decision below.


There is a risk if you choose a design that doesn’t meet the local rules. At some point, you will have to demolish and start again. That is a considerable risk to bear. Different states enforce different rules and guides that govern property development. The council will approve your development plan at different levels; your ability to access all council approval levels is beneficial.

Still under the risk factor is exempt development. It is the most straightforward path to follow for council approval. Here you will not have the pressure to get it all. Projects that won’t require council approval fall under exempt development. You need to assess if your project falls under this category, then you can develop without the council’s approval.

Compliant development allows you to skip the process of council approval if you satisfy specific rules that define development in the category. If your project falls under this category, you only need to comply with building approval and skip the council approval.

Council approval development can be tricky. In some instances, if you are lucky, you can have a straight-through path to approval, sometimes you will wait for months or years before getting approval. Sometimes the council seeks opinions from the community to see if they approve your project.

Legally speaking, pushing the rules might escalate the levels you require to approve your project. And when you run out of options and still getting a no, you might want to take the battle through the courts. Still, you are not guaranteed to get a yes. Determining how far you can push the rules without escalating the approval levels is equally essential, plus the risk of starting again from zero.


Sometimes, it is helpful to wait until you have the council’s approval before flagging off your project unless you are 100% confident of getting approval in the long run. You can kick off the project while waiting for the council’s approval, but that is too way risk. Approval takes from zero to more than a year, but if you don’t want to wait that long, then weigh between pushing the rules and their impacts on your decision.


In whatever level of approval you take, money is involved. So the higher you push the rules, the more money you will spend for approval. You will still incur the cost of hiring a consultant to prepare your proposal, and it is wise not to go for it alone, especially when trying to break or push the rules!


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