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Your Guide to CDC Approval: Unveiling the Process and Estimating Costs

Complying Development Certificates (CDCs) play a pivotal role in the regulatory landscape, providing a streamlined approval process for certain development projects. Understanding the complying development certificate process is crucial for property owners, developers, and anyone involved in construction or renovation projects. 


In this comprehensive guide, find the intricacies of obtaining CDC approval, explore the process, and estimate associated costs.

  • What is a Complying Development Certificate?


A complying development certificate is a planning approval issued by local authorities or accredited certifiers for straightforward, low-impact development projects. Introduced to expedite the approval process, CDCs are designed for projects that meet specific criteria outlined in local planning regulations. By adhering to these criteria, applicants can benefit from a faster and more streamlined approval process compared to traditional development applications.

  • The Complying Development Certificate Process

  • Preliminary Assessment


The primary step in obtaining a CDC involves a preliminary assessment to determine whether the proposed development qualifies for complying development. This assessment considers factors like zoning regulations, site constraints, and environmental impact. Property owners or developers may engage with a certified planner or accredited certifier at this stage to ensure compliance with local regulations.

  • Eligibility Check


To be eligible for a CDC, the proposed development must meet specific criteria outlined in the relevant planning instruments and development control plans. Common criteria include the type of development, setbacks, height restrictions, and environmental considerations. Carefully review these criteria and consult with professionals to ensure compliance.

  • Preparation of Documentation


After confirming eligibility, the next step involves preparing comprehensive documentation for the CDC application. This may include architectural plans, site assessments, environmental impact reports, and any other required documentation specified by local authorities. The accuracy and completeness of these documents are crucial for a smooth approval process.

  • Submission of Application


The completed CDC application is then submitted to the local council or an accredited certifier. The application should include all necessary documentation, and fees must be paid as per the local council’s requirements. The submission triggers the formal assessment process, during which the certifier reviews the application against the relevant criteria.

  • Statutory Timeframes


The key advantage of the CDC process is the adherence to statutory timeframes. In many cases, certifiers are required to assess and determine CDC applications within a specific timeframe, providing applicants with certainty and efficiency in the approval process. These timeframes can vary between different regions, so it’s essential to check local regulations.

  • Approval or Refusal


After assessment, the certifier will approve or refuse the CDC application. If approved, the certificate will outline the conditions that must be met during the construction or development process. In case of refusal, the certifier will provide reasons for the decision, allowing the applicant to address any deficiencies and resubmit if necessary.

  • Estimating Costs Associated with Complying Development Certificates


Estimating the overall cost of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) project is crucial for financial planning and project success. Accurate cost projections enable property owners and developers to allocate resources effectively, avoiding unforeseen financial challenges. 

  • Application Fees


The first cost associated with obtaining a CDC is the application fee. This fee covers the administrative costs of processing the application and varies depending on the nature and scale of the proposed development. Check with the local council or certifier for the specific fee structure applicable to your project.

  • Professional Consultation Fees


Engaging certified planners, architects, or other professionals to assist with the preliminary assessment and documentation preparation incurs additional costs. While these fees contribute to a thorough and compliant application, they should be factored into the overall project budget.

  • Documentation Costs


The preparation of comprehensive documentation, including architectural plans and environmental impact reports, may involve expenses related to drafting, printing, and submitting multiple copies. Applicants should budget for these documentation costs, which may vary based on the project’s complexity.

  • Compliance Costs


Ensuring the proposed development complies with all relevant criteria may require additional expenses. This could include modifications to the initial plans or addressing environmental concerns. Property owners should be prepared to cover any costs associated with meeting compliance requirements.

  • Construction Costs


While not directly related to the CDC application process, consider the overall construction costs when estimating the budget for your project. The CDC approval will outline specific conditions that must be met during construction, and adhering to these conditions may impact the overall development cost.


Understanding the comprehensive CDC cost allows for better negotiation with professionals, like certifiers and consultants. It ensures that all associated expenses, from application fees to compliance and construction costs, are accounted for. By assessing the financial implications, stakeholders can accelerate their development journey with confidence, enhancing the likelihood of a smooth and financially sound project execution.

  • Conclusion


Navigating the complying development certificate process requires a thorough understanding of local regulations, careful planning, and adherence to specific criteria. By following the outlined steps and estimating associated costs, property owners and developers can streamline the approval process and ensure a compliant and efficient development project. As the regulatory landscape evolves, staying informed about changes to CDC requirements and consulting with professionals in the field will contribute to successful and timely approvals.