Skip links

CDC or DA? Guiding you through the compliance maze.


When faced with the decision between complying development certificate (CDC) and Council approval for a construction project, understanding the nuances and benefits of each option becomes crucial. From setbacks to floor space ratios, each approach presents unique considerations that can significantly impact the outcome of the project.

Setback: CDC or DA?

One key factor that influences the choice between CDC and Council approval is the set of rules and regulations governing each process. With CDC, certain aspects such as landscaped area requirements are often more lenient, especially on smaller blocks. This flexibility can be an advantage for families looking to maximize the use of their land, whether it’s for building a house with a pool or creating additional outdoor living space.

Making an informed decision between CDC and Council approval requires a deep understanding of the rules and regulations governing each process, as well as careful consideration of the home’s objectives and constraints.

CDC regulations around tree distances offer simplicity and clarity. With a state-based ruling dictating a minimum distance of 3 meters from any part of the dwelling to the external trunk of a tree over 8 meters in height, navigating tree-related restrictions becomes more straightforward compared to the varying requirements imposed by different Councils. 

Council approval also brings its own set of benefits, particularly in areas where the local regulations offer more favourable conditions. For instance, Councils may have higher maximum build heights or more generous floor space ratios, allowing for larger and more spacious homes compared to what is permitted under CDC guidelines.

Councils often have specific rules such as building envelopes, which define the allowable space for construction on a property. While these regulations may seem restrictive, they can also serve to preserve neighbourhood aesthetics and ensure adequate spacing between properties.

Northern Beaches Council have unique rules regarding setback

Council Rules for Knockdown Rebuild Northern Beaches Sydney

In addition to regulatory considerations, the choice between CDC and Council approval also involves practical factors such as construction timelines and design flexibility. CDC approvals typically have a faster turnaround time, making them appealing for those looking to expedite the building process. However, Council approvals may offer more flexibility in design, as builders can work around specific Council regulations to achieve desired outcomes.

Despite the potential benefits of each approach, it’s essential to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each construction project is unique, and the best approach depends on a combination of factors, including the specific requirements of the property, the desired design outcome, and the preferences of the homeowner.

Ultimately, making an informed decision between CDC and Council approval requires a deep understanding of the rules and regulations governing each process, as well as careful consideration of the project’s objectives and constraints. By working closely with experienced professionals who can navigate the complexities of both approaches, homeowners can ensure that their construction project proceeds smoothly and successfully, resulting in a home that meets their needs and aspirations.

If you have questions regarding your particular knockdown rebuild land, please make an appointment to speak to our design and compliance experts. 

Thinking of a Knockdown rebuild or wish to understand your block’s potential with a specialist who offers complete design customisation. Our team is available for onsite visits or virtual appointments, 7 days a week.

Sean Thornton – 0457 706 839
Danny Lewinton – 0407 170 156
Geoff Masters – 0466 327 327