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How long do my Construction Certificate, Complying Development Certificate and Developing Application approvals last? - 22 Sep, 2021

How long do Construction Certificate (CC), Complying Development Certificate (CDC) and Developing Application (DA) approvals last? This is a question that is integral to the construction timeframe of any type of project. It’s well-known that construction on projects that require approvals cannot begin until approval has been granted. However, approvals also have a time limit. If your project does not start for a few months, you may want to find out about the lifetime of different approvals.


Why is it important to find out how long different approvals last?


Contrary to popular belief, acquiring approval is not the end of the process. We know that most of our clients are not aware of the time limitations on approvals. For cases where we think the lifetime of the approval may be in jeopardy, we ensure that they are aware of the limitations and advise them to delay the application for the approval.

There are many different reasons why knowing the lifetime of approvals is important. Here are a few:

  • You may mistakenly commence construction without having a valid CC.

  • You risk losing money having to restart the entire application process.

  • You can further delay your project while you wait for a second approval to go through.

  • You may encounter difficulty securing insurance for an unapproved build.

  • Your prospect of sales may be rescinded as potential buyers will be less likely to be interested in a build that is not immune from future legal challenges.

  • Your sale and rent of the building may suffer from inferior marketability to a lack of proper approval.

  • Your chances of obtaining an Occupation Certificate (OC) will be severely reduced. This is considered an offence under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act)

  • Your local council can issue a notice of intent or order for the demolition of the unauthorised building.

These are just a few of the reasons why knowing the lifetime of your approvals is important. Even if you unknowingly begin construction on a building without proper approval, the consequences will remain the same.


What are the time limitations for the different consents and certificates?

The CC, CDC and DA all have different time limitations. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Developing Consent

Designs and works approved in the Development Consent must be commenced within a period of five (5) years from the date that was identified as the commencement date in the application. The lapse date will be shown on the consent. If your Development Consent is modified, the commencement and lapse dates will not be altered from what was originally given.
Remember that developing consent only approves your works and does not allow you to begin construction.

Construction Certificate

Any work that is approved in the Construction Certificate must commence before the lapse date on the Development Consent but after the commencement date, irrespective of when the Construction Certificate was approved. This is because a Construction Certificate can only be valid for the same duration as the preceding Development Consent. Therefore, they will both expire at the same time.

Complying Development Certificate

Works approved in the Complying Development Certificate must start within a period of five (5) years from the date shown as the commencement date. The lapse date will be shown on the certificate.
Though the commencement and lapse date will be clearly shown on the above documents and certificates, it’s easy to forget through the duration of the approval.

Who is at risk for jeopardising the lifetime of their approvals?

After reading the lifetimes of each approval, some clients may wonder who may be at risk of allowing their approval to expire. While most homeowners can begin their construction within the stipulated time, many major developers are subject to significant delays from suppliers, board members, investors and clients can have a project drag on for years.
Clients who want to build properties on land that may be tied up in court are also often at risk of having their approval expire. When land is at the centre of a legal battle, no construction can take place. Sometimes, it can take years to resolve – depending on how complex the issue is. In these circumstances, owners of the property are at risk.
Another issue that may occur that has only become relevant in the last year is if a major event or disaster occurs. COVID-19 has made an impact on many construction projects, including causing significant delays for a variety of reasons.
We hope that our information on the expiration of different approvals was insightful. As you can see, there are severe consequences for building without proper consent, certificates and approvals. When you work with ES Design, we ensure that you are aware of your lapse dates and advise you on the optimal times to lodge your applications.