27 is too many! Reports required for a DA in Sydney is excessive: Chris Johnson

27 is too many! Reports required for a DA in Sydney is excessive: Chris Johnson
27 is too many! Reports required for a DA in Sydney is excessive: Chris Johnson

EXPERT OBSERVER

Sydney councils are requiring an excessive number of specialist reports to submit a development application (DA) for a simple house.

The Urban Taskforce has undertaken a review of the number of reports required by Sydney councils for the lodgement of a DA for a simple house and we have found an amazing number of reports required.

Bayside Council requires 27 reports, Liverpool City Council requires 26 and Willoughby requires 23 reports just for a simple house. If a residential flat building is proposed the DA requirements escalate with the Northern Beaches Council requiring 49 reports. Each council issues a check list that lists the growing number of detailed reports required. Clearly this is getting out of control.”

Recent NSW Government initiatives to increase the number of projects that are assessed under Complying Development rules are excellent moves to a simpler planning system that have been announced by NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts.

The Greenfield Housing Code and the Missing Middle Code bye-pass most of the excessive number of reports required for Merit Assessed projects and this system should be expanded to larger scale projects.

Reports now required by Sydney councils for lodging a residential DA include Access Report, Acid Sulfate Soils Report, Air Quality Report, Asbestos Management Plan, Construction Noise and Vibration Management Plan, Contamination Assessment, Crime Risk assessment Report, Flora and Fora Assessment, Hazardous Materials Survey, Heritage Impact Statement, Noise Impact Analysis, Reflectivity Report, Security Management Plan, Tree Management Plan, Water Cycle Management Plan and many others.

Despite the introduction of the Greenfield Housing Code the NSW Government still sets requirements for multiple reports for merit assessment for a house that does not fit the code rules in the Box Hill Growth

Centre Precincts Development Control Plan that will be assessed by the Hills Shire Council requiring or may require 23 reports for a simple dwelling house DA. The reports include a Construction Noise and Vibration Management Plan, Contamination Assessment, Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan, Statement of Environmental Effects, Shadow Diagrams and possibly a Heritage Impact Statement, Noise Impact Analysis, Preliminary Engineering Drainage Plans.

Liverpool City Council require for a single dwelling house a Statement of Environmental Effects, Waste Management Plan, Sediment Control Plan and potentially a Traffic Report, Arborist Report, Archaeological Assessment, Salinity Management Response and Odour Assessment.

Canterbury Bankstown require a Neighbour Notification Plan for a DA for a single house. Willoughby City Council require for all DAs an Arborist Report, Acoustic Report, Archaeological Assessment Report, Demolition Report, Erosion/ Sediment Control Plan, Shadow Diagrams, Site and Context Analysis, Traffic and Parking Assessment and a Waste Management Plan.

The Urban Taskforce research found that there were 81 separate reports required for a residential DA across all of the Sydney councils and this did not include a number of other reports required for non- residential DAs.

Clearly a number of these reports are necessary to assess the Development Application for a single house but over recent years the number of specialist reports seems to have grown dramatically. Each of these reports costs the applicant a significant amount of money which just increases the cost of housing in Sydney.

It looks like council planners are very risk adverse and want expert reports on multiple areas that they can use to justify their decisions. The Urban Taskforce believes the requirements for a simple house DA have got out of control and that the NSW Government needs to review this by applying similar approaches to those contained in the complying codes. A whole industry of consultants has grown up around the requirement for expert reports and no doubt this group will encourage the need for even more reports. A balance is required in terms of a Report Impact Statement on Housing Costs to ensure the assessment process has not become too complex.

See below the schedule of reports required by 21 Sydney councils and the list of the 81 reports required for a residential DA in Sydney.

Click here to enlarge.

 27 is too many! Reports required for a DA in Sydney is excessive: Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here.

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