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Development Advisory Service

Pre-Lodgement Consultation

Delays in the assessment of development applications often arise as a result of inadequate information being submitted, a lack of knowledge about Council's planning controls and insufficient knowledge of local issues.

Experience has shown that attending a meeting with Council's Development Advisory Service staff before lodging an application is helpful to allow you to obtain advice on Council's land use controls, policies and guidelines and to present concept drawings with a brief outline of the proposal before preparing detailed plans. If there are fundamental concerns about site planning or the design concept, these can be addressed before detailed plans are prepared and will assist you in developing a high quality proposal, avoid unnecessary delays in the assessment process, saving you time and money.

General Advice

General advice can be obtained by contacting the Development Advisory Service (DAS) by phone on 1300 581 299 or visiting Council's Customer Service Centre, 444-446 Princes Highway, Rockdale. The DAS can provide advice regarding:

  • Design guidelines and objectives
  • Development standards
  • Site constraints
  • Exempt and complying development
  • Heritage status
  • Other approvals needed
  • Building regulations and construction certificates
  • Other matters you will need to consider when designing your proposal

Minor Development Advice Meetings

Minor Development Advice (MDA) Meetings are a free service, which provide an opportunity for local residents to ask questions, and discuss planning matters regarding small scale residential development such as:

  • Construction of a new dwelling
  • Alterations and additions
  • Swimming pools
  • Outbuildings, garages etc

If you have concept plans or drawings and any other supporting information about what you are seeking to do, it is recommended that you send these to Council prior to the meeting. It is preferred that plans be provided in PDF format however Council will accept paper copies should you not be able to provide a PDF copy. Any plans and documentation can be sent to Council by mail, email or be delivered in person to Council's Customer Service Centre.

The meeting will be held with a senior town planner of Council. In the meeting, you can ask questions regarding what information you need to submit to Council and what planning controls apply to your proposal.

Meetings can be arranged by contacting Council's Development Advisory Service on 1300 581 299 or by email to and are generally arranged within 1 week of the initial contact. Bookings are essential.

At the meeting you will be provided with a package that includes the relevant application form and checklist, Development Application Guide and a notepad for you to take notes during the meeting.  

Pre-Development Application Advice

In addition to obtaining general advice you can also elect to receive more formal advice in the form of a Pre-Development Application (Pre-DA) Meeting. A Pre-DA Meeting is generally held within two weeks of the lodgement of the application.

A Pre-DA meeting provides you with the opportunity to discuss and receive feedback from Council on the technical and merit aspects of a development proposal. A Pre-DA can help identify lodgement requirements, relevant planning controls and related local issues prior to the lodgement of a development application.

Use of the Pre-DA service is highly recommended for all prospective applicants for dual occupancies, multi-residential, mixed development and major commercial or industrial development. Mandatory Pre-DA Meetings are required for significant or larger scale development within the City.

After the Pre-DA Meeting, the Development Advisory Service will provide a written response highlighting relevant control, provide recommendations and indicate design changes that are needed to improve the quality of your proposal.

Design Review Panel

Rockdale City Council encourages high quality urban design through a joint design review panel (DRP) with Kogarah City and Hurstville City Councils. It has been established in line with SEPP 65 to review the design quality of new residential flat buildings comprising three or more stories and four or more dwellings.

The DRP carries out a review of proposals against the 10 design principles identified within SEPP 65 and advises whether the proposal is acceptable or requires redesign. Written recommendations are provided to Council and the applicant addressing the 10 design principles.

All development applications submitted under SEPP 65 are required to be submitted before the panel, even if the application has had a Pre-DA Meeting.

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