Aside from the laborious nature of form-filling, one reason most developers hate submitting development applications is because of how long the local council takes the process them. However, while councils don't always process applications as quickly as they could, it's actually often the developer who's responsible for the slow approval. That's because many developers make mistakes when filling out the forms, and these mistakes cause lengthy delays.
If you want to avoid the holding costs and lost income that comes with slow development application processing, take a look at these 3 key areas you need to be vigilant about when applying.
Don't Miss Deadlines
One of the most common reasons development applications take longer than expected to process is because of missed deadlines. Every council imposes a specific timescale in which applications must be accepted and rejected. This means that once you've submitted the main part of your application, you need to fill out any and all extra information requested before that deadline hits. If you don't, it's possible that the council won't be able to finish processing your application in time. If they don't, the application will lapse and you'll have to resubmit it, severely delaying your approval.
Match Council Records
As with any form, you'll need to make sure everything's filled in correctly when you file for development approval with your local council. However, many developers don't realise just how stringent councils can be when it comes to verifying information that's been logged on the application. One example that trips many developers up is proving the landowner's consent. You need to make sure the landowner's name and any other personal details of theirs match the rates records your council holds.
If ownership has recently been transferred, you may even need to provide proof that the landowner actually has legal rights over the property. Make sure you double-check everything you write into your form against the local government records to avoid this type of delay.
Know the Constraints
Another issue that causes delays is developers not knowing their constraints of their site well enough. Well before you start your application, you need to have your land comprehensively assessed for applicable constraints. For example, if you don't know the flood and bushfire risk of your site or the ecological and archaeological significance, the council may have to pause processing to ask you to provide this information.
Not only will this scenario likely mean you'll miss the statutory deadline for your application, the results of these assessments may force you to change your proposal altogether. For the sake of your wallet, it's best to have all the information you're going to need ready ahead of time.
Development applications can be tricky, even for experienced developers, so make sure you have the help of a great town planning consultant along the way.