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What Approvals Are Required for Your Commercial Fit-out

Fitting out your new commercial space can be an exciting, yet challenging project to organise. It’s fundamental to keep in mind the various compliances and approvals you will require prior to beginning and throughout the duration of the fitout, whether your building is heritage listed or not.

Your fitout can be subject to approval in a similar way to a home renovation. Let’s talk about the breakdown and process below.

One of the first steps you must undertake, is to obtain the approval of the building owner or building manager. You need this first because an owner/manager is more likely to sign a lease with a fully signed-off design plan. The next step is to seek all the necessary approvals, this will either be a DA (Development Application) or CDC (Complying Development Certificate). These approvals ensure your office fitout meets all local building standards

Do I Need a DA or CDC?

To know exactly which one you’ll need for your commercial fit-out you need to first understand the differences:

A DA is needed when either the building you have chosen has never been used as an office/commercial space previously or if you are carrying out work on a heritage-listed building. In this case, after you receive the DA approval, you will then need to go ahead and apply for a CC (Construction Certificate). This certificate gives confirmation on the specific changes that will be made to the building.

A CDC is required when there are no changes to the building use. For instance, if you have chosen to move into a space that was previously used as an office or by a similar organisation, then you would need a CDC.

Under NSW’s State Environmental Planning Policy, a CDC is designed to ensure compliance with various environmental and safety codes. This certificate gives you planning and construction approval for a project that complies, meaning that the project in question is relatively straightforward in nature.


How Do I Get a DA or CDC?

For a DA, you need to contact your local council. They will be able to issue this approval for you. If you are looking for a CDC, it is a little less complicated and is issued by a private certifier. Provided you meet the guidelines and codes set out by the State Government, the process of having your project approved and gaining a CDC should be an uncomplicated matter.

Once you have completed all the necessary above approvals and you have officially completed the office fitout, you can then apply for an Occupational Certificate. This confirms the work mentioned in the CC or CDC.


The Step by Step Process

To sum it all up, you simply need to follow the below steps and you’re ready for your commercial fitout to commence:

  1. If your office design has not been pre-approved (an approved company like Hasbuilt would check for compliance in advance) this can raise red flags which can set back your design/ office fitout.
  2. Once the building owner has signed off on your office fitout plans and your lease agreement, the next step is to lodge approval forms, paperwork and sufficient designs for your new office.
  3. Hasbuilt cannot lodge a request for a DA or CDC, they can only assist you.
  4. Once all forms have been completed and given to the responsible party, and fees have been paid, a representative from a council or private certifier will carry out the approval process.
  5. When you have approval in writing, you can then commence construction.
  6. Apply for an Occupational Certificate and you’re done.


At Hasbuilt, we understand just how difficult it can be coordinating a new commercial fitout from start to finish, without issue. That’s where our team comes in. We have the experience and in house designers, that are aware of the standards and can tailor to your needs. Our expert commercial fitout team can make the process a seamless, stress free experience and guarantee you less hassle with certifiers and/or council. Talk to us today about you next commercial fitout.

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