Works Approval Process

1. Do I need a Works Approval?

Any alteration to buildings or structures, demolition, landscaping or excavation works in the Designated Areas requires the prior written approval of the NCA or 'Works Approval'. 

Click here to find out if you need a Works Approval. 

2. Starting the dialogue

Anyone considering building, landscaping or other works within Designated Areas is encouraged to contact the NCA at an early stage to discuss the proposal, before completing and lodging an application for Works Approval.

The Works Approval team can be contacted by emailing or calling 02 6271 2888 to initiate discussions or book a meeting time.

3. Submission of sketch plans

For major works approval applications, a sketch design which shows the development intention should be submitted to the NCA for consideration and comment, before proceeding with detailed design development.

Discussions held with the NCA in the early stages of developing designs for a proposal will help identify any major issues that require resolution prior to works approval being granted.

4. Lodging an Application

Lodging works approval applications is done using the Works Approval eLodgement system.

Information Required

Applications must be submitted via the Works Approval eLodgement portal. Please note that applications, at a minimum, need to include:

  • A written description of works
  • Location plan
  • Authority from the lessee or land custodian to lodge the application (Not required if you are the lessee or land custodian for the site).

The NCA will consider the formal application and, once it is satisfied that all relevant matters have been resolved and the proposal is in accordance with the National Capital Plan, issue a works approval decision notice.

A checklist of the information for major and minor applications which should be provided with an application are available for download.

While basic information (such as a locality plan and scaled drawings) is always required, more detailed information may be required depending on the complexity of the proposal. For larger or complex projects, there may be a need for detailed visual studies or models to be submitted in support of the application.

5. Consideration of Applications

The NCA's Service Charter includes a target to finalise its consideration of formal applications within 15 working days. Major projects and those which require consultation or clearance from external agencies may take longer.

6. External Consultation and Clearances

The National Capital Plan sets out specific requirements for public consultation of dual occupancy residential development on detached house blocks and for telecommunications facilities which are likely to have a high visual impact in Designated Areas. There may also be public consultation requirements for all proposal which are assessed as not having a 'low' impact in accordance with the NCA's 'Commitment to Community Engagement'

Adjoining neighbours are also consulted on single dwelling residential development in Designated Areas.

For development proposals on sites that:

  • may have endangered and protected species of flora and fauna, or some other environmental value, or
  • have a significant impact on the heritage values of a ‘place' entered in the Commonwealth or National Heritage list

the applicant may be required to provide evidence of clearance or approval from the Department of the Environment before the Authority will grantits approval to the proposal.

Where projects involve established buildings, artworks, or designed landscape areas, obligations under the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2002 must be met by the owner of the property.

Consultations with Australian Capital Territory Government agencies may also be required on vehicular access, traffic safety, waste management, storm water drainage, leasing and lease compliance, tree preservation, and verge landscaping and management.

Some works approval applications will require public consultation in accordance with the National Capital Plan and the NCA’s ‘Commitment to Community Engagement (February 2015)’.

7. Decisions and Appeals

Once the NCA makes a decision on a works approval application, the applicant, and any submitters to proposals released for public consultation, will be promptly notified. There is no provision for planning appeal relating to the merits or otherwise of development proposals approved or not supported by the NCA. There is however, opportunity to challenge the decision administratively. This provides the opportunity for recourse under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 to determine whether a decision of the Authority has been made correctly.

8. Parliamentary Zone Development

The Parliamentary Zone - the place of the people is the physical manifestation of Australian democratic government and the home of the nation's most important cultural and judicial institutions and symbols.

Because of this significance, works proposed within the Parliamentary Zone require the approval of the National Capital Authority and also require the approval of both Houses of Federal Parliament.

Works related to maintenance and repair and that are of temporary or minor nature do not require parliamentary approval.

The parliamentary approval process is coordinated by the Authority, but is separate from, and in addition to, the Authority's approval.

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