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Development application electronic lodgement

On 1 June 2015 Port Stephens Council introduced the electronic lodgement of building development applications (DAs, Section 4.55 applications, Complying Development Certificates, Construction Certificates, Subdivision Certificates, Occupation Certificates etc.), making it a more convenient and environmentally friendly process for your project.

This also applies to certificates and supporting documentation (CC's, OO's, CDC's) lodged by private certifiers for record keeping purposes.

Electronic lodgment of development and building applications means that you do not need to provide any paper copies of your supporting documentation if you have produced them on A3 or a smaller sized paper. If your plans are A2 or bigger, you need to provide one additional paper copy of the plans.

For subdivision certificate applications, one signed/stamped original copy of the 'Administration Sheet', 'Linen plan' and '88B instrument' (if applicable) is required, as well as an electronic copy.

The electronic lodgement of building and development applications process is simplified below:

PDF format

All forms, plans, photos and documents must be submitted as PDF files. Security settings, including passwords and editing restrictions, must not be applied to these files.


  • Plans should be to scale, rotated to landscape and provided in PDF format.
  • Plans must be converted electronically rather than printed and scanned.
  • Plans should be A3 size or less and at a maximum scale of 1:100 or 1:200 (unless previously agreed to by Council staff). The scale and size must be clearly displayed on all plan sheets.
  • Black and white plans are to be at a resolution of 300dpi. Coloured plans may be in a lower resolution.
  • Each plan requires a separate PDF file following a naming convention of: 'Site plan – 1 Main Street, Raymond Terrace'.
  • For convenience, until Hunter Water Corporation provides electronically stamped plans, those plans can be provided in any format as long as the Hunter Water stamp can be clearly linked to the plans it relates to.
  • Floor plans must be provided in their own separate file and not combined with any other plan.


All documents must be A4 formatted and optimised for minimum size (online publishing). Files larger than 5Mb should be broken up into logical parts and supplied as separate files. Multiple paged documents should contain bookmarks to indicate the relevant sections of the document.

Public access to development application information

Council will publish details of development applications on its website under Council’s DA Tracker, including documentation relating to applications that are required to be advertised and/or notified in accordance with the relevant planning legislation. Documentation provided with an application may also be accessed in accordance with the requirements of the Government Information Public Access (GIPA) Act 2009.

You may lodge your electronic DA, building application or certificates (assessed by a private certifier) using one of the following methods:

Email dalodgement@portstephens.nsw.gov.au
CD or USB device

In person

Port Stephens Council Administration Building
116 Adelaide Street, RAYMOND TERRACE NSW 2324


Port Stephens Council
PO Box 42, Raymond Terrace NSW 2324

Be mindful that Council's email inbox has a size limit of 25MB; therefore if you need to send multiple emails please insert 'email 1 of 2', 'email 2 of 2' etc as part of the subject line. For example: 'DA/CC lodgement: Single Storey Dwelling at 345 Kent St. - Raymond Terrace. 2324 (email 1 of 2)'.

Please provide any fee quote that we might have issued regarding your proposal, and let us know how you would like pay the application fees (by phone/credit card, cheque etc.) within the body of the email. Never include your credit card details in the email.

We will acknowledge receipt of your email within 24 hours and will let you know whether the application can be registered or if further information is required. We will also provide a fee quote in case you have not referenced one.

Once the application is complete and ready to be registered we will call you (the applicant) to proceed with the payment. Applications will only be lodged and registered when the payment is secured.

Check out Council's development application process for more detail on what documents to provide for lodgement.

Frequently asked questions

Port Stephens Council has changed to a fully electronic way of handling planning and building applications, enabling all of us to:

  • Set the foundations of an electronic planning system (ePlanning).
  • Improve convenience and customer service.
  • Reduce printing, posting and storage costs.
  • Reduce the use of paper being a more environmentally friendly organisation.
  • Streamline the development assessment process.
  • Enhance greater public transparency.
  • Improve communication between Council and the applicant.

Yes. However, Council will apply a $55 scanning fee for the extra work that Council staff will have to undertake to scan all the documents. In this case, applicants will only have to provide one copy of each document/plan. Council will encourage applicants to generate documents in an electronic format directly or look for assistance to provide the supporting documentation in electronic format in local print or copy service stores.

Yes. Print or copy service stores usually offer PDF conversions for a fee. These services can be found in your local Yellow Pages.

Not yet. Council does not currently provide an online lodgement service for development applications. Council is working with its software providers to deliver this service to its customers in the near future.

Yes. Refer to the steps above or to our development application process webpage to assist in preparing and emailing your application.

Yes. Just follow the same guidelines as outlined in the steps above.

No. If you choose to lodge your application in electronic format, Council will not accept applications which are partially hard copy. Council will ask you to come back with the application in full electronic format, as outlined in the steps above. The only exceptions are Hunter Water Corporation stamped plans that will be accepted, or required on paper if stamped overleaf; and development applications that are required to go to the Joint Regional Planning Panel, where both formats may be requested.

Council believes most developments can be represented in A3 size plans. This size of plans enables every staff member at Council to manipulate the plans without needing special devices or processes. Printing larger than A3 files requires special expensive equipment in Council and a specific process to be followed that will impact on the assessment time of your application. Some external agencies still require paper copies of plans to assess our referrals, particularly the larger applications.

Yes. Routine and proactive release of information will be made available in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. Besides, some documents might be published in the Council’s website via DA Tracker tool during exhibition periods.

Adobe PDF is the most commonly available format that preserves the integrity and quality of documentation across any software, hardware or operating system. Please ensure that no security settings including passwords are applied to PDF documents.

Refer to Council's development application process webpage which will assist you with lodging your application and providing the relevant information.

Need help?

While Council Officers cannot prepare your development documentation or provide legal advice, they can offer tips on where to find the relevant information and what documentation is required to be submitted with your application. We aim to work with you towards a successful outcome as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Check the pre-lodgement advice page for more information or call us on 4988 0255 or email council@portstephens.nsw.gov.au