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How To Get Your Development Fast-Tracked in NSW

How To Get Your Development Fast-Tracked

When it comes to property development in NSW, it can difficult to get approvals for projects in certain areas and within certain timeframes. Lead times for development application approvals only stretch longer as the rate of approvals is anticipated to slow this year. But there are ways to reduce the administrative load for every stakeholder and get approved faster.

In this article, we’ll explore several initiatives aimed at accelerating development processes in NSW:

Exploring State Significant Development (SSD) in NSW

For eligible projects, State Significant Developments (SSD) offer one way to fast-track your development. An SSD is a development deemed to have significant impacts beyond local concerns, warranting assessment at the state level. This encompasses projects exceeding specific capital investment values or impacting specific industries, infrastructure, or designated sites.

SSD offers potential benefits such as:

  • Centralised approval: Your project would not need the approval of the local Council.
  • Expertise and consistency: State-level assessment by the Independent Planning Commission use their Rapid Assessment Framework to ensure your project is approved as quickly as possible.
  • Strategic access: SSD status opens doors to state government resources and expertise, enabling project optimisation.

However, it’s important to note not every project qualifies for SSD status. Specific thresholds and criteria based on size, industry, and location determine eligibility. Additionally, SSDs come with greater scrutiny and often require more comprehensive environmental assessments than non-SSDs.

Accelerate Your Vision through the Transport Oriented Development Program

The Transport Oriented Development (TOD) Program is a NSW Government initiative that aims to create more walkable, sustainable communities by encouraging development around public transport stations.

This can be a great way to fast-track your development project, as the program offers several benefits, including:

  • Streamlined approvals: TOD projects benefit from a more streamlined approvals process, saving you time and money.
  • Funding: The program provides funding for a variety of TOD projects, including transit-oriented development, mixed-use development, and pedestrian improvements.
  • Increased density: TOD projects are typically allowed to have higher densities than traditional developments, which can make them more profitable.
  • Improved sustainability: TOD projects help to reduce car dependence and create more sustainable communities.


To be eligible for the TOD Program, your project must be located within a TOD precinct or be within 800 metres of a public transport station. You can find a list of TOD precincts on the NSW Department of Planning website. Additionally, residential projects in the initial 8 accelerated precincts with a Capital Investment Value over $60M trigger the SSD fast tracked assessment pathway mentioned above.

The Apartment Design Advantage

For apartment projects up to 6 storeys, strategic design choices can unlock doors to faster approvals and quicker market entry. The Pattern Book of Housing Design will outline best practices for creating high-quality, livable apartments that already comply with Council standards.

By adhering to the pattern book designs, to be released in late 2024 or early 2025, developers can potentially enjoy several benefits:

  • Faster approvals: Projects aligned with the book’s principles will experience smoother and quicker processing by authorities as the designs, for low-rise and mid-rise housing, would already be considered complying development. Local Councils would still approve the development.
  • Reduced risk: Following established design standards minimises potential non-compliance issues, streamlining approvals and avoiding delays.

The designs championed by the pattern book will be chosen through an international design competition. Winning designs will be chosen based on local styles, high quality housing, and sustainability.

Navigating the Fast Lane: How Barker Ryan Stewart can Expedite Your NSW Development

At Barker Ryan Stewart, our experienced certifiers, planners, and civil engineers can help you navigate the approval process and assist from your project’s beginning to project completion.

You can read more about State Significant Developments here.

If you have any questions about how we can assist with your development, please get in touch.

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