Renovations in Rockhampton: Do you need a DA?


The real estate market in Rockhampton is red hot right now because many buyers are picking up houses in the Queensland city with an eye on renovating for profit or making upgrades and creating their forever home. 


If you have spotted a rustic gem with fantastic potential amongst our listings, we do recommend you do some research before you commit. This includes knowing whether or not you will need a DA to renovate the home. 


Here is some information to get you started: 

Development applications in Rockhampton


A (Development Application) DA is a form that you submit in order to request approval from the council for any major changes you wish to make to your property.


DAs are aimed at:


  • Protecting the peaceful existence and views (where relevant) of those around you
  • Ensuring your property remains safe and compliant with regulations
  • Protecting the local environment


For example, if you are adding a second storey to your home, the council will assess the impact it may have on the privacy of your neighbours before issuing development approval.

What is the council looking for?


Council planners will be looking at how changes to your property may impact the following:


  • The natural environment
  • Any heritage buildings or conservation areas
  • The social wellbeing of your neighbours and community
  • Noise levels
  • Waste production
  • Privacy
  • Other residents’ access to natural sunlight
  • Traffic flow

When do you need to fill out a DA?


Not every renovation project in Rockhampton needs a DA.


The general rule of thumb is that anything structural and external will need a DA, while internal renovations will not.


Renovations that require a DA will include:


  • Adding a swimming pool
  • Building a second-storey 
  • Building a granny flat
  • Extending the home with additional rooms
  • Building a deck


Renovations that don’t require a DA might include:


  • Redoing the kitchen
  • Replacing the toilet
  • Knocking down internal walls to create open-plan living
  • Retiling the bathroom


In Rockhampton, the council decides on whether or not you need a DA depending on what ‘level of assessment’ is identified in the Planning Scheme. You can use their online Rock-e Plan site to check the current planning rules.

How do I submit my DA?


You can find all the relevant forms on the Rockhampton Council’s website


Once you have filled out the form, you can lodge it via the Rockhampton Regional Council eServices site or submit it via email at You can also work with a builder or architect to help you submit the form so you have more confidence that it will be approved. 


If you plan to undertake large-scale construction, then it is advised you make time for a sit-down meeting with a council member.

What happens once I have submitted my DA?


Once you have submitted a DA, it goes through an assessment process in compliance with the Queensland planning system and local requirements. This may include your plans being shared with your neighbours so they can voice their concerns. 


You should usually expect to wait for at least a few weeks, after which time you will receive a Decision Notice, which will either give you the go-ahead or decline your application.

What if my DA is declined?


If the council declines your DA, they will provide reasons.


The first step if you are declined is to assess these reasons and see if you can make changes to your plans that the council will accept and that will also keep you satisfied.


Talk to your architect and builders and see what can be done to amend your plans to satisfy the council’s needs.


If you believe that the council is in the wrong and you should have been approved, then the best thing to do is to contact a lawyer. This should be a last resort as you should put as much effort into amending your plans as possible before seeking this kind of legal action.

Getting it right


If you work with professional designers and builders to help you upgrade your Rockhampton home, you will be unlikely to have any troubles because they will have in-depth knowledge of the council’s approval process. 


It’s also a great idea to speak to a local Rockhampton real estate agent about the upgrades that will add the most value to your place. 


Want some home improvement tips? Reach out to Agency CQ today.

Todd Brandon
Operating with unparalleled insight into market trends, sales agent and team leader Todd Brandon services the Southside and Gracemere districts with a level of knowledge only a long-time resident can provide.