Rapid rise in DA's as home renovations dominate

Published on 01 February 2021

Building projects in Singleton ramped up in 2020 with the number of development applications (DAs) lodged with Council jumping by more than one third to a total of 402 for the year – compared to 271 in 2019 – and more than half of those were for home renovations.

In an uncertain year, Singleton Council’s planning team saw the monthly average of new DAs skyrocket from 25 to 40 in the past six months alone, and the trend looks likely to continue into 2021 with 16 DAs lodged in one week in January.

But while the volume of DAs experienced a rapid rise, processing times did not, with applications taking on average 13 days fewer in Singleton than the NSW State average.

Justin Fitzpatrick-Barr, Council’s Director Infrastructure and Planning, said that regardless of the increased workload and staff work-from-home arrangements, Council remained committed to providing high quality customer service – especially in a pandemic.

“The numbers speak for themselves: with 402 development applications lodged, including 222 related to residential alterations or additions, 1,858 duty planning enquiries and 70 per cent of Council correspondence directed to our planning and development team, it just goes to show the dedication and commitment of our small team of staff who are working hard every day to deliver the best possible service that our community expects and deserve, even during a pandemic,” he said.

“All the restrictions that came with COVID-19 and people forced to spend more time at home reinforced our aim to support people to enjoy new pools, home additions and sheds sooner, highlighting the role Council plays in working with our customers to build their dreams.”

Mr Fitzpatrick-Barr said the ongoing demand for development in Singleton was also positive for the local economy as it continues to recover from the impact of COVID-19.  

“The increased number of development applications demonstrates the confidence within the local building industry to keep projects progressing, and that we are playing our part to keep our economy growing,” he said. 

“Interestingly, while the total number of DAs rose, the overall value of the estimated cost of works dropped by more than $60 million to $62.98 million in 2020, which is a trend emerging across NSW as more and more people take advantage of government grant programs and make smaller value updates to their homes.

“On the other side of the coin, although we’re not seeing the same value of industrial developments that helped to drive $124.8 million of development in 2019 and while the smaller value of applications may point to some caution, the number of development applications shows there’s still plenty of optimism in Singleton for the future.”