Development Approval Currency Period

What is a currency period

Once Council permits are issued a common and necessary question from clients is “how long will my development permit last?”, “what is the development approval currency period?” or other variation, “how long do I have to start and complete my Council Approval?”. 


The technical term being the ‘currency period’ is the length of time the applicant (you) have to start the development and in some cases complete depending on the conditions of development attached to your permit. 


Where to find your currency period information

Most Council’s in Queensland will issue you with documents as part of your development approval, one of which should specify the ‘lapse date’ or currency period of your development approval. That document may be the decision notice – cover letter or conditions of development. 

It is important to understand the difference between a development approval and a building approval before reading further. 


What are the currency period timeframes

Each Council has their own way of presenting information however so if you don’t clearly see the currency period within the approval package you can assume the following timeframes apply:

  • For a Material Change of Use (MCU) permit the currency period is 6 years. 
  • For a Reconfiguration of a Lot (ROL) approval the currency period is 4 years. 
  • For a Building Works (BW) development approval the currency period is 2 years. 

The standard currency period timeframes under the QLD Planning Act 2016

When does an approval 'take effect'

Generally (we use generalities as you should always seek site specific professional advice), a development approval starts to take effect when the approval is given or considered to have been given to you as the applicant, normally by Council. 

See also  Town Planning Dictionary

There are some exceptions to this. If an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court is started, the approval won’t take effect till the appeal ends. 

If there is no appeal, but the development application was impact assessable and there was a submitter please refer to section 71 of the Planning Act 2016. 


Extending the Currency Period

The currency period may be extended at any time prior to the development approval lapsing. 

The process to extend the currency period should be carried out by a professional private town planner as detailed in section 86 and 87 of the Planning Act. 

If your currency period is about to lapse we recommend seeking an extension to the currency period as soon as possible.  If you lodge your extension request the day prior to its lapse date (pending site specific advice from a town planner) your approval will not lapse until Council have made a decision on the currency period. 

It is however a risk to lodge an extension to the currency period at the last minute given the chance for an unfavourable outcome your future options become limited and you may need to lodge a new development application at full cost. 

The time period you can request for your extension will be negotiated with Council. Most Councils will readily support an extension of 1 to 2 years, however depending on your project a more extensive extension may be requested. 

Can I extend a lapsed development approval

As a general rule, if your development application lapses past the currency period there isn’t any legislative way to revive it. 

See also  Town Planner Fees

Once your development approval currency period ends you will need to submit a new development application at full cost. 

You can learn more about the cost of a private town planning consultant here

If that isn’t enough incentive to keep track of your currency period, we aren’t sure what is. 

Please note that it is the responsibility of the project manager to know and track the permit timeframes. Your private town planner will generally not be involved in the post-approval processes and will not be in a position to know if your project is going to be finished on schedule or not.