Lets answer some of your frequently asked DA Model questions:


  1. What are DA Models and when do you need them?

  2. What needs to be shown in a DA model?

  3. What materials do you use?

  4. What scale should DA models be?

  5. What does each council require?

  6. What do you need to supply to get a quote?

  7. Who Have we worked with?

What are DA Models and when do you need them?

DA models are detailed, accurate representations of Australian residential architectural designs that are often required as part of development application submissions in numerous councils throughout Australia. Applying for a Development Application in Sydney poses many challenges for architects so our goal is to add positive value to your team, through efficient and accurate workflow, reliable turn around times and high quality craftsmanship, to ensure the council and your client are both happy with your lodgement.

Councils we regularly work with City of Sydney, Woollahra, Waverly, Hunters Hill, Northern Beaches Council, Rockdale, Randwick, Liechardt and many more.

What needs to be shown in a DA model?

For most councils, physical DA Models must accurately depict the building and the land form, define boundaries of the property and an indefinable reference which can include adjacent content buildings. 

Make Models suggests that the most cost-effective strategy is to include a portion of the adjacent properties and all sides of the development. This doesn’t even need to be the entire building, as councils often only require half of the adjacent properties to show a suggestion of the overshadowing and street front relationship. This can save you and your clients money in your lodgement, and if you’re concerned on what you should show, you should always double check with council or ask us for advise. 


What materials do you use?

DA models can have varying modes of representation for each council. Our materials and techniques always aim to respond to varying budgets and aesthetic preferences. Fabrication methods include: 3D printing, laser cutting and cnc milling. Our material palette often includes timber, acrylic, plastic and natural trees and landscaping, and where applicable advise using sustainable materials, and suggested boundaries to reduce waste and landfill.


What scale should DA models be?

Each council is different (see below for council guidelines). DA model scales typically range from 1:1000, 1:500, 1:200 or 1:100. Most DA model we make are at a scale of 1:200. This allows a significant level of detail to be shown on the proposed building and landscape elements and means that the physical size of the item is somewhere between an A3 and A4 size. This makes it easy to handle and a portable asset that can comfortably move around with you to meetings!

What does each council require?

Various councils require physical models to be submitted alongside documentation. Each council’s requirements are different, so its always best to get in touch with the council to which you will be submitting, to check if you require a physical model and the physical requirements for your specific lodgement. We’ve made a brief reference of some councils below:

City of Sydney Council

City of Sydney Council has very specific requiremetns that differe from most other councils, due to the land area they encompass. DA models for City of Sydney Council must be made to a scale of 1:500 and must be white. These little, but detailed models, requrire a high level of precision. They must show setbacks, colonnades, balconies, significant fenestration,  roof detail, parapets, plant rooms and need to extend to RL 0.00 so that they can slot into an existing physical model of Sydney that lives within the council chambers in Town Hall. If you haven’t seen it you should definitely check it out!

Certain sites require several hundreed metres of context to also be built around the proposal. Make sure you check with council first, as they will b equite specific about your individual requirements. These sites must be painted grey and have road labels, plaque and north point included as well as an acrylic display lid. Whilst most other councils don’t have size or weight restrictions, City of Sydney advises that models should be no larger than 800mm x 800mm or weigh more than 25kg. Materials  are limited to Timber, Acrylic, PVC, or Solid polystyrene.


Contact details for council model@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au  02 9265 9333 

Woollahra Council DA model

Requires models are required for applications where the cost of the proposed work exceeds $750,000 . These should be no greater than 600mm x 600mm and should be lighter than 5kg. Woollahra doesn’t impose material restrictions so you can use: Foam, timber, acrylic, 3D print, cardboard, plastic. 


Waverly Council DA Model

Requires a model to be no smaller than 1:200 and must include adjoining developments. They have no restrictions on scale or materials.


Randwick Council DA Model

Generally require a 3D physical model for development proposals greater than 15 metres in height or for sites larger than 10,000sqm.



What do you need to supply to get a quote?

To obtain a quote, we’ll need the following files and info from you:

  • Accurate 3D model or Architectural CAD package (if you can supply a 3D model it is cheaper as it saves significant time remodelling from scratch). The file types that we accept are .skp version 4 or earlier 

  • Landscaping that needs to be included. Usually in the form of 2D drawings. 

  • Site context and adjacent properties (if you can supply a 3D model it is cheaper as it saves significant time remodelling from scratch from a survey). 

  • What date you need the model by.

  • Whether you have an aesthetic preference in mind, eg all white, mixed timber and white.

  • Do you have a budget your working towards? Its great to be upfront about this so we can advise on the best materials and level of detail to meet your submission requirements and financial expectations. 

Which architects have we worked with?

We’ve enjoyed collaborating with so many fabulous Australian Architects and developers including but not limited to:

AJ+C, Woods Bagot, Chenchow Little Architects, Those Architects, Urban Possible, Crone, Bureau Of Urban Architecture, Urban Possible (UP), Collins and Turner, UTS University, University Of Sydney, Dubach Block Jaggers, BKH, Plus Minus design, Scentre Group, Facet Studio, Brewster North, Geoform, White Dixon Architects, Architectus, Andrew Burges Architects, Smart Design Studio, RDH Rice Daubney, Poly Harbison, DC8 Studio, Bikerton Masters, Bruce Stafford architects, Collins Caddaye Architects, NKT Architects, BSRH, WMK, Warren and Mahoney, Gurner, Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke, Blair Young, Andrew Burns, Enzo Caroscio Architecture, Wisden Architects, Mike Day, Tzannes, David Selden Design, CM Studios, Hills Tallis