The launch of a new online planning hub by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment promises to significantly boost work for the state’s building professionals by facilitating the approvals process for improvements to residential properties.

The NSW PlanningHub will be of considerable benefit to owners of residential properties who hope to undertake home improvement work, providing them with a variety of online tools to expedite their negotiation of the approvals process.

The website enables homeowners to prepare and lodge their applications for renovations work online, as well as track the progress of the ensuing approvals procedures.

Homeowners will also have access to a raft of online tools to help them negotiate the challenging process of making planning decisions and obtaining approvals.

The creation of the new online planning was prompted by the remarkable success of the ePlanning Tools website that was launched last year by the department. That site was visited by more than 100,000 users.

Greasing the approvals process for home improvements should come as a major boon for the NSW construction sector, by enabling owners to make better decisions with respect to their renovations plans and cinch the official go-ahead for them more quickly.

A spokesperson from the department said the website is already seeing roaring visitor traffic, and should provide further impetus to fast compliance applications.

“So far the PlanningHub tools have had more than 130,000 hits, showing residential, commercial and industrial land owners want to cut time and money to renovate or upgrade their property,” the spokesperson said. “The latest figures also show the number of applications assessed through the faster complying development system has risen year-on-year to now make up almost a third of all approvals.”

The spokesperson pointed out that the planning hub had been developed with members of the building sector in mind as well, with a version designed specifically for access by means of mobile smart devices while on site.

“The website also has a mobile friendly version – so information can be accessed on-site, so there is no need to stop work or waste valuable time driving to a Council office to get answers – they’re right there on any smartphone or tablet,” said the spokesperson. “It’s tailored so that builders and trades can get local planning information and a visual explanation of how the building code applies to different developments from any smart device right on the building site.”