Do I need approval?
Before you undertake any development or building works, you need to determine what approvals are required.
A Development Application is usually required for most development in the local area, but it is not always necessary. You might be able to undertake the development as:
- exempt development, which does not require approval
- complying development, which is a simpler and quicker approval process.
If you have been bushfire-impacted, you may be entitled to special exemptions and support. Find out about what help is available if you are planning on rebuilding or repairing your home following the recent bushfires.
You can do some minor building works in New South Wales without needing approval through a Complying Development Certificate, Development Application or Construction Certificate. Exempt development is very low impact development that can be carried out for certain residential, commercial and industrial properties.
The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy) sets out the standards that each type of development must meet in order to be exempt, as well as the general requirements that apply to all exempt development (in Part 1 of the State Policy). If your development meets these criteria you can proceed without approval from Council.
Types of development that can be exempt development may include, but are not limited to:
- access ramps
- advertising and signage
- awnings, blinds and canopies
- balconies, decks, patios, pergolas, terraces and verandahs
- barbecues and other outdoor cooking structures
- cabanas, cubby houses, ferneries, garden sheds, gazebos and greenhouses
- change of use of premises
- driveways and hard stand spaces
- earthworks, retaining walls and structural support
- farm buildings
- home businesses, home industries and home occupations
- minor building alterations (internal)
- minor building alterations (external)
- pathways and paving
- privacy screens
- rainwater tanks (above ground)
- screen enclosures (of balconies, decks, patios, pergolas, terraces and verandahs)
- shade structures of canvas, fabric, mesh or the like
- skylights, roof windows and ventilators
- swimming pools and spas and child-resistant barriers (portable)
- temporary uses and structures.
If your development does not satisfy all of the exempt development criteria, you will need to:
- get a Complying Development Certificate from Council:
- or submit a Development Application to Council for approval.
More information about exempt development
- Exempt development on the NSW Government Planning Portal
- Understanding exempt development on the NSW Government's Planning, Industry & Environment website
- State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 on the New South Wales Government NSW Legislation website.
We recommend you keep a copy of the State Policy for your records.
Complying development is a type of approval for development that meets all of the relevant standards in the State Policy. This kind of approval combines the functions of a Development Application and a Construction Certificate, but it is a simpler and quicker approval process than submitting a Development Application. In most cases, approval as complying development is issued within 10 days.
Complying development cannot be undertaken on all land. To determine if a particular site meets the land-based requirements under the State Policy, you can apply to Council for a Section 10.7 Planning Certificate:
You can apply to Council to obtain a Complying Development Certificate (CDC):
After you lodge your application, the certifier will determine if approval is granted. If your development is approved, the certifier will give you a consent letter that includes the conditions of consent.
You may need separate approvals or permits for specific parts of the development or activities before you lodge your CDC application, such as:
- a Bushfire Attack Level Certificate (BAL): refer to State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
- flood planning certification: refer to State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
- tree removal application for removing or pruning trees where consent is required
- section 138 Roads Act 1993 approval for any works within the road reserve including building any kerb, crossover or driveway
- section 68 activities approval under the Local Government Act 1993 for any:
- water, sewer or stormwater works
- onsite sewerage management system
- meter connection.
- Application for Approval Under Section 138 Roads Act 1993 (38KB)
- Activities Approval Application Under Section 68 Local Government Act 1993 (459KB)
- Activities Approval Checklist for Sewer, Water and Stormwater (437KB).
You can apply for a Bushfire Attack Level Certificate (BAL), if required:
We can help you
For more information, contact our Development Help Desk:
- T: 02 4474 1231
- E: Council's Development Help Desk