banner image

Complying development

Complying development is a form of planning and building approval issued by Council or a registered certifier. It is a simpler and quicker approval process than submitting a Development Application (DA).

  • A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) combines approval for use of the land and the building works.
  • A CDC combines the functions of a DA and Construction Certificate (CC).
  • You may also need prior approval for your development.
  • A CDC can only be issued if the proposed development complies with the specific requirements and criteria for complying development, as outlined in the Codes SEPP.
  • Your development also needs to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.
  • Council or a registered certifier can issue a CDC.
  • You must obtain a CDC before starting any demolition, excavation or building work.

In most cases Council can issue approval under this system within 20 days.

Use the NSW Planning Portal from 1 July 2021

From 1 July 2021, applications such as development applications and post-consent certificates must be lodged via the NSW Government's Planning Portal. From 1 July 2021 the NSW Planning Portal is the only way you can lodge these applications.

Complying development examples

Some types of work that may be undertaken as complying development are:

  • demolition of certain buildings
  • construction of a swimming pool and spa
  • construction of a new dwelling
  • construction of a secondary dwelling
  • carports, garages and car spaces
  • shade structures, awnings and pergolas
  • alterations and additions to an existing dwelling
  • street awnings
  • fences and retaining walls
  • temporary structures and marquees
  • certain changes of use
  • business signs
  • internal alterations (fit-outs) of commercial buildings
  • fit-out of a food shop.

The complying development process

Council's flowchart shows the major steps in the CDC process. The flowchart is a general guide only and does not cover every scenario:

The steps on this page outline the complying development application process, requirements and assessment timeframes:

Complying development relates to specific small-scale, low-impact development. This type of development complies with set criteria detailed in a State Policy or Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

A CDC can only be issued if the proposed development complies with:

You will need to research whether your proposed development complies with these requirements. If your development does not meet the criteria, you must submit a DA. You cannot start any building works until:

  • Council approves your DA
  • you obtain a CC.

You can also read about whether your development may qualify as complying development on the NSW Planning Portal.

Complying development on bushfire-prone land

Complying development is allowed on some bushfire-prone land, ie, low-risk bushfire-prone land. It is not permitted on high-risk bushfire-prone land, ie, where the BAL is identified as 40 or Flame Zone.

To check whether your property is on bushfire-prone land:

  • use our land-mapping tool where you can view Council’s bushfire-prone land maps:
    • insert your property address in the ‘address search’
    • expand the ‘development restrictions’ layer on the left side of the screen
    • tick ‘bushfire-prone land’ to see whether your property is on bushfire-prone land.
  • or use the Planning Portal:
    • insert your property address
    • click on the ‘hazard’ layer on the left side of the screen and tick the ‘bushfire prone land’ box
    • click on the ‘legends’ tab to view the bushfire-prone land category rating
  • or order a section 10.7 planning certificate.

If you are carrying out complying development on bushfire-prone land you will need to apply for a BAL Certificate. The risk of bushfire is assessed when you apply for this certificate.

You can apply to Council for a BAL Certificate or a suitably qualified bushfire consultant recognised by the NSW RFS. You must apply for the certificate before you lodge your CDC application, as you will need to submit it with your application. Once Council determines the BAL and issues the certificate, you can apply for a CDC - refer to step 3 on this page.

After you lodge your CDC application, the certifier will determine if approval is granted. If your development is approved, the certifier will give you a consent letter that outlines the conditions of consent.

Apply

You may need separate approvals or permits for certain parts of your development or activities. These are required before you lodge your CDC and include:

Applications

Complying development cannot be carried out on all land. Before you lodge your CDC application, you must first find out whether your proposal complies with any planning controls that apply to your land, and to the development type. You can do this by applying for a Section 10.7 Planning Certificate.

Under the Building and Development Certifiers Regulation 2020, you must also enter into a Contract for Certification Work when you apply for:

  • Construction-related applications
  • CDCs
  • Appointment of Principal Certifier
  • Occupation Certificate
  • Compliance Certificate.

Prepare your supporting documents

From 1 July 2021 the NSW Government made the online lodgement of certain applications such as CDCs, mandatory on the NSW Planning Portal.

If your renovation or build is complying development you will need to prepare plans and specifications (eg, by a building designer and/or professional engineer). You will need to submit with your application on the Planning Portal:

  • details of the work proposed
  • specifications of the work proposed
  • plans detailing the work proposed, including a site plan, elevations, floor plans, parking arrangements, loading facilities, ground levels to be modified and drainage information
  • demolition plan (where applicable)
  • existing and proposed fire safety measures (for change of use of a commercial building)
  • Owner's Consent Form (1.2 MB)
  • Contract for Certification Work (2 MB).

If your renovation or build is complying development (or requires a DA through Council), you may also need to apply for a BASIX Certificate.

You can refer to the Codes SEPP for details.

Lodge your CDC

Step 1: prepare to upload your supporting documents

Once you have prepared the supporting documents outlined on this page, you will need to save them as separate PDFs ready to upload with your CDC on the NSW Planning Portal.

Step 2: address all requirements in the checklist and obtain all required approvals/permits

You may need to obtain other separate approvals/permits and certificates for certain parts of your development or activities before you lodge your CDC application - refer to Steps 1 and 2 on this page. You will also need to ensure you have addressed all requirements outlined in the checklist:

This is important so that you're not charged another portal service fee to re-submit your CDC. The NSW Government issues portal service fees to support the ongoing maintenance and delivery of the Planning Portal.

Please note that fees payable through the ServiceNSW gateway may incur a surcharge.

If you have any queries about portal service fees, please contact ServiceNSW:

  • T:  1300 305 695.

Step 3: lodge your CDC and supporting documents on the NSW Planning Portal

Council's Pre-Assessment Team will review your application and notify you of the outcome. If your development is approved, Council will provide you with a consent letter that includes the conditions of consent.

Council will issue you with an invoice for the CDC application fee if we accept your application.

Step 4: pay your application fee

Once you receive an invoice for the CDC application fee, you will need to pay the fee by following one of the payment options detailed on the invoice.

Pre-approval notification

In some cases, we may need to notify residents of adjoining or nearby properties of your proposed development. This encourages consultation between neighbours and resolves any concerns raised. It is a good idea to talk with your neighbours as soon as possible, before you submit your application.

Your neighbours have no objection rights to a complying development proposal. This is because it meets the minimum impact criteria on surrounding properties.

If we notify your neighbours, it must be in writing. This notice may be given in person, through a letterbox or in the post.

If a lot has an apartment building or is a dual occupancy, we must notify the occupier of each individual home/apartment. Neighbours can request to see the plans of your development but you do not have to provide these.

Pre-construction notification

Once your CDC is issued you must notify neighbours within 20 metres from the boundary of your development before you start any work. This is known as pre-construction notification. This notice is for your neighbours' information only.

You must give your neighbours two days' notice. It is your responsibility as applicant to notify your neighbours before any work starts and this notice must be in writing.

Once lodged, your CDC application will go through an initial review. It is then allocated to a registered certifier. The certifier will carry out a site inspection before they assess and/or issue your CDC.

Council will then check that your CDC application:

  • complies with the BCA
  • is consistent with appropriate complying development controls
  • complies with BASIX requirements
  • complies with other complying development submission requirements
  • is consistent with the site conditions (site inspection).

Council can assess most CDC applications within 20 days. We may notify surrounding neighbours about your development before we issue the certificate. If this occurs, your application could take longer to assess.

Before Council issues your CDC, you will need to provide us with the following information and documents:

Builder's details

  • The builder's name, address and NSW licence number for all residential work exceeding $10,000.

Home Building Compensation Fund

  • All residential work exceeding $20,000 must have a certificate of insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund. Certificates must show the correct property details and include all work covered under the building contract, eg, dwelling and swimming pool.

Owner-Builder Permit

  • If your residential building work exceeds $5,000 and you choose to complete the work as an owner-builder, you will need to obtain an Owner-Builder Permit from NSW Fair Trading. You can read information about becoming an owner-builder and the permit requirements on the NSW Government Fair Trading website.
  • For any enquiries relating to Owner-Builder Permits, please phone NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or visit their website.

Section 7.11 (Section 94) and 64 contributions

  • Development contributions are payments made by developers to Council for the provision of public infrastructure. These contributions allow Council to provide public amenities and services to meet the increased demands created by a new development. These can include shared pathways, libraries or roads.
  • For more information about contributions and how they're calculated, refer to our development contributions page.

Long service levy

  • The NSW Government has put a levy on all building and construction work valued at $25,000 or more (incl. GST). This levy rate is calculated at 0.35% of the total cost of the work. Council is an agent for the collection of long service levy payments. You will need to pay the levy at the time you lodge your CDC.

Council will send you a formal determination and CDC with the stamped approved plans and specifications.

Council will also provide you with details of the critical stage inspections required.

You will need to notify Council of your intention to commence building works at least two days before you start. This must be a formal, written notification that includes details of the date you intend to start the works.

A CDC lapses after five years, unless physical work has commenced, or where you have acted upon the approved use.

Before any building work begins you must:

  • ensure that a CDC has been issued and you have read the consent carefully. You will need to comply with all relevant conditions
  • make sure you have appointed a principal certifier. A principal certifier is the authority (Council), or other private registered certifier, appointed to carry out inspections and issue the Occupation Certificate. Note: Only Council can carry out plumbing and drainage inspections
  • ensure that you notify Council of your intention to commence building works at least two days before you start. This must be a formal, written notification that includes details of the date you intend to start the works
  • obtain all relevant approvals and permits required (see step 2 on this page for more information)
  • make sure all environmental controls are in place eg, sediment fence, hoardings, dust control
  • ensure that the required signage has been provided to identify the site, eg, builder and principal certifier's details
  • ensure provisions have been made for construction waste
  • tell your neighbours at least two days before your building work begins.

How do I book an inspection?

The contractor (builder) or the owner-builder can request inspections from Council. Please contact us at least 24 hours before the required inspection by:

For both of these methods, you will need to provide the:

  • CDC approval number
  • development site address
  • owner's name
  • type of inspection required, eg, footing, frame, wet area
  • date the inspection is required
  • site contact name and number.

Please note we cannot guarantee any inspection time preferences when you book. Should you need a specific time, ie, morning inspection, please call on the morning of the scheduled inspection and speak to the registered certifier.

If you have appointed a private certifier, you will need to contact them to confirm when and how to book your critical stage inspections. Council is still required to carry out all plumbing inspections.

Please ensure that you continue to monitor the conditions of your consent during the various stages of construction.

You will need to obtain an OC before you occupy or use any part of the building. The principal certifier must issue the OC. The OC verifies the principal certifier is satisfied that the building is suitable to occupy or use in accordance with the:

The BCA sets the standards for the design and construction of different classes of buildings.

OCs are not required for buildings which are exempt development.

Before your principal certifier issues the OC they will consider the:

  • structural adequacy
  • fire safety
  • health, safety and amenity of future occupants of the building.

The principal certifier must also ensure that relevant development consent conditions and other regulatory requirements have been complied with.

There are two types of OCs:

  • OC: Allows the occupation or use of a new building (including alterations/extensions), or the new use of an existing building resulting from a change in its use.
  • Partial OC: Allows the occupation or use of a partially completed building, or of a new use of part of an existing building resulting from a change of use of the building. If a partial OC is issued, an OC is still required when all building work or the change of use is complete. An OC revokes any OC issued previously.

The principal certifier cannot issue an OC until all critical stage inspections have been carried out. This includes the final inspection.

You can request a final inspection from Council by contacting us at least 24 hours before the required inspection:

If you appointed Council as your principal certifier, you can apply for an OC at any time during the construction process. Council cannot issue the OC until a satisfactory final plumbing and drainage inspection has been carried out.

Please note that it is an offence to occupy (or use) a building without an OC.

Prepare your supporting documents

From 1 July 2021 the NSW Government made the online lodgement of certain applications such as OCs, mandatory on the NSW Planning Portal.

You will need to prepare supporting documents to lodge with your OC. These include:

Lodge your OC

Step 1: prepare to upload your supporting documents

Once you have prepared the supporting documents outlined on this page, you will need to save them as separate PDFs ready to upload with your OC on the NSW Planning Portal.

Step 2: address all requirements in the checklist

You will need to address all requirements outlined in the checklist:

This is important so that you're not charged another portal service fee to re-submit your OC. The NSW Government issues portal service fees to support the ongoing maintenance and delivery of the Planning Portal.

Please note that fees payable through the ServiceNSW gateway may incur a surcharge.

If you have any queries about portal service fees, please contact ServiceNSW:

  • T:  1300 305 695.

Step 3: lodge your OC and supporting documents on the NSW Planning Portal

Your principal certifier will review your application and notify you of the outcome.

Council will issue you with an invoice for the OC application fee if we accept your application.

Step 4: pay your application fee

Once you receive an invoice for the OC application fee, you will need to pay the fee by following one of the payment options detailed on the invoice.

Resources to help you lodge your CDC on the Planning Portal

The Department of Planning and Environment has a range of resources to guide you through the CDC lodgement process:

You can also get Council's answers to frequently asked questions about lodging CDCs through the NSW Planning Portal. This information relates to Eurobodalla customers:

We can help you

For assistance using the NSW Planning Portal please contact Service NSW:

If you would like to discuss the details of your application or supporting documents you need to lodge, please contact Council's Development Help Desk:

Disclaimer: The NSW Government's Codes SEPP allows you to carry out development as complying development, subject to meeting the requirements in the SEPP. You will need to check the specific standards in the Codes SEPP when you lodge your application to make sure they are still relevant.

Council does not accept any liability for the checklists on this website. It is your responsibility to check the controls at the time you lodge your application. This is because the Codes SEPP can be amended and is controlled by the NSW Government.