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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.

Exempt development

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:

If your development does not satisfy all of the exempt development criteria, you will need to:

More information about exempt development

We recommend you keep a copy of the State Policy for your records.

Complying development

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:


You can apply for a Section 138 Roads Act 1993 approval or a Section 68 Local Government Act 1993 activities approval:

You can apply for a Bushfire Attack Level Certificate (BAL), if required:

We can help you

For more information, contact our Development Help Desk: