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The task of interpreting the exempt and complying development controls of the Codes SEPP has become increasingly complex.

Council has therefore decided to introduce a mandatory pre lodgement checking and related fee process for any complying development applications proposed to be lodged with Council.

Links have been provided below to more fully explain this process and to provide assistance to members of the public. Council strongly recommends that you consult with its officers in the early stages of the planning of your development, through a phone call on 02 6670 2400 to Council's Building and Environmental Health Unit.

Complying Development, in particular, requires that you do extensive research/preparation of your own application PRIOR to contacting Council or a private certifier.

What do we mean by Exempt and Complying Development?

Exempt and Complying Development are prescribed categories of development that can be carried out with a simplified version of application and approval or in the case of Exempt Development, with no application.

These types of development are limited to certain locations and are typically simpler small scale developments on sites with minimal constraints that are consistent with preset specific controls.

Complying and Exempt Development is available for consideration primarily under State Government Environmental Planning Policy.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009

State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007

Council DCP Section A10 (262kB PDF)

The choice to use one of the above frameworks will depend on the nature of the work proposed and the land involved as well as the legal relationship requirements described in the above documents.

Once you have established that your proposal can be Complying or Exempt Development, you should follow the sequence of Complying or Exempt Development stages below.

The above DCP A10 can only be used for a very few exempt development categories.

Exempt Development

If your proposal satisfies the relevant provisions for exempt development then no application or approval required.

Complying Development

A Complying Development Certificate combines the functions of both development consent and a construction certificate in one single application and approval.

An Application for a Complying Development Certificate (275kB PDF) may be lodged if the proposal meets the prescribed requirements set down under the NSW (SEPP) State Environmental Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

A Complying Development Certificate can be issued by Council or a privately accredited certifier.

In some circumstances, pre-requisite approvals may be required prior to lodging an application for Complying Development.

If you are lodging this application with Council, you should follow the sequence of Complying Development (CDC) events in the 8 stages below:

Most Recent Legislative Changes to the SEPP

The State Government’s State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, which included the NSW Housing Code, took effect from 27 February 2009. The Code provided for standardised development controls for exempt and complying development for certain forms of residential dwelling forms (new and existing single dwelling houses) across the state.

With the exception of Complying Development Certificate applications (CDCs) under the Subdivision Code, all CDCs lodged at Council are assessed by the Building Unit, although advice is often sought on technical matters from other sections of Council, including specific advice from the Development Assessment Unit on applications under the General Commercial and Industrial Code.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) has undergone two major amendment processes, the first in February 2011, to significantly expand the range of exempt and complying development across the State and increase the number of properties to which the Codes SEPP applies.

The latest Codes SEPP amendments that came into effect on 22 February 2014 included ten main Codes:

  • the Exempt Development Code
  • the General Housing Code
  • the Rural Housing Code
  • the Housing Alterations Code
  • the General Development Code
  • the General Commercial and Industrial Alterations Code
  • the General Commercial and Industrial (New Buildings and Additions) Code
  • the Subdivisions Code
  • the Demolition Code
  • the Fire Safety Code

The NSW State Government has since introduced a further series of amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, via the Amendment (Commercial and Industrial Development and Other Matters) 2013, and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, via the Amendment (Complying Development and Fire Safety) 2013, which all take full effect from 22 February 2014.

To assist with the introduction of these SEPP amendments, the NSW Planning and Infrastructure has provided a series of information sheets on its web site

NSW Planning and Infrastructure also issued Circulars PS13-004 and PS13-005 on 23 December 2013 which explains what steps local councils need to undertake to implement the commencement of these new controls.

NSW Planning and Infrastructure have stated the following rationale for the new Amendments:

The SEPP has been amended to include new complying development codes, development standards and other requirements. These amendments will require changes to the information provided in section 149 planning certificates. The new development types also include a number of prerequisites for certain proposals to be complying development. These and other related matters are specified in the Regulation."

Given the increasing complexity of the Codes SEPP, Council has decided to introduce a mandatory pre lodgement checking and related fee process for any complying development applications proposed to be lodged with Council.

Section 64 charges may still apply for Complying Development Certificate (CDC) applications for commercial or industrial development. These charges are used by Council to offset the additional cost of water and sewerage infrastructure following development. Similarly, these developments may also be the subject of other forms of charges under Council's Section 94 developer contribution plans. Property owners can gain an indication of any applicable Development Servicing Charges or Section 94 contributions by contacting Council's Development Assessment Unit prior to lodging a CDC. For further information about S64 charges, please visit the billing and charges page.

Last Updated: 06 July 2016