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Email Link   Complying Development Stage 1 - Pre Lodgement

Pre Lodgement Advice on Exempt and Complying Development

To assist customers with these enquiries, Council has provided an extensive range of information on its own web site, as well as links to other relevant web site information. Council also provides its own direct advice on enquiries through its Contact Centre offices at Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads.

However, whilst Council is committed to providing a high standard of administrative and professional advice for pre-lodgement enquiries, the extent of technical assessment for both initial enquiries and lodged Complying Development Certificates (CDCs) under the SEPP, or Council's Development Control Plan (DCP), has necessitated the introduction of a fee-for-service for those enquiries that go beyond the most basic explanation of the SEPP or DCP, and the related approvals processes.

Under this procedure, it is expected that Council officers will continue to assist with basic enquiries on any preliminary enquiries relating to exempt and complying development proposals under the SEPP and Council's DCP. This advice can be sought through Council’s current phone and counter service, through both the Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads offices. Additional support and information can be sought through the web sites of Council and the NSW Planning and Infrastructure.


In addition to this basic advice, a common pre-lodgement fee for both the DA and Building Units has been created in Council's Fees and Charges to cover the costs of staff investigations into the Codes SEPP and Council DCP enquiries, including a written response.

Given the increasing complexity of the Codes SEPP, and in response to major amendments in the SEPP which commenced in February 2014, 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.

In order for Council to provide a substantial response to the pre-lodgement enquiry, the following basic range of information will be required from proponents:

  • identification of property by legal description (Lot and DP) of the subject site;
  • an annotated scaled plan or sketch plan of the subject site;
  • identification of any existing structure, the proposed structure and the distance of that structure to any boundary and any existing buildings;
  • an indication of the height and floor space of the proposed structure/s;
  • the existing layout and proposed layout of buildings (for any internal changes); and
  • where applicable demonstration of approved food premises fitout plans in accordance with NSW Food Act 2003 and Australian Standard 4676 - 2004 - Design, construction and fitout of food premises. Contact Councils' Environmental Health Unit for further information.

The service agreement for a written response to any CDC pre-lodgement enquiry from the Building Unit (generally relating to small scale residential development types) will be 7 working days from the receipt of the request. Given the additional complexities of exempt and complying development enquiries under the General Industrial and Commercial Code (such as change of use), a written response is likely to take up to 14 days.

Please note that the information supplied by Council officers will provide you with a general indication of whether your proposed use can be considered as exempt and complying development, and outline any pre-requisite and ancillary approvals, and cannot be used as any approval of the proposal.

Pre-requisite Information for CDC Applications

The following pre-requisite information may be required to accompany any CDC application, depending on the type of development:
  • A permit under Council’s Tree Preservation Orders
  • A BASIX Certificate
  • Bushfire assessment BAL risk certificate. This certificate can be obtained from either the Rural Fire Service or an accredited specialist, or through Council's Building Unit.
  • Flood Lot Control Certificate. This certificate can be obtained from an external professional engineer (who specialises in hydraulic engineering), or through Council’s Planning and Infrastructure Unit.
  • Long service levy
Under current legislation, Council officers can not accept a CDC where the above relevant pre-requisite approvals have not been obtained prior to lodgement.

In accordance with current practice, Council's Building Unit will accept and assess the following applications concurrently, where required:
  • On-site effluent management systems, sewer, trade waste and water connections, and stormwater drainage system approvals under Section 68 of the Local Government Act
  • Driveway and public road access under Section 138 of the Roads Act

Prior to Issue Information and Payments for CDCs

CDC Applicants should also be aware that there may be additional charges relating to their proposal which require payment prior to the issue of a CDC, and other necessary information including:
  • Builder's details
  • Home warranty insurance
  • Owner/builder permit
  • Section 94 and Section 64 contribitions
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