Exempt & complying development

Before you start building it is important to determine whether you are going to need planning approval. For some work, there are no approvals required and there are also faster approval paths that are available when development is low scale and low impact 

Exempt Development

This is minor work which does not require planning approval and therefore does not require lodgement of a Development Application (DA).

Complying Development

This is small scale, low impact development that does not qualify as Exempt Development and is capable of a faster approval process where a building meets all of the predetermined standards established in either a State or local council planning document. Approval (Complying Development Certificate) is required but can be given by either Council or a Private Certifier.

Approval is normally granted within 7-10 days of lodging an application.

If you are unsure whether you need a DA, please begin with our new online tool Development Enquirer. Simply enter your address and select the type of works you wish to undertake and your next steps will be outlined for you. 

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

Also known as the "Codes SEPP", this State legislation contains the following codes for exempt and complying development:

  • Part 2 - Exempt Development
  • Part 3 - General Housing Code
  • Part 4 - Housing Alterations Code
  • Part 5 - General Commercial & Industrial Code
Visit the Codes SEPP on the NSW Legislation website for more information.

Electronic Housing Code

Not sure if your development plans qualify as exempt or complying development? You can now use the Electronic Housing Code (EHC) to find out.

The EHC is an online system for the electronic lodgement of complying development applications under the NSW Housing Code for lots 200m2 and above. This system also allows the user to find out if they can proceed with their development without further approvals, as an exempt development.

You can use the Electronic Housing Code (EHC) to:

  • Investigate your development options for an individual site
  • Generate an exempt development report
  • Prepare your complying development application electronically
  • Lodge your application electronically
  • Monitor the progress of your application online

Visit the Electronic Housing Code webpage for more information.

Development requiring approval

Any development that is not either exempt or complying development requires a development application (DA). Visit our development application page for more information.

New DA requirements

From 1 October 2014, all building applications submitted to Council must include a CD / USB that contains all forms, plans and documents in soft copy.

Download the information sheet to find out more.

Need planning advice?

Contact Council's Duty Planner

  • Phone 9083 8484
  • Visit in person at our Customer Service Centre, 55 Spring Street, Bondi Junction