Exempt & Complying Development

There are two types of development that do not require a Development Application (DA):

  • Exempt Development which provides for minor building works without the requirement for formal development consent, subject to meeting set criteria and;
  • Complying Development which is a combined planning and construction approval for straight forward development that meets set criteria.

The provisions for Exempt and Complying Development are overseen by State legislation in the form of State Environment Planning Policies (SEPPs). These override local controls and provide an avenue for some forms of development, without the requirement to lodge a Development Application.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 also known as the ‘Codes SEPP’, provides more information and criteria for exempt and complying development, categorised in the following sections:

  • Part 2 - Exempt Development
  • Part 3 - General Housing Code
  • Part 4 - Housing Alterations Code
  • Part 5 - General Commercial & Industrial Code

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021 also provide additional categories for Exempt and Complying Development (eg solar panels).

Visit the NSW Legislation website for more information.

Exempt Development

Some minor building renovations or works don’t need any planning or building approval. This is called Exempt Development. Exempt Development is very low impact development that can be done for certain residential, commercial and industrial properties.

There is no application process for Exempt Development, as the onus is on the owner of the land to satisfy themselves they meet all the necessary criteria.

For more information on Exempt Development including a list of example projects that qualify, visit the NSW Planning website.

Complying Development

Complying development is small scale, low impact development that does not qualify as Exempt Development and is capable of a faster approval process by Council or an Accredited (Private) Certifier, in instances where a building meets all the predetermined standards established in the State Environmental Planning Policy.

Complying Development is a combined planning and construction approval and applies to homes, businesses and industry. Approval in the form of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC ) is required and can be issued by either Council or an Accredited (Private) Certifier.

For more information on Complying Development, visit the NSW Planning website for more information.

Waverley Council can only accept applications for Complying Development Certificates via the NSW Planning Portal.

All lodgements via the portal must include Waverley Council’s Complying Development Application Form and be submitted in accordance with the Waverley Council’s Electronic Lodgement Guidelines, including using the correct naming convention. Once your application has been lodged via the NSW Planning Portal, Council will review the application and then contact you to pay the relevant fee. Council will not begin assessing the application until all the relevant fees are paid.

Please note: Complying Development applications do not appear in the DA Tracker. If you wish to verify works being undertaken have a Complying Development Certificate, contact Council.

Key Contacts for Exempt and Complying Development

At all development sites, individuals should be able to identify a sign placed on the hoarding or façade of the site advising of specific contact details, which will include the Builder’s Licence and contact details, as well as the appointed Principal Certifier (PC). As the development site is managed by the Builder and PC, any evidence of health and safety breaches should be brought to the attention of the Builder and PCA.

Councils are the enforcement regulatory authority responsible for monitoring how development is carried out at the local level.

This includes ensuring the developer and PC follow the rules and conditions contained in the development consent. Councils employ Compliance Officers and Rangers who undertake this role within their local government boundaries. Councils have the discretion to investigate matters involving non-compliance with development consent and errors in reports or surveys relating to Development Applications. The Department of Fair Trading does not have the power to order rectification of non-compliant work on site.

Council’s regulatory powers can result in more effective resolution for customers as they can:

  • exercise its powers, including if the principal certifier is a private certifier;
  • enforce development compliance, issue orders, stop work notice or issue a fine if building work breaches legislative requirements or safety conditions;
  • issue on the spot fines for failure to comply with an order;
  • issue clean up, prevention and noise control notices;
  • mediate development issues between the developer and impacted residents;
  • commence proceedings in the Land and Environment Court to invalidate a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) that has been issued contrary to planning standards;
  • prosecute the certifier for issuing a Construction Certificate (CC) or Occupation Certificate (OC) unlawfully;
  • urgent non-compliance matters such as dangerous excavation or unsafe building works should be directed to Council for immediate attention. Swimming pools that do not have a compliant barrier enclosure should be directed to the Council for immediate action.

In the first instance, attempt to establish contact with the appointed PC and raise the necessary concerns. It may be prudent to follow up the verbal conversation with the PC in a written form by email or letter. If the PC does not respond or provides a limited response, residents would need to contact Council and express their concern.

Depending on the circumstances, Council may send a Ranger, Compliance Officer or a Parking Officer to further investigate the matter. If the matter is outside the jurisdiction of Council, it may be suggested that residents contact the Department of Fair Trading directly.

It is imperative that residents document all correspondence, including collecting any evidence that can justify and quantify an issue.

In addition to Council, residents can contact the Department of Fair Trading, the Building Professional Board, or the Police (depending on the circumstance) and obtain their own legal advice on the matter.

Duty Planner

Council has a Duty Planner available for general enquiries relating to the planning process, policies and lodgement requirements. The Duty Officer is not able to provide detailed planning advice or high level planning information.

Make an appointment to speak to a duty planner