How Do I Get Planning Permission in NSW?

Planning permission is a term used in the United Kingdom to describe the process of obtaining permission to carry out development such as new buildings, changes or additions to existing buildings, or a change in the use of land or buildings.

In NSW, planning permission is known as Development Approval or Development Consent.

There are three methods to get approval for your residential development in NSW, depending on the extent of your proposed works:

  • Exempt Development – for very minor development such as building a deck, provided it meets a variety of standards set out in the legislation. No approval is required for this type of development.
  • Complying Development – for minor development such as building a new house or installing ventilation in a commercial building, provided it meets a variety of standards set out in the legislation. Approval for this type of development is known as a Complying Development Certificate, which can be issued by your local council or a private certifier.
  • Development Application (DA) – for most other common forms of  development, from building a house that exceeds the maximum height in the complying development standards to building an apartment block or extending an existing industrial building. Approval for this type of development is known as Development Consent, and is granted by your local council.

As a general rule, most exempt and complying development does not apply to properties that are heritage listed or located in heritage conservation areas. For these building projects, a Development Application will be the only suitable method of getting approval for your works. To check if your property is heritage listed, search for your address in the NSW State Heritage Inventory.

The zoning of your land may also prevent your project from being eligible for exempt and complying development. To find out your land’s zoning, call your local council or check the planning maps on your local council’s website.

Contact us for free preliminary planning advice or click the links below for more information on the development approval methods available to you.



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