What is Complying Development?

Complying Development is largely governed by State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) 2008, also known as the “Codes SEPP”.

Complying development is common or routine development that has predictable and minor environmental impacts and meets the development standards set out in the legislation.

If your project meets all the development standards, you are guaranteed approval, which comes in the form of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC). CDCs can be issued by your local council or a private certifier. Approval is usually granted within ten days.

Examples of residential complying development include building a new one or two storey house, renovating an existing house or adding a swimming pool to an existing house. Granny flats can also be built as complying development; these are governed by State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009.

Examples of commercial and industrial complying development include some changes of use of existing buildings, installing ventilation, a skylight or roof window, or undertaking internal alterations that do not increase the footprint of the existing building.

Can I get a Complying Development Certificate for my project?

You can get your project approved as complying development by following these steps:

  1. Look up the relevant part of the Codes SEPP to check whether your proposed works are listed, and the development standards that apply. Part 3 covers construction of new houses and additions to existing houses. Part 3A covers housing in rural zoned land. Part 4 covers alterations to existing houses. Part 5 covers commercial and industrial properties.
  2. Find out what restrictions apply to your land. There are a number of ways to obtain this information. You can check the online mapping tools on your local council’s website, or call them directly. Alternatively, any restrictions on your property will be listed on your s149 certificate, if you have one. You can check if your property is heritage listed by searching the NSW State Heritage Inventory.
  3. Check Part 1 of the Codes SEPP to make sure that any restrictions that apply to your property don’t exclude your property from complying development. For example, clause 1.17A(d) shows that complying development isn’t allowed on a property that includes a heritage item.
  4. Find a relevant professional (architect, shopfitter etc) and ask them to draw up plans that meet the development standards for your project.
  5. Take your plans to your local council or a private certifier and explain that you want to carry out complying development. They will usually have some forms for you to fill out. They will then assess your plans against a checklist. Provided your plans meet the development standards, you are guaranteed approval, which is usually granted within ten days.

If your project isn’t classed as complying development, you may be able to get approval through a Development Application.

Contact us if you need help at any stage of the complying development process. We’re always happy to give free advice for small projects. If your project turns out to require extensive planning advice or a development application, we can draw up a competitive fee proposal.

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