Complying Development

The following information has been downloaded from the NSW Department of Planning website.
Under the NSW planning system, development consent is required in most instances. There are generally three pathways for development:

  • exempt development, covers certain types of minor work where no application for planning or construction approval is required, however there are standards which must be met
  • complying development, covers work that meets certain pre-determined development standards and can be assessed and approved by a certifying authority (council or private accredited certifier), in 10 days or
  • merit based assessment which requires a DA to be submitted to a consent authority
    (usually council) for assessment and results in a development consent, if approved.

What is exempt development?

Exempt development has minimal environmental impact and can be carried out under the NSW planning system, without the need to gain planning approval. It is important to remember that development undertaken as exempt development must be carried out in accordance with the development standards contained within the General Exempt Development Code as well as any other relevant legislation, codes and standards. For example, a ‘general requirement’ for exempt development is that it must meet the relevant provisions of the BCA. Advice from an appropriate professional may be required to ensure that a proposed development meets the exempt development requirements under the Codes SEPP.

It is important to recognise that if an exempt development type does not satisfy any of the applicable development standards it is no longer exempt development and development consent may be required.

What is complying development?

Complying development is a combined planning and construction approval for development that meets pre-determined development standards. Determination of a complying development certificate (CDC) relies on a code-based assessment. The local council or a private accredited certifier can issue a CDC. Where an application for complying development meets the specified development standards in the Codes SEPP (or council’s complying development controls) it must be determined within 10 days of lodgement (unless both parties mutually agree to an extension). If an applicant chooses to work beyond the development standards contained in the Codes SEPP, they will need to lodge a DA with the relevant local council in accordance with the merit-based rules, for consideration.