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What is complying development?

Complying development is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward development that can be determined through a fast track assessment by a council or an accredited certifier. Complying development applies to homes, businesses and industry and allows for a range of things like the construction of a new dwelling house, alterations and additions to a house, new industrial buildings, demolition of a building, and changes to a business use.


How do I get a fast-track approval?

Did you know approvals under the fast track complying development pathway can be issued in as little as 20 days? Homeowners can save up to $15,000 when building a house under complying development, with savings up to $2,600 for renovations.


Watch this video to learn more.



Complying development generally includes larger building works than exempt development. For this reason, ‘sign off’ by a building professional (known as a certifier) is needed. Complying development is also subject to conditions of approval to protect surrounding uses during the construction period and the life of the complying development.


In 2015-16, the State Policy for exempt and complying development enabled 33 per cent of all development approvals in NSW to be fast tracked, saving time and money for families and business owners.


Fast tracked complying development approvals can be issued in as little as 20 days. This compares with the average determination time for a development application of 70 days. More than $6.39 billion of development was delivered by complying development in 2015-2016.


Relevant legislation

The majority of exempt and complying development types and their development standards are found in the State Policy for exempt and complying development. You can view the State Policy on the NSW Legislation website:


The NSW Planning Portal

The NSW Planning Portal provides access to information to help you prepare your complying development applications. The NSW Planning Portal also provides a number of tools to improve access to planning information.


For questions on exempt and complying development either visit the NSW Planning Portal, call 1300 305 695.


Learn more about complying development.

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code

The new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code will allow one and two storey dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces to be carried out under a fast track complying development approval.


The new Code will provide more housing choice to meet different household needs, and improve housing affordability. It forms part of the NSW Government’s commitment to facilitate faster housing approvals and deliver a diverse range of housing options to support NSW’s changing demographics.


The new Code includes clear and easy to understand planning rules, with explanatory diagrams. Low rise medium density housing as complying development is only allowed where medium density development is already permitted under a council’s local environmental plan.


The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code will commence on 6 July 2018.


For more information visit the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code page.

More information

Other development assessment systems


Page last updated: 18/05/2018