Exempt and Complying Development

Did you know that you can do some minor building works to your house, shop or business without a development application? These types of development are known as either ‘exempt development’ and ‘complying development’. This means that low impact works that don’t require a full merit assessment by council can be done more quickly and with less cost.

The policy for exempt and complying development in NSW is contained within the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the policy).

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What is exempt development?

Some minor building renovations or projects 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 some residential, commercial and industrial developments. A few examples of development that can be exempt development are: decks, garden sheds, carports, fences, repair of a window or painting your house. As long as the building project meets specific standards (as identified in the State policy), approval may not be needed.

Click here to find out more about exempt development.

What is complying development?

Complying development is straightforward development that can be approved by a council of private certifier if it meets the building standards in the state policy. Complying development generally includes larger building works than exempt development. For this reason ‘sign off’ by a building professional (certifying authority) 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.

Complying development applies to some residential, commercial or industrial development. It can include uses such as an extension to an existing house, a new two storey house, a home business, strata subdivision, a change of use of an existing shop, office or warehouse, a new industrial building or demolition of a building.

Click here to find out more about complying development

Electronic Housing Code

The Electronic Housing Code (EHC) is an online system for the electronic lodgement of complying development applications for lots with an area of at least 200m2. The EHC also allows you to determine if you are able to proceed as exempt development without the need for further approvals.

If your council has adopted the Electronic Housing Code you can access this online system below to check if your proposal is exempt or complying development, and what standards must be met.

Understanding Exempt and Complying Development

Before using the exempt and complying development policy, we recommend you read the following information for a clear overview on exempt and complying development:

1.5 Conditions of approval for complying development (available shortly) 
Last Updated 21-Aug-2014