Skip to main content
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Share:

Exempt provisions for outbuildings in rural areas

What are outbuildings?

Outbuildings are buildings that are detached from the main house such as sheds, farm buildings and sometimes garages and carports. In many cases these types of buildings can be rebuilt without development approval as exempt development, provided certain prescribed standards are met. Examples of buildings that can be constructed or installed without approval are listed below with links to the development standards that apply:

 

What are the requirements that apply?

Exempt development cannot be undertaken on some land, for example, in relation to items listed on the State Heritage Register. For more information on exempt development, visit the Planning Portal.

 

Additional requirements may apply for exempt development on bushfire prone land – for example, if a deck is being installed as exempt development on bushfire prone land and is less than 5m from a dwelling, it must be constructed of non-combustible material.

 

What if my outbuilding doesn’t meet these requirements?

If outbuildings cannot be rebuilt as exempt development, they may be able to be rebuilt through complying development. This involves obtaining a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) for the development from council or a private certifier if all relevant development standards are met.

 

Some types of development can be undertaken as either as exempt or complying development such as garden sheds and carports. The difference is that exempt development is usually smaller and has less impact on neighbouring properties. If your outbuilding doesn’t meet the development standards for exempt development, it may be able to be carried out as complying development.

 

Complying development provisions for outbuildings in rural areas

The Rural Housing Code contains complying development provisions for outbuildings in rural areas which apply to any of the following under the Building Code of Australia:

  • Balcony, deck, patio, pergola, terrace or verandah that is detached from a dwelling house
  • Cabana, cubby house, fernery, garden shed, gazebo or greenhouse
  • Carport that is detached from a dwelling house
  • Farm building
  • Garage that is detached from a dwelling house
  • Rainwater tank (above ground) that is detached from a dwelling house
  • Shade structure that is detached from a dwelling house
  • Shed

 

For areas in inland NSW (west of the dividing range), the Inland Code applies. The Inland Code allows ‘detached development’ such as carports, sheds and detached studios to be carried out as complying development provided prescribed standards are met. There are also complying development provisions in this code for farm buildings (that do not meet the exempt development standards for farm buildings). 

 

The Inland Code applies to bushfire affected areas such as the Snowy Valleys, Snow-Monaro Regional, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Mid-Western Regional, Armidale Regional, Glenn Innes-Severin, Tenterfield and Walcha LGAs.

 

Complying development cannot be undertaken in certain areas such as areas of high bushfire risk, environmentally sensitive areas, or on land that is identified as a heritage item, draft heritage item or heritage conservation area. More information on complying development can be found on the Planning Portal.

 

Which complying development controls to use

The Rural Housing Code applies in all rural areas as well as the R5 rural residential zone. The Inland Code applies to LGAs west of the dividing range. Further information can be found on the Inland Code page.

Page last updated: 05/03/2020