A NSW Government website

Helping businesses

Works you can carry out without council approval

If your business premises have been affected by a natural disaster, there are options to help you keep running. You may be able to build an exempt development to carry on your business temporarily if you meet certain standards.

Exemptions don’t apply to all developments – for example, property on the State Heritage Register.

Examples with links to the relevant standards:

Temporary premises for businesses affected by bushfire

If your business has been affected by bushfire, you can operate out of a shipping container or temporary office for up to 2 years without council approval while you rebuild permanent premises.

This only applies if your business was approved for commercial or industrial use and operating in a business, industrial or RU5 Rural Village zone.

You can have up to 2 shipping containers or temporary offices. You’re also allowed to install items such as air conditioning units, ramps and carports.

The development is allowed under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (also known as the Codes SEPP). It must be carried out within 2 years of a state of emergency being declared.

For a full list of development standards and specifications for installing temporary buildings, visit the Codes SEPP.

Complying development provisions that enable temporary business uses

You can do some rebuilding works and related business development as a complying development if you satisfy certain standards.

Examples with links to the relevant standards:

There are more requirements for complying developments on bushfire-prone land. You cannot do complying developments in areas classified as Bushfire Attack Level 40 or a Flame zone. This is defined in the Codes SEPP.

For more information about development on bushfire-prone land, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Temporary use provisions under local environmental plans

Local environmental plans let councils grant development consent for temporary use of land in any zone. If you are a landowner, you can apply for consent to use the land for a specific purpose for a certain number of days in any 12-month period.

For more information, contact your local council.

Business activities you can carry out on council or community land

Under the Local Government Act 1993, if you are a business owner, you can apply to temporarily use council or community land to operate some types of business.

Approved activities include:

  • mobile food and drink premises
  • outdoor dining
  • displaying goods.

Read your council’s local approvals policy for more information on the rules and to see a list of approved activities.