A NSW Government website

Outbuildings in rural areas

Approval exemptions for outbuildings in rural areas

Outbuildings are buildings that are detached from the main house, such as sheds, farm buildings and sometimes garages and carports.

Often, you can rebuild these structures without development approval, as an exempt development, if you meet certain development standards.

Links to the relevant standards for exempt development are below:

The complying development approval pathway

If your outbuilding isn’t an exempt development, you may be able to rebuild as a complying development. You will need to meet certain development standards and get a complying development certificate from your council or a private certifier.

If you’re unable to meet the development standards for complying development, you will need to speak to the council about lodging a development application.

Requirements for complying development

The rural housing code has complying development standards for outbuildings in rural areas. It applies in all rural zoned areas and the R5 rural residential zone in local government areas east of the Great Dividing Range.

The inland code has complying development standards for outbuildings in rural areas west of the Great Dividing Range. This means detached structures such as carports, sheds and studios are complying development if they meet certain standards. 

Complying development under the Rural Housing Code or the Inland Code has additional requirements for areas affected by bushfire, flooding and heritage and there are some exclusions for environmentally sensitive land.