A NSW Government website

Repair and response works

We’ve made changes to help you recover and rebuild after a natural disaster. These include removing the need for development approval for a range of low-impact works, where criteria are met. The changes have been made under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP).

Demolition of buildings affected by natural disaster

Under the changes, you don’t need development approval to:

  • demolish buildings that have been heavily damaged by natural disaster
  • partially demolish buildings to make them safe.

You must carry out the demolition work in accordance with Australian Standard 2601-2001: The demolition of structures. We recommend hiring a qualified tradesperson to ensure the work meets this standard.

Dealing with asbestos

Be aware that structures built before 1987 may contain asbestos. If you do have asbestos, we recommend hiring a licensed tradesperson to remove it.

If you don’t use a specialist, make sure you minimise the risks of exposure to asbestos.

For help with identifying asbestos, and information on removing and disposing of it at a licensed landfill site, visit the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

Heritage items

If you want to demolish a heritage item or an item or structure in a heritage conservation area, you need to lodge a development application with your council.

Temporary repairs and non-structural permanent repairs

You can perform temporary repairs and non-structural permanent repairs as exempt development if the damage is due to a natural disaster or state of emergency declared under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989.

You can carry out:

  • temporary repairs to structural parts of a building, but only so far as is necessary to make the building safe
  • permanent repairs to non-structural parts of a building or structures such as fences.

You need to do the repairs within 2 years of the declaration of a natural disaster or state of emergency.

The repair work must:

  • not change the configuration of the floor space
  • not increase the floor space
  • be carried out to make the building or structure weatherproof and, if it is a home, suitable for habitation.

If the repairs are to a fence, gate or other barrier, the work must:

  • not change the size of the structure
  • be in the same location
  • use similar materials as the damaged structure.

Installation of a temporary shipping container

Under the Codes SEPP, you can put a shipping container on private land affected by a natural disaster or a state of emergency for storage purposes, for up to 2 years, as long as it’s not on a flood control lot.

You cannot live in the shipping container – it is for storage purposes only.

If you are in a residential zone or environmental zone can install one shipping container and the shipping container must be located behind the front building line. If you are in a in a rural zone, business zone, industrial zone or special purpose zone can install two shipping containers.

The shipping container must:

  • have foundations and structural support that make it safe and stable
  • be no more than 3 m high
  • be no more than 12.5 m long
  • be no more than 2.5 m wide
  • be at least 1.2 m clear of any 150 mm diameter sewer main or 2 m clear of any 225 mm diameter (or greater) sewer main
  • not be installed over an easement
  • not be installed over drainage pipes or any house drainage pipes unless access to the inspection openings is maintained at all times.

For more information about works that can be carried out without development approval, phone 13 77 88 or email [email protected]

For more information about safely managing asbestos waste, visit the NSW Environment Protection Authority.