Exempt and complying development

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What is ‘exempt development’ and ‘complying development’?

Minor and small scale development often does not require development assessment by Council. This type of development is identified as ‘exempt development’ or ‘complying development’.

Exempt development is minor development that has minimal environmental impact, for example aerials, barbeques, gazebos and minor building alterations.

Complying development is more substantial than the exempt development types, for example internal alterations to a house, a new single or two storey dwelling and a below ground swimming pool.

Exempt development

Exempt development does not require consent provided all prescribed standards for the development are met.

Both the State Government and Council have exempt development types in various planning instruments. The two main instruments are:

Exempt development types can also be found in other SEPPs.

Exempt development under the SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

Part 2 of the Codes SEPP contains the Exempt Development Codes.

To determine if your proposed development is 'exempt development' under the Codes SEPP follow the three step checklist:

Step 1 – Check that exempt development can be carried out on your land

Does your land meet requirements in clauses 1.15 and 1.16 of the Codes SEPP?

Step 2 – Go to the Codes SEPP Part 2 Exempt Development Codes for the rules

In Part 2, does your proposed development fit into one of the exempt development types?

Identify the ‘specified development’ and the ‘development standards’ for that development.

If your development is in Division 2 or 3 of Part 2, check the ‘general requirements’ for that division.

Step 3 – Determine if your proposal is exempt development

If your proposal satisfies the general and land requirements for exempt development and fits into a development type together with its standards and general requirements, the proposal is exempt development.

If your proposal is not exempt development it will require consent through either the complying development application or development application process.

There are similar tests within other SEPPs to establish whether proposals are exempt development under these State policies.

Note: If your proposal is for a solar energy system, this may be exempt development subject to compliance with the development standards in SEPP (Infrastructure) 2007.

Exempt development under WLEP 2014

Schedule 2 Exempt development permits two development types that are exempt from consent.

Complying development

Complying development types can be found in numerous SEPPs, particularly the Codes SEPP.

Complying development is a quick and simple alternative to the DA process with approvals being granted in less time.

Some complying development works are permissible in heritage conservation areas but additional development standards apply. Other things that affect the permissibility of complying development are whether the site has Class 1 or 2 acid sulfate soil or if it is contaminated.

The State Government’s standards are mainly set out in the State Codes SEPP (Parts 3, 4, 4A, 5, 5A, 6, 7 and 8).

Complying Development under the SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

To determine if your proposed development is ‘complying development’ under one of the complying development codes follow the three step checklist.

Step 1 – Check that complying development can be carried out on your land

Does your land meet the requirements of clauses 1.17A, 1.18 and 1.19 of the Codes SEPP?

Step 2 – Go to the relevant part of the Codes SEPP for the rules

In Part 3, 4, 4A, 5, 5A, 6,7 or 8 does your development fit into one of the complying development types?

Identify the ‘specified development’ and the ‘development standards’ for that development.

For example, Part 4 Housing Alterations Code contains three types of complying development: internal alterations, external alterations and attic conversions. Each type has its own development standards.

Step 3 – Determine if your proposal is complying development under the relevant Complying Code

If your proposal satisfies the general and land requirements for complying development and fits into a development type together with its standards, the proposal is complying development. You can lodge a Complying Development Application (PDF) with Council or an accredited certifier.

If your proposal is not complying development you can consider amending your proposal, or lodging a development application. You should also check if the development is exempt or complying development under another part of the Codes SEPP.

Other exempt and complying provisions

The Codes SEPP is not the only State environmental planning policy applying to Woollahra containing exempt and complying development provisions. Other SEPPs include:

For more information on these and other SEPPs, see NSW Legislation and the Department of Planning and Environment listing of State policies.

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