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Exempt and Complying Development Explained

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What are the different types of development?

Development can be categorised into three different types:

  • Exempt Development
  • Complying Development
  • Development Applications

What is Exempt Development?

Exempt development is very low impact development that can be done for certain residential, commercial and industrial properties. A few examples include: decks, garden sheds, carports, fences, repairing a window or painting a house. As long as the proposed works meet all of the development standards (identified in the State Policy for exempt and complying development), approval may not be needed.

What is Complying Development?

Complying development is development that has a greater impact than the exempt development options, but is still considered to have minor environmental impact on neighbourhood amenity, which can be addressed by predetermined development criteria.

Complying development is a combined planning and construction approval for straight forward development that can be determined by Council or a private accredited cerfier. Complying development applies to homes, businesses and industry as well as allowing for a range of things like the construction of a new dwelling, alterations and additions, new industrial buildings, demolition of a building and changes to business use. Generally this process is via a fast track pathway process as the applicaon is generally determined within 10-20 days.

Complying Development requires self-assessment prior to lodging an application to ensure that Complying Development standards have been met. There is no leniency to the development standards, where a development cannot meet these standards a traditional Development Application is required to be made to Council.

What is a Development Application?

This is development requiring a traditional Development Application as the project may have a level of environmental

impact such as heritage and river front area impacts. This process involves a merit-based assessment and

is generally intended for projects that require notification and consultation with the neighbouring properties and the broader community to ensure the community can have their say.

The Planning Legislation behind Development

The consent authority (Council and private certifiers) that assess and determine Development Applications (DA’s) and Complying Development Certificates (CDC’s) us guided by legislation such as the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979, the Environmental Planning & Policies (SEPPs) and Local Environmental Plans (LEP’s)

The majority of Exempt and Complying Development types and their development standards are specified under:

  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007; and
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009.

A flowchart explaining the process around exempt, complying and development applications can be found here.

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