Complying Development

A complying development certificate can be issued by council or a private certifier without the need for a full development application, providing the application meets very specific criteria.

All complying development must still meet the National Construction Code (NCC) as well as the requirements for adjoining owners’ property rights, the applicable common law and other legislative requirements for approvals, licenses, permits and authorities.

Do I qualify for complying development?

Complying development cannot be undertaken on all land. A property does not qualify for complying development if the property is:

  • a heritage item or a draft heritage item
  • in a foreshore area
  • in an environmentally sensitive area
  • on bushfire prone land with a BAL 40 or BAL FZ rating

To determine if your property meets the land-based requirements you can apply to Council for a Section 10.7 Planning Certificate.

How do I tell if my development is complying?

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (referred to as the 'Codes SEPP') provides definitions for what developments are complying:

There are general requirements listed under Codes SEPP pt 1 - General that apply to all complying development and in addition, each type of development must also meet certain 'development standards' to be complying.

Other State Environmental Planning Policies or 'SEPPs' also provide criteria for complying development, such as affordable housing (as part of the 'Housing SEPP'), and infrastructure (as part of the 'Transport and infrastructure SEPP').

View more details about these SEPPs and complying development on the NSW Planning Portal.

Will I need any other kinds of approvals?

You may need separate approvals or permits for specific parts of the development or activities before you lodge your application, such as:

  • a bushfire attack level (BAL) certificate
  • a flood planning certification
  • section 138 Roads Act 1993 approval for any works within the road reserve including building any kerb, crossover or driveway. Please apply for a Section 138 Application via the NSW Planning Portal.
  • section 68 activities approval under the Local Government Act 1993 for any:
    • water, sewer or stormwater works
    • onsite sewerage management system
    • meter connections
  • a private tree permit, formerly known as a 'tree removal application'. Applications for a private tree permit are now submitted via the NSW Planning Portal. Please contact the Environmental Health duty officer on 1300 293 111 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 11:00am) for further assistance.

What if I can't meet all the criteria?

If your development does not satisfy all the controls (requirements) or is proposed on land which is excluded from the Codes SEPP, complying development cannot be approved and you will need to lodge a Development Application.

Learn more about development applications

How do I apply for a complying development certificate?

Lodgement of Complying Development Certificates must be made online via the NSW Planning Portal

Getting set-up for online lodgement is simple and you can start using it straight away:

  1. Go to the NSW Planning Portal
  2. Click on ‘My Account’
  3. Select ‘Create Account’ and follow the prompts

Once created, you can apply for complying development certificates with us online via your account.

For an overview on the NSW Planning Portal, watch this video.

Once your application has been submitted we will review your submission to make sure it has all of the necessary documentation. If we require any additional information or documentation we will let you know via your Planning Portal account. If so, you will need to submit this information to us via the NSW Planning Portal.

Complying development applications will only be formally accepted and progressed to the next phase once the fees relating to your application have been paid to Council. An invoice for the fees will be sent via the NSW Planning Portal.

You will be automatically notified when we've lodged your application into our system and when your application has been determined (a decision has been made). Approved plans and documentation will be delivered to you via the NSW Planning Portal.

Your guide to the DA process

The NSW Government has developed a step by step breakdown of the DA process, from pre-lodgement (preparing your documents) to organising construction, to obtaining the final occupation certificate (the last step in the formal DA and construction process).

Your guide to the DA process - NSW Planning Portal