Change of Use (Commercial or Industrial)

It is always best to assume you need some form of approval until you can prove that you don't.

Start by confirming what zone your property is. You can find this by using the NSW Planning Portal's Spatial Viewer.

Do I need approval?

When changing the use of a premise, the following controls must be considered in order to be exempt from requiring consent from Council:

  • the current use must be an approved, lawful use
  • the new use must not result in a change of building classification under the National Construction Code (NCC)
  • the new use must not be carried out at premises that are a manufactured home, moveable dwelling or associated structure, temporary structure, tent, swimming pool, ship or vessel
  • the new use must not involve building alterations, other than alterations that are exempt development

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (referred to as the 'Codes SEPP') contains additional requirements that must be met to satisfy exempt development criteria:

The NSW Government has more information on exempt development on the NSW Planning Portal.

If the proposal doesn't qualify as exempt development, you may be able to apply through 'complying development' or a 'Development Application' (DA) – see below for more information.

Do I qualify for a complying development certificate?

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.

Complying development cannot be undertaken on all land. To determine if your property meets the land-based requirements you can apply to Council for a Section 10.7 Planning Certificate.

Complying development rules are set out by Codes SEPP pt 1 div 2 s 1.17 - What development is complying development?.

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.

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.

It is important note that a complying development certificate can only be used to change the use of a site to certain activities as outlined in Codes SEPP pt 5a - Industrial and Business Building Codes.

The NSW Government has more information on complying development on the NSW Planning Portal.

If the proposed development does not meet the above conditions for an exempt or complying development, you will need to seek approval by lodging a Development Application (DA).

I need a DA. What do I do?

The steps below will guide you through the process of applying for a DA.

What documents do I need?

Before you can begin the application process, there are a number of documents you will need to prepare. Some of these documents may take time to obtain or complete, so make sure you plan ahead when preparing to lodge an application.

Click on the title of each document below to learn more about what they involve, and how to prepare each of them for your application.

Please note: These are the minimum required documents for lodgement. Site constraints such as bushfire, flood, coastal erosion, heritage, etc. will require additional documentation to be supplied.

Estimated development cost

Cost estimations forecast the resources and associated costs needed to execute a development. These reports must explain the methodology used to calculate the estimate.

The value of works estimate must include the value of costs such as labour (i.e. specialist tradespeople) as well as the value of materials and fixtures to be used, as opposed to what the developer is paying for them.

For example, if labour is being provided “for free”, that labour still has a value which must be accurately included in the estimate of the value of works.

For development with a value of $0 to $150,000, a cost summary report may be prepared by the applicant or a suitably qualified person.

For development with a value of greater than $150,000 to $3 million, a cost summary report may be prepared by a suitably qualified person.

For development with a value of greater than $3 million, a detailed cost report is to be prepared by a registered quantity surveyor.

Download and complete the estimated development cost form

Owners consent

To lodge a Development Application (DA), you must obtain consent of the landowner, which includes the signature of every landowner.

If the owner is a company or owner's corporation, the application must be signed by a person under the common seal.

If your property is a strata unit and you are proposing development beyond your entitlement, you will need to get the approval of the owner's corporation.

If you have recently purchased the property, Council may not have received formal notice of the sale, and the former owner will be the listed on Council's records. You will need to provide Council with a copy of the transfer of sale or a letter from your solicitor advising ownership has changed.

Download and complete the owners consent form

Statement of environmental effects

The statement of environmental effects is a report that details and explains the likely impacts of the proposed development both during and after the development, and the proposed measures that will mitigate these impacts.

It also includes a detailed assessment of the proposed development having regard to all policies and planning controls that apply to the land or type of development.

The statement includes written information about proposal and any other factor of your proposal that cannot be readily shown by your plans. A high-quality statement of environmental effects is an important component to a development application.

A statement of environmental effects details the likely impacts of the proposal, and the proposed measures that will mitigate these impacts. It is a written statement about the proposal that supports your plans and drawings.

For applications that do not propose any work, such as change of use applications, a statement of environmental effects is still required. The statement must outline how the use is permissible and complies with the planning polices but also how the use will operate if consent is granted, e.g. number of staff, hours of operation, vehicular access and loading and waste management.

Please note: If a development is seeking a departure from acceptable solutions listed within the Shoalhaven Development Control Plan (DCP) 2014, a variation statement is required in accordance with Chapter 1 of the DCP.

Waste management plan

This plan will detail waste management and minimisation activities to be carried out during demolition, construction and operation of the premises/development.

This plan will need to:

  • specify waste by type and volume and nominate reuse and recycling potential
  • nominate siting of waste storage and recycling facilities for demolition, construction and final use
  • detail how and where residual wastes will be disposed of, and
  • explain how ongoing waste management of the site will operate.
Download and complete the waste management plan form

Site plan

A plan of the site to provide the context of the proposed development.

The plan must show the exact location of buildings and other features on the site, at the same scale as the plans and elevations.

The plan must include the following details:

  • north point (true north)
  • scale (show ratio and bar scale), lot dimensions and areas
  • date, plan number, amendment number
  • position of all existing structures, contours and spot levels
  • position of structures, including trees on adjoining land (including the street and adjoining parks or open space), especially window locations in adjoining buildings with top and bottom of sill heights
  • position of existing trees on both the site and adjoining sites (including the street and adjoining parks or open space), and reduced level at the base of such trees, and their height and canopy spread
  • the location and levels of any solar panels on adjoining lots

Please ensure that your document includes the following before uploading:

  • the location, boundary dimensions, site area and north point of the land
  • existing vegetation and trees on the land
  • the location and uses of existing buildings on the land
  • existing levels of the land in relation to buildings and roads
  • the location and uses of buildings on sites adjoining the land

Floor plan

Plans which detail:

  • each level in the building/s must include existing and proposed work
  • clear and fully dimensioned plans coloured or marked to show new work
  • layout, partitioning, room sizes and internal uses of each part of the buildings
  • kitchen, laundry, and bathroom layouts including the location of fittings and fixtures
  • location of windows, doors, and other openings
  • finished floor levels to Australian Height Datum or assumed datum
  • wall construction and dimensions
  • notated section lines showing the location of all sectional elevations

Notification plan

Notification plans are reduced A4-sized copies of the site plan and elevations of a proposed development.

The reduced elevations should be exact copies of the elevations submitted with the DA, and the reduced site plan must not show any of the internal layout of the proposed development.

Ideally, all of this information should be provided on one (1) A4 page (back and front).

Fire safety schedule

A fire safety schedule is to be prepared by a suitably qualified person listing all existing and proposed essential fire services.

The schedule should include a list of the Category 1 fire safety provisions that currently apply to all existing buildings on site, and a list of the Category 1 fire safety provisions that are to apply to the development.

Access report

An access report demonstrates how the proposed development provides easy access and useable areas for everyone, and compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Australian Standard 1428.1. - Access to Premises.

An access report applies to development where disabled access is a requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, such as:

  • housing for seniors or people with a disability
  • residential flat buildings
  • child care centres
  • schools
  • hospitals

How to lodge your DA

Step 1.Register for an NSW Planning Portal account to start your application.

Step 2.Log in to complete the online application form.

Step 3.Upload your documentation when prompted.

What happens next

Once the application is submitted, Council will be notified to conduct a review. Additional documentation may be required prior to lodgement of the application.

A development application will progress to the 'lodgement' stage when the relevant fees are paid.

Further information may be requested post lodgement and/or during the detailed assessment phase, to help assess the application in accordance with the requirements of Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Need more help?

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

Duty planner enquiries

For Duty enquiries please phone 1300 293 111.