Complying Development

What is Complying Development?

Complying development must meet the predetermined development standards within a planning instrument. A Complying Development application can be determined by Council Certifiers or an Accredited Certifier.

Most complying development is contained within State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes), referred to on these pages as ‘The Code SEPP'.

Complying development can be carried out in most parts of the local government area, except for some environmentally sensitive land, national parks and land containing heritage items.

What development is ‘complying development’ under the SEPP?

The SEPP Code contains nine ‘Codes’ with development standards for commercial, industrial and residential development. The types of development contained within each of the Codes are listed below. A development may include criteria from more than one of the Codes e.g. the demolition of a dwelling house (Demolition Code) and the construction of a dwelling house (General Housing Code).
Code Type of development
 General Housing Code New single storey and two storey dwelling houses, Alterations or additions to existing single storey and two storey dwelling houses, Detached studios adjoining lanes, Swimming Pools, Fences and retaining walls, Construction of fences , Outbuildings in heritage conservation areas
 Rural Housing Code New single storey and two storey dwelling houses, Alterations or additions to existing single storey and two storey dwelling houses
 Housing Alterations Code Internal alterations, External alterations, External alteration to residential accommodation other than dwelling houses, Attic Conversions
 General Development Code Bed and breakfast ,Home businesses, Tents, marquees or booths for community events, Stages or platforms for community events, Waterways structures
 Commercial and Industrial Alterations Code Building alterations (internal) , Change of use of premises, First use of premises, Mechanical ventilation systems, Shop fronts and awnings, Skylights and roof windows, Projecting wall signs, Freestanding pylon and directory board signs, Development ancillary to the use of land, Earthworks, retaining walls and structural support, Driveways, hard stand spaces, pathways and paving, Fences
 Commercial and Industrial Code (new buildings and additions) Code The construction of a building for the purposes of industry (other than heavy industry) or a warehouse or distribution centre , Addition to an existing building that is used for the purpose of industry (other than heavy industry) or a warehouse or distribution centre, The external alteration of an existing building used for the purpose of industry (other than heavy industry) or a warehouse or distribution centre , An addition to the rear of existing commercial premises, other than on a corner lot.
 Subdivision Code Strata subdivision of a building, other than a dual occupancy, for which development consent or a complying development certificate was granted
 Demolition Code The demolition or removal of :a dwelling, ancillary development, a swimming pool, an industrial building, a commercial building that would be complying development under the Commercial and Industrial Alterations Code and the Commercial and Industrial (New Buildings and Additions) Code) if it were being constructed.
 Fire Safety Code Certain Fire Safety Upgrades

Can I use the Electronic Housing Code (EHC) to determine if the development may be complying development?

The EHC can be used to determine the suitability of residential development and demolition (i.e. General Housing Code, Rural Housing Code, Housing Alterations and Demolition Code) as complying development. The EHC cannot be used to assess the suitability of industrial or commercial development, with the exception of proposed demolition.
For more information on the EHC please click here.
My development is not residential. How do I work out if it is complying development?
You will need to:

  1. Check that land is not excluded from containing complying development are contained within             Clause 1.17, Clause 1.17A and Clause 1.18 of the SEPP.
  2. Check that the development meets the applicable development standards in the Code.

Where can I find out what Planning Controls apply to my land (e.g. zoning, heritage, acid sulphate, bushfire etc)?

Links to the maps, relating to each suburb, can be found on the applicable suburb page. The maps are also available on the official NSW legislation website in connection with the Newcastle LEP 2012.
A Section 149 Planning Certificate for the parcel of land can also be applied for. The Certificate will include the relevant planning information and identify if the land is capable of being utilised for complying development.

Are the developments within the SEPP the only form of complying development?

No. Other complying development are listed in the following planning instruments:
  •  Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012. The LEP contains provisions to the assessment of a tree removal on private land. Complying Development Certificate Applications should be accompanied by a site plan and a qualified arborist’s report demonstrating that the tree/s are affected by either: Unacceptable Risk, Diseased Condition, Property Damage or Suppressed Growth (see Section 3 of the Urban Forest Technical Manual for more information). If the tree is not affected by any of these criteria a development application is required for the tree removal. Complying Development Certificates (CDC’s) for tree removals can only be determined by Council. For a Complying Development Application form for tree works click here.
  •  State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 – Development in this planning instrument can only be carried out by government bodies and relates to the provision of infrastructure.
  •  SEPP (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 – This planning instrument encourages the development of affordable dwellings. Some of those developments may be Complying Development. Information sheets are available from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure webisite on the applicable development standards for Group homes and Secondary dwellings (granny flats).

Who can approve a Complying Development Certificate?

A Complying Development Certificate can be determined by Council Certifiers or Accredited Certifiers.

What do I need to submit with my Complying Development Application?

The submission requirements for a Complying Development Application will be dependant on what Code the development “fits into” and on the characteristics of the property e.g. is it affected by bushfire, flooding, affected by significant land contamination?

A comprehensive checklist is available to assist you with the preparation of an application. Applications to Council can be made in person at Council’s offices, by mail or via the The Electronic Housing Code (EHC) website.

What common law and other legislative requirements might apply to complying development?

In addition to the requirements specified for development under this code, adjoining owners’ property rights, the applicable common law and other legislative requirements for approvals, licences, permits and authorities still apply.

If the development is in proximity to infrastructure, including water, stormwater and sewer mains, electricity power lines and telecommunications facilities, the relevant infrastructure authority should be contacted before commencing the development.

 The legislative requirements specifically highlight the adjoining owner’s property rights and the need to comply with common law and other legislative requirements.

Please note: The information contained above is not legal advice. It is to assist you in planning decisions. The Council recommends you seek professional advice and refer to relevant legislation.