Planning simplified.

We help you navigate the complex process for NSW planning approvals.

Do I Need an Approval?

There are 3 main planning processes in NSW for small scale development:

  • Projects for which you require no approval (Exempt Development)
  • Projects which require a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) to be issued
  • Projects which require a Development Application (DA) to be lodged and approved

Exempt development is the easiest as you just have to make sure your project meets the relevant criteria.  No formal approval is needed.  A CDC project also needs to meet certain criteria but is required to be approved by a building certifier.  A DA is more complex and in most cases requires expert input and needs to be approved by Council/Local or Regional Panel.

But how do you know which one applies to your project?

Start with the easiest – Exempt Development.  Here are some of the types of projects that can be Exempt Development:

  • Access Ramps
  • Aerials, Antenna, Communication Dishes
  • Air Conditioning Units
  • Animal Shelters
  • Automatic Teller Machines
  • Aviaries
  • Awnings, Blinds & Canopies
  • Balconies, Decks, Patios, Pergolas, Terraces, Verandahs
  • Barbeques & Other Outdoor Cooking Structures
  • Bollards
  • Cabanas, Cubby Houses, Ferneries, Garden Sheds, Gazebos, Greenhouses
  • Carports
  • Change of Use of Premises
  • Change of Use of Places of Public Worship
  • Charity Bins & Recycling Bins
  • Clothes Hoists & Clothes Lines
  • Demolition
  • Driveways & Hard Stand Spaces
  • Earthworks, Retaining Walls & Structural Support
  • Emergency Work & Temporary Repairs
  • Evaporative Cooling Units (Roof Mounted)
  • Farm Buildings
  • Fences (Business & Industrial Zones)
  • Fences (Residential Zones incl. RU5 Zone)
  • Fences (Rural & Environment Protection Zones & R5 Zone)
  • Fences for Swimming Pools
  • Flagpoles
  • Foothpaths – Outdoor Dining
  • Fowl & Poultry Houses
  • Fuel Tanks & Gas Storage
  • Garbage Bin Storage Enclosure
  • Grain Silos & Grain Bunkers
  • Home Businesses, Home Industries & Home Occupations
  • Hot Water Systems
  • Landscaping Structures
  • Letterboxes
  • Maintenance of Buildings in Draft Conservation Areas
  • Minor Building Alterations (External)
  • Minor Building Alterations (Internal)
  • Mobile Food & Drink Outlets
  • Pathways & Paving
  • Playground Equipment
  • Portable Swimming Pools & Spas & Child-Resistant Barriers
  • Privacy Screens
  • Rainwater Tanks
  • Roller Shutter Doors Adjoining Lanes
  • Screen Enclosures (of Balconies, Decks, Patios, Pergolas, Terraces & Verandahs)
  • Sculptures & Artworks
  • Shade Structures of Canvas, Fabric, Mesh (or the like)
  • Shipping Containers (Temporary Installation & Use For Storage Purposes Following a Bush Fire)
  • Shipping Containers and Portable Offices (Temporary Installation & Use For Existing Commercial & Industrial Purposes Following a Bushfire)
  • Skylights, Roof Windows & Ventilators
  • Stairway
  • Stock Holding Yards Not Used For Sale of Stock
  • Street Library
  • Subdivision
  • Tennis Courts
  • Waste Storage Containers
  • Water Features & Ponds
  • Waterways Structures (Minor Alterations)
  • Windmills

Other projects including signage, temporary development, service infrastructure and container recycling equipment can also be Exempt Development but it’s complex so get in touch here if this describes your project.

If your project falls into one of the above categories, we can help you work out if it can meet other Exempt Development requirements here.

If your project isn’t one of the above categories it may require a CDC or DA.   Send us some details here, and we will assist you.