Exempt Development


Exempt Development is development that has minimal impact on the local environment and does not require approval.

Exempt Development can be carried out in most parts of the local government area, except for environmentally sensitive land, national parks and some land containing heritage items. Exempt Development must also meet the specified development standards in the legislation (e.g. maximum heights, location, size etc)

The requirements for most Exempt Development are contained within  State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) ('The Code SEPP').

Is my development 'exempt'? 

The Department of Planning and Environment has released a version of a web tool titled  Interactive Buildings that simplifies the requirements for exempt development on residential, commercial and industrial properties. Using the tool is as simple as:

  1. Select the 'View List' option, this will prompt you to agree to a set of terms in order to access the 'Development types' page.
  2. Click on the property type (e.g. residential, commercial or industrial).  If the option for a ‘commercial’ or 'industrial' property is not available for the development type, this means exempt development for that development type is not available on that ‘type’ of property.
  3. Review the requirements listed.

The site provides you with diagrams of structures and definitions of planning terms that aim to translate planning jargon into ‘plain English’.  The ‘Interactive buildings’ tool also contains the criteria for solar energy systems (e.g. hot water systems, solar photovoltaic electricity generating systems, solar air heating) contained in the  Infrastructure SEPP.

Alternatively, for residential development the  Electronic Housing Code (EHC) can assist you to identify what exempt development can be carried out at a specific address.  The EHC will provide you with a pdf report of the requirements for your records.  It is recommended that you save a copy of this report for your records.

The EHC only contains information on the Code SEPP and does not address the other planning instruments.

The development isn't exempt. What do I do?

If your development doesn't meet the requirements for Exempt Development, you may be able to apply for either a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) or for more complex developments, a Development Application.

If you require assistance in determining whether your development is exempt, please contact Council's Environmental Services team.

Do I have to notify Council if my project is exempt? 

No, but is always advisable to inform your neighbours of your intentions.

What I can change on a property without any planning approval?

To find out what you can change on your property without obtaining planning approval, simply input address on the following State Government link Interactive Buildings

This site will tell you what building controls need to be met for a particular type of development. It covers fences, flag poles, rainwater tanks, carports, building alterations, sheds, etc.  If you cannot meet all of the building controls listed, you will need to submit a relevant application to Council. If you need more advice, please contact Council's Environmental Services team.