Exempt & Complying Development

Exempt and Complying Development are prescribed categories of development that can be carried out with a simplified version of application and approval or in the case of Exempt Development, with no application.

These types of development are typically simpler developments on sites with minimal constraints that are consistent with preset specific controls.

Exempt and Complying Development is available for consideration under several legislative frameworks.

NSW Housing Code

State Government State Environmental Planning Policies

The choice to use one of the above frameworks will depend on the nature of the work proposed and the land involved as well as the legal relationship requirements.

Exempt Development

Exempt development is development that will have minimal impact on the local environment and which may be undertaken without any Council approval. It is the applicant/owner's responsibility to demonstrate that works are Exempt Development if challenged to do so. If in doubt you should seek written advice from Council. Penalties may apply to works that are mistakenly carried out as Exempt Development.

There are approximately 50 development types that are potentially exempt under the Codes SEPP and include development such as front fences, carports, garden sheds and pergolas.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) Infrastructure 2007 allows for various forms of development to be undertaken without the need for development consent. Such forms of development include, but are not limited to, works in relation to educational establishments, emergency services, health services, group homes, service providers and road infrastructure facilities.

What if my development is not exempt development?

If your proposal does not comply with the requirements for your type of development then it is not Exempt Development. Your proposal may be Complying Development (see below) or you may need to lodge a Development Application with Council and obtain Development Consent.

Complying Development

Complying development is small scale, low impact development that does not qualify as Exempt Development but meets a set of basic requirements and conditions. Unlike Exempt Development, Complying Development requires an application to be submitted to either Council or a Principal Certifying Authority to certify that the proposal is Complying Development under the provisions of either:

  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt & Complying Development Codes) 2008
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure)

A Complying Development Application form can be found here.

Determination of these Complying Development applications (i.e. the issue of a Complying Development Certificate or 'CDC') is required to be undertaken within ten (10) days. Examples of complying development include swimming pools, dwellings and demolition.

Once you have established that your proposal can be Exempt or Complying Development, you should follow the sequence of Exempt or Complying Development stages below.

If you are lodging a Complying Development application with Council, you should follow the sequence of Complying Development (CDC) events contained in the 6 Stages of Complying Development Certificates which are outlined below.

Stage 1 - Lodgement

What is a Complying Development Certificate?

A Complying Development Certificate is an approval that certifies that:

    • the proposed development is complying development and;
    • if carried out in accordance with the plans and specifications will comply with all development standards, any standards in a DCP and all requirements of the Regulations under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979.

Lodgement Requirements

Your application must be submitted on the Complying Development Certificate application form and be in accordance with the Complying Development Checklist provided by Council. You are encouraged to personally lodge your application in order for Council to ensure that all of the necessary information has been provided and that the proposal complies with any prerequisites and Council checklists for the various types of Complying Development. Applications that do not meet all requirements cannot be accepted.

Please note that the Construction Certificate Preparation and Lodgement Guide can be used to assist you in the preparation and lodgement of your Complying Development Certificate application.

A fee quote can be obtained from Council prior to lodgement by calling 1300 292 442. All applicable fees must accompany your application at lodgement stage.

The Construction Certificate Preparation and Lodgement Guide and also to the relevant application form and checklist that are necessary for the preparation and lodgement of a Complying Development Certificate can be found here.

Stage 2 - Assessment

  1. Once lodged, your CDC application goes through an initial review and is assigned to a Building Surveyor. Council then checks that your CDC application:
  • complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA)
  • is consistent with the appropriate Complying Development controls
  • complies with any BASIX commitments
  • complies with other Complying Development submission requirements

You will be advised if further information is required prior to determination of the CDC.

Stage 3 - Prior to Issue of a Complying Development Certificate

If applicable to your application, the following items are required prior to issue of a CDC. You can submit the information at any time prior to determination to prevent delay in the issuing of your approval.

Builder's Details

Council requires the builder's name, address and NSW licence number for all residential work exceeding $5,000.

Home Owner's Warranty Insurance

All residential work exceeding $20,000 requires a Certificate of Home Owner's Warranty Insurance in accordance with Part 6 of the Home Building Act 1989. Council requires a copy of this insurance. Certificates must show the correct property details to which the Certificate relates and identify all work covered under the building contract e.g. Dwelling and Swimming Pool.

Owner Builder Permit

Should the owner choose to complete the work as an owner/builder, an owner/builder permit is to be obtained from the Department of Fair Trading and a copy submitted to Council for all residential building work exceeding $10,000. Permits must show the correct property details and Council application number to which the permit relates. This application number is provided on lodgement of the Complying Development Certificate application.

If the work exceeds $20,000, an owner/builder will be required to complete a course prior to obtaining the permit. For further details visit your local Department of Fair Trading office at 8 Baylis Street Wagga Wagga, phone (02) 6933 9500 or visit the Department of Fair Trading website.

Long Service Levy

The NSW Government has put a levy on all building and construction work valued at $25,000 or more (inclusive of GST). The levy rate is 0.35% of the total cost of the work as determined by the consent/certifying authority. The building applicant or the person for whom the work is being done is liable to pay the levy.

Council is an agent for the collection of long service levy payments and you are encouraged to pay the levy when lodging your Complying Development Certificate application. If paying direct to the Long Service Payments Corporation, Council will require proof of payment.

If you are an owner-builder, non profit organisation or church you may be eligible for a partial exemption of up to 50% of the levy payable. The exemption is calculated on the content of voluntary labour performed. An exemption should be applied for prior to lodging a Complying Development Certificate and a copy of the exemption certificate submitted with your application to Council.

Alternatively, you can pay the long service levy in full and apply to the Long Service Payments Corporation for the exemption and a refund of the exempt portion of the levy, within 3 months of the payment. You will require proof of payment for any refund. For further information please call the Helpline on 131 441.

Stage 4 - Determination and Issue

You will be sent formal determination and a Complying Development Certificate in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (as amended) together with stamped approved plans and specifications.

Notice of Commencement & Appointment of Principal Certifying Authority Form (PDF, 74.5 KB) will be enclosed and is to be submitted to Council at least two (2) days prior to commencement of any building work.

The Complying Development Certificate will identify required inspections including critical stage inspection. NOTE: if critical stage inspections are not undertaken the law prevents the issue of an occupation certificate.

The Complying Development Certificate is valid for 5 years from the date of determination unless building work is substantially commenced beforehand.

Stage 5 - Commencement of Works

What should I do before any work begins?

  1. Make sure Complying Development Certificate has been issued. Ensure that you read the Certificate and comply with the relevant conditions.
  2. Ensure any Section 94 and Section 64 contributions identified in the Complying Development Certificate are paid.
  3. Make sure a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) has been appointed. A PCA means the authority (Council) or accredited person appointed to carry out inspections and issue Occupation Certificates. NOTE: Only Council is authorised to carry out plumbing and drainage inspections.
  4. Make sure your Notice of Commencement & Appointment of PCA form (PDF, 74.5 KB) has been submitted.
  5. Obtain all relevant permits and other approvals.
  6. Make sure that the required signage has been provided to identify the site, builder's information, PCA, etc.
  7. Make sure that a builder's toilet is available in accordance with Work Cover requirements.
  8. Ensure all environment controls are in place e.g. sediment fence; hoardings; dust control. The environmental issues you must consider when demolishing, excavating or building are:
  • protecting heritage items and contributory buildings
  • occupational health and safety and public safety
  • good site management including waste management
  • preventing erosion and controlling sediments
  • limiting hours of work to mitigate noise impacts on neighbours
  • limiting hours of work to mitigate traffic and parking impacts on neighbours
  • timing deliveries to mitigate traffic and parking impacts on neighbours
  • provision for storage including chemical storage

Visit the NSW Workcover and Office of Environment and Heritage websites.

  • Make sure provisions have been made for construction waste.
  • Tell the neighbours you are about to start work and if an excavation is proposed below the level of the footings of a building on an adjoining allotment the notice must be given in writing to the owner at least seven (7) days before excavation commences.
  • How do I organise a Building Inspection?

    Bookings for inspections may be arranged by telephoning Council's Development Services Section48 hours prior to required inspection.

    You can book an inspection by calling 1300 292 442 between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

    To book an inspection it will be necessary to have the following information ready:

    • The Council Complying Development Certificate number for the work
    • Job site address
    • The type of inspection required e.g. slab, frame, etc.
    • The date and time the inspection is required
    • The name of the person requiring the inspection and their contact number

    NOTE: Ensure that you continue to monitor the conditions of your consent during the various stages of construction.

    Stage 6 - Completion of Work

    What do I do when work is completed?

    You will need to submit an Occupation Certificate Form (PDF, 391.1 KB) at least 48 hours prior to contacting Council to arrange a final inspection prior to occupying the building. Once a satisfactory final inspection has been carried out you must obtain an Interim or Final Occupation Certificate prior to occupying the building.

    It should be noted that it is an offence to occupy a building without an occupation certificate.

    Interim Occupation Certificate

    An Interim Occupation Certificate can be issued if the building is fit for occupation but there are still outstanding matters to be addressed.

    These matters must be addressed within 12 months of the date of occupation of the building and the building reinspected before a Final Occupation Certificate can be issued.

    Final Occupation Certificate

    A Final Occupation Certificate is issued by the PCA and certifies that:

    • Council has been appointed as the principal certifying authority under s109E of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
    • A development consent is in force with respect to the building.
    • A construction certificate has been issued with respect to the plans and specifications for the building.
    • The building is suitable for occupation or use in accordance with its classification under the Building Code of Australia.
    • Where required, a final fire safety certificate has been issued for the building.
    • Where required, a report from the Commissioner of Fire Brigades has been considered.
    • It should be noted that an Occupation Certificate is a lawful requirement in the conveyancing process when a property is sold and it is therefore essential that you follow the above process.

    Complying Development Certificate - Security Bond (Damage to Council Property)

    Clause 136M of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 permits Council to require a security bond against any damage to Council property (Kerb and Gutter) resulting from the development works.  In accordance with Clause 136M, Wagga Wagga City Council requires a security bond of $1,000 to be lodged with Council before any building work commences on a Complying Development Certificate.

    A CDC Security Bond requires completion of the Complying Development Certificate (CDC) - Kerb and Gutter Security Bond (Damage to Council Property) form and lodgement at Council's Customer Service, accompanied by the appropriate fee and bond.  Please see form which can be found here.

    For full details please refer to the following state policies which can be found on the NSW Legislation website www.legislation.nsw.gov.au"

    What if my proposal does not meet the requirements for Complying Development?

    If your proposal does not comply with the requirements for your type of development then it is not Complying Development. You will need to lodge a Development Application with Council and obtain Development Consent.

    Complying Development on Bushfire Prone Land

    For information on undertaking complying development on bushfire prone land please see the Development on Bushfire Prone Land section of this webpage.