What approvals do I need?

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If you’re building or renovating, you may need planning permission and/or pre-construction permits.

Before making changes to your property, use this page as a guide to help you determine the approval pathway to undertake your development.

Determine the pathway

Determine which pathway fits your project firstly, because not all developments need approval (particularly minor developments).

Your development may be exempt or fall under complying development. 

Is it an exempt development?

You do not need planning or construction approval for many minor renovations and low-impact works (exempt development). Council approval is not needed if your project meets specific development standards.

The standards you must comply with for most exempt development works are in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).

Tiny homes may be exempt from development approval if they can be registered with Roads and Maritime Services as a trailer. Read more about tiny home requirements.

Not exempt?

If your development is not exempt, it may qualify for a Complying Development Certificate.

Is it a complying development?

Complying development is a fast-track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial development.

Complying development generally includes larger building works than exempt development. For this reason, ‘sign off’ by a building professional, known as a certifying authority is needed. Provided the proposal meets specific development standards, it can be determined by Council or a registered certifier without the need for a full development application (not including other plumbing and Roads Act permits which may be required). 

 

Do I need approval under section 68 and 138?

Section 68

You will need to complete a Section 68 application if you’re performing the following works:

NSW Roads Act 1993 Section 138 approval

For driveways and work on the nature strip, you’ll need to submit an application for NSW Roads Act 1993 Section 138 approval.

Permission is needed for any works or activities in or on a public reserve, public road way, footpath or nature strip. Approval can be submitted via the NSW Government's Planning Portal as part of your development application (DA) or it could be as a stand-alone application for activities such as:

  • Work Sites - affecting pedestrian and or vehicular traffic, hoardings, skip bins
  • Use of CBD/industrial parking spaces for work sites
  • Special events requiring temporary road closures or affecting pedestrian and or vehicular traffic
  • Installation of rural cattle gates/grids
  • Installation or modification driveways or footpaths
  • Removal of roadside vegetation or planting on the nature strip

Apply for Section 138 approval

Do I need to submit a development application?

If your development doesn’t fall under Exempt Development or Complying Development, you need to apply for development consent and lodge a Development Application (DA).

A development is considered local development if a local environmental plan (LEP) or State environmental planning policy (SEPP) says that development consent is required before the development can take place.

The procedures for applying for development consent, the level of environmental assessment required, the notification required, and appeal rights will differ depending on how a development is categorised. These categories include designated development, integrated development and advertised development.

Use the NSW Department of Industry & Environment's guide to learn about the development assessment process.

Do I need modification consent?

Do you need to modify an existing development consent? You will need to make an application via the NSW Planning Portal.

Please also fill out the ‘Modification of Development Consent Supporting Information(PDF, 207KB)’ form to attach to your application.

NOTE: You may also need to modify related construction certificate and Section 68 approvals, if there are proposed changes to plans arising from the modified consent.

For more information refer to Section 4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Do I need approval for relocatable homes?

Moveable homes like caravans, manufactured and tiny homes may need approval before you install or modify the structure. Just like permanent structures, moveable homes require access to utilities and therefore require approval. It’s also important to check if the location is bushfire or flood-prone.

  • Installing a manufactured or relocatable home in a caravan park
  • Installing a manufactured home or relocatable home in a manufactured housing estate
  • Installing a manufactured home or relocatable home outside of the two above on private property

Follow these steps to obtain approval:

  1. Seek approval from the owner/operator of the land, caravan park or manufactured home estate
  2. If any part of the park or estate is flood-liable, new installation work requires Section 68 approval. If the land is not flood-prone, installation does not need Council approval. Only the approval from the owner/operator.
  3. Application to install manufactured home or moveable dwelling
  4. Notice of completion of installation

You don’t need approval if you’re carrying out general maintenance, repairs, renovations, or if the installation is in a park or estate that is not flood prone.

For more information, see Tiny Homes.

Post consent certificates

As part of your development, you may also need to apply for other certificates/approvals via the NSW Planning Portal.

Before you occupy the development, an occupation certificate will need to be issued by the registered certifier. An application for an occupation certificate needs to be made via the NSW Planning Portal. Once you have submitted your application, and paid the application fees, you will also need to book a final inspection. During the final inspection, the registered certifier checks that all conditions of the approval have been met, and that the building is suitable for occupation.

NOTE: if a private certifier issued the approval for your development, the private certifier will also issue the Occupation Certificate.