Exempt and complying development is defined in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP).
If development is ‘exempt’, it means that no approval is required from council under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act). It includes things like building a ground floor deck, painting a house, adding a window to a room, or other low impact work.
So long as the work meets all relevant and applicable standards under the Codes SEPP, the development will not require consent under the EPA Act.
However, as outlined in the Codes SEPP, this does not mean that the work is exempt from the requirement for approval under separate legislation. The Notes contained within the Codes SEPP provide that:
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. For example, requirements relevant to development in this code may be contained in the Act, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, various State environmental planning policies, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, the Roads Act 1993, the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and Acts applying to various infrastructure authorities.
Complying development is described by NSW Planning as a ‘fast-track approval process for straightforward development proposals such as home renovations and additions or a new home up to two storeys. Providing the proposal meets specific criteria then it can be determined by a Council [in its capacity as a certifier] or private certifier without needing a full development application’.
Both Exempt and complying development will need to satisfy the standards within the Codes SEPP, as well as meet the ‘deemed to satisfy’ provisions of the National Construction Code (formerly Building Code of Australia).
If you’re not sure, give us a call. It is important to obtain planning or legal advice before proceeding on the assumption that the work you’re about to carry out is exempt or complying.
We have also published an article on when you need development consent, which you might find useful.