Exempt Development

State Environmental Planning Policy (exempt and complying development codes)

In February 2009, the NSW Government introduced the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (SEPP).

The Policy aims, in part, to provide streamlined assessment processes for development that complies with specified development standards by:

  • (a)  providing Exempt and Complying Development Codes that have state-wide application, and
  • (b)  identifying, in the Exempt Development Codes, types of development that are of minimal environmental impact that may be carried out without the need for development consent.

The SEPP now lists more than 80 different types of Exempt Development where, subject to satisfying the pre-determined standards can be undertaken without the need for prior planning or construction approval from Council (or a Private Certifier). However, other legislative requirements for approvals, licences, permits and authorities still apply. 

The Specified development (types of development) and Development standards (requirements) for each exempt development type in the SEPP must also be read in conjunction with all relevant clauses of: 

It cannot be stressed enough that these Parts/Divisions are very important and must not be overlooked, as these form the basis on whether the development may be considered as Exempt Development or not.

What if my proposal does not comply with all requirements in the SEPP?  

The requirements for Exempt Development are strict. If your proposal does not comply with each and every requirement in the SEPP, then it is not Exempt Development. If this is the case, you will need to obtain approval for the development before commencing your proposal.

Failure to obtain the appropriate approvals for work not covered by the Exempt Development Code will be treated as unauthorised development. Councils and other consent authorities have specific powers to issue fines, orders to demolish works or cease activities that fall outside the scope of Exempt Development. Any person (including neighbours) may also take action in the Land and Environment Court. 

If your proposal is not Exempt Development and you require information on lodging an application, please contact Council on 02 6578 7290

Where can I obtain further information on exempt development and the SEPP? 

If you require further information or resources on the SEPP,  please visit the Department of Planning website, e-mail codes@planning.nsw.gov.au  or phone T 1300 305 695

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