Do I need development approval?

There are a number of home improvements and minor developments that can be completed without approval in NSW.

Some developments that may be exempt include garden sheds, carports, farm buildings, decks, minor internal and external building alterations and the change of use for a building. In relation to Heritage Items or within a Heritage Conservation Area, exempt developments are generally located in the rear yard of the property and can include water tanks, access ramps, pergolas and shade structures.

An exempt development can be undertaken if it satisfies all setbacks, size limitations and other criteria listed in the State Environment Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

Exempt building work must be structurally sound and meet the Building Code of Australia. Exempt buildings can't be located over a sewer or storm water main, easement or effluent irrigation area. Notably, an exempt farm building must be ancillary to an agricultural use of the landholding on which it's situated.

If your development doesn't satisfy all of the exempt development criteria, you'll need planning approval by lodging a Development Application or a complying development certificate application.

To check if a development is exempt, email our duty building surveyor at, or call 02 6643 0200 from 8.30am-11am weekdays. 

More information

View examples of exempt development at the NSW Planning Portal.

Visit NSW Planning's spatial viewer or Clarence online mapping to check the zoning of your property or whether it is a heritage item or located in a heritage conservation area.