Exempt development

A number of home improvements and minor developments can be carried out without approval in NSW and are known as 'Exempt Development'. Some types of development that can be exempt include garden sheds, carports, farm buildings, decks, minor internal and external building alterations and changes of use of a building. Those that are permissible in relation to Heritage Items or within a Heritage Conservation Area are generally in the rear yard of the property and can include water tanks, access ramps, pergolas and shade structures.

Exempt development can be undertaken if it satisfies all of the setbacks, size limitations and other criteria listed in the State Environment Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (known as the 'Codes SEPP'). See full copy of the Codes SEPP

Exempt building work must be structurally sound and meet the Building Code of Australia. Exempt buildings cannot 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 is situated.

If your development does not satisfy all of the exempt development criteria, you will need to obtain planning approval by lodging a development application or complying development certificate application.

Council staff are available to answer enquiries or to check if a development is exempt. Council's duty Building Surveyor is available from 8.30am to 11am weekdays on 6643 0200 or email your enquiry to council@clarence.nsw.gov.au.

Further information

View examples of exempt development at the NSW Planning Portal

Visit NSW Planning's Spatial viewer or Clarence On-line Mapping to check the zoning of your property or whether it is a heritage item or located in a heritage conservation area.

Buildings constructed before 1987 may contain asbestos. Visit asbestosawareness.com.au






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