Proposed changes to the NSW Exempt & Complying Development

What is the SEPP?

Complying & Exempt development in NSW is governed by the SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy) 2008.

The SEPP commenced in February 2009, and provides consistent state-wide standards that allow for faster & easier approvals for minor developments.

The State Government is continuously monitoring the SEPP to ensure it is effectively “reducing red tape, costs and delays for low impact exempt and complying development”. The Government has recently proposed some changes that will make the SEPP clearer and easier to understand, and save time & money for homeowners. 


What is Exempt Development? 

The NSW Planning website defines exempt development as ‘minor and low-impact building works or home renovations to be carried out without needing planning or building approval’.

For example: backyard sheds, storage cabanas and garden rooms.

This is a great benefit for homeowners, as these minor home improvements can be made without the stress, time or expense of seeking council approval. 

[intlink id=”3047″ type=”page”]Click here for more information about exempt development. [/intlink]


What is Complying Development?

Complying development is a fast-track approval for straightforward development that complies with the development standards in the Codes SEPP. 

This can include new homes, granny flats, backyard studios and home extensions. 


Proposed Changes: 

The proposed changes will clarify existing terms & definitions within the SEPP, making it easier to understand and comply with.

This includes:

These changes will aim to simplify & clarify standards to make it easier to carry out exempt & complying developments. This means more certainty for homeowners, certifiers and councils.

Under fast-track complying development, approvals can be issued in as little as 22 days. This increased use of exempt & complying development will mean alot of savings in time & money for homeowners and business owners, whilst freeing up council resources to focus on larger developments. 

If these proposed changes come into effect it will also mean that if you want to add a bathroom, kitchenette or cooking facilities specifically to a ‘cabana’, it cannot be considered exempt and it will have to be carried out under a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) or under a Council Development Application (DA).


Are the changes in effect yet?

At time of publishing the changes were still yet to be gazetted however they have passed the notice period and are now under consideration.

They must first be reviewed by the Planning Department, who will then submit a report to the Minister for Planning.

Once the Minister makes a decision, an update will be published on the Department of Planning & Environment website. 


More information

For more information please visit the following links:

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