Complying development certificates

CDCs for planning and building approval

Complying Development is a form of planning and building approval that can be issued by an accredited building certifier or a Council in the form of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC). This certificate combines approval for use of the land and the building construction works.

Prior to submission of a CDC application, an applicant must establish that the proposal will comply with the planning controls and development standards which apply to the land and to the specific development type. A Section 149 planning certificate application can be obtained from Council to establish what planning controls apply to the land.

Types of complying development

The State Environmental Planning Policy (the "Codes SEPP") identifies the majority of development types that can be carried out as complying development in NSW.

The Codes SEPP comprises a number of separate codes for specific types of development:

  • General Housing Code
  • Rural Housing Code
  • Housing Alterations Code
  • General Development Code
  • Commercial and industrial Alterations Code
  • Commercial and Industrial (New Buildings and Additions) Code
  • Subdivision Code
  • Demolition Code
  • Fire Safety Code

Each code applies to particular types of complying development and identifies the relevant development standards. These standards must be met for a proposal to be approved as a CDC.

Relevant development provisions

Various State Environmental Planning Polices (SEPP’s) and Local Environmental Plans (LEP’s) contain provisions relating to exempt development and/or complying development, including:

Compliance criteria

A complying development certificate can only be issued if:

  • the proposed development fully complies with the specific requirements and criteria for complying development in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and Regulations and the relevant planning instrument (SEPP or LEP)
  • the proposal complies with the National Construction Code - Building Code of Australia (BCA) and relevant Australian Standards

Randwick City Council has developed a Guide to Exempt Development & Complying Development which contains a summary of the key provisions and requirements for a number of common types of exempt development and complying development.

If the proposed work does not satisfy all of the criteria specified, a Development Application must be submitted to and approved by Council and a Construction Certificate (CC) must also be obtained for any building works.

How to apply for a Complying Development Certificate

An applicant may apply to private sector Accredited Building Certifier who has the appropriate level of accreditation from the NSW Building Professionals Board or the Council for a CDC. The CDC must be obtained before any building work or change of building-use encompassed in the CDC commences.

Applications made to Council for a complying development certificate require detailed building plans and specifications.

What to include in your application

To lodge an application for a CDC with Council, fill out a Complying Development Certificate Application form.

Council’s CDC application form provides details of the information to be submitted with an application which is made to Council.

If you are lodging your application for a CDC with a private sector Accredited Building Certifier, please liaise directly with the Accredited Certifier to ascertain their submission requirements and Fees.

Don't start work without a CDC

You need to get a CDC (or DA and CC) before carrying out any building work or changing the use of a premises, unless the work or use is specifically permitted to be carried out as Exempt Development.

After obtaining a CDC (or DA and CC), the owner, or other person responsible for the development, must appoint either the Accredited Building Certifier or the Council as a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA), to carry out the relevant inspections of the works and to issue the required Occupation Certificate.

In most cases, an applicant appoints the same Accredited Building Certifier (or Council) that issued the CDC or CC to be he PCA for the development.

More information

For further information about complying development certificates, contact a qualified Architect, Accredited Building Certifier or Planning or Building Consultant or contact Council on 1300 722 542.

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