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 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 any planning controls 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 done 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

Exempt and complying development provisions also operate under other planning instruments, including:

  • SEPP (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009
  • SEPP (Infrastructure) 2007
  • SEPP (Mining) 2007, and
  • SEPP (Port Botany and Port Kembla) Amendment (Port of Newcastle) 2013
  • a number of other SEPP's that apply only to specified sites or areas, and

Randwick Council's LEP also contains some additional types of complying development including:

  • Awning and shopfront replacements to existing shops (in a heritage conservation area)
  • New or enlarged external door or window openings to the rear of a building (in a heritage conservation area)

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 Building Code of Australia (BCA) and relevant Australian Standards

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 for a CDC may apply to Council or a private Accredited Certifier who has the appropriate level of accreditation from the NSW Building Professionals Board. The certificate must be obtained before any building work 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 PDF, 159.41 KB and submit it with:

  • three copies of detailed building plans and building specifications, including full details of compliance with the Building Code of Australia
  • three copies of structural engineering plans, or other technical details, such as mechanical ventilation details, stormwater drainage details, timber/metal framing and fire safety details
  • provide details of the building for the Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • up-to-date Section 149 Planning Certificate (from Council)
  • details of compliance with the relevant BASIX and Building Code of Australia energy efficiency and water saving requirements
  • details of compliance with the Home Building Act 1989 insurance provisions for residential building work (i.e. certificate of insurance)
  • details of the licensed builder or owner builder (if known at lodgement stage)
  • specific details which are required to be submitted in accordance with the conditions of development consent
  • details about the payment of the Building Construction Industry Long Service Leave Levy for building work costing $25,000 or more
  • payment of any security deposits or monetary contributions required by the development consent
  • a list of existing and proposed essential fire safety measures (except in relation to dwellings and associated structures such as garages, carports, storage sheds or other out-buildings). For example:
    • fire doors
    • hose reels
    • fire hydrants
    • fire extinguishers
    • sprinkler systems
    • fire and smoke detection systems
    • smoke hazard management systems
    • exit signs
    • emergency lighting
  • any relevant compliance certificates or other design certification and details
  • a written statement detailing compliance with the relevant standards and requirements of the complying development category
  • payment of the application and Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) inspection 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 Council or Accredited Certifier as a PCA, to carry out the relevant inspections of the works and to issue the required Occupation Certificate.

More information

For further information about complying development certificates, contact a qualified Architect, Planner or Accredited Certifier or feel free to contact Council on 1300 722 542.

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