Alterations & additions to dwellings

Approval process for residential additions & alterations

Before you begin work, you need to find out what approvals are required.

Exempt development

Many minor building alterations (such as internal renovations and external non-structural work) may be classed as exempt development. If your proposed alterations meet all of the exempt criteria listed in the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (The Codes SEPP), they may be undertaken without consent from Council.

Complying development

Most internal and some external alterations that are not exempt development will meet the criteria for complying development. Some additions may also be classed as complying development. If your proposal meets all of the complying criteria listed in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, you will need to obtain a complying development certificate prior to commencing work.

Development requiring a Development Application

If your proposal does not meet either the exempt or complying criteria, you will need to lodge a development application with Council. If you receive development approval for your proposed works, you will also need to obtain a construction certificate prior to commencing building works.

Note: Additional controls apply if your dwelling is a heritage item or is within a heritage conservation area. Most internal and external alterations to heritage items will require a development application.

The following steps are provided to assist you in preparing and lodging a development application for alterations and/or additions to a dwelling house.

Step 1: Seek information

You should consider the following documents when preparing you DA:

Randwick Local Environmental Plan 2012

The Randwick Local Environment Plan 2012 (RLEP) details planning controls applicable to your site; including whether your site contains a heritage item, is located within a heritage conservation area, or is within a foreshore scenic protection area.

If your site is within the vicinity of a heritage item or is located within a heritage conservation area, you will need to consider whether your proposed development will affect the heritage significance of the heritage item/s or heritage conservation areas. If your site is within a foreshore scenic protection area, you must ensure that your development protects and improves the visual qualities of the coastal area.

State Environmental Planning Policy (BASIX)

If the cost of your proposed works is $50,000 or more, you will need to submit a BASIX certificate with your application. Please refer to the BASIX website for more information.

State Environmental Planning Policy No. 71 (Coastal Protection)

This State Environmental Planning Policy applies to all land within the Coastal zone as defined by the Coastal Protection Act 1979. It aims to protect and manage the natural, cultural, recreational and economic attributes of the NSW coast. If your site is located within a coastal zone, you will need to consider the requirements of SEPP No. 71 when preparing your DA.

Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP)

The  is applicable to your development as it contains Council's requirements for the design and layout of residential that development

The key matters that should be considered when designing your alterations and additions are:

  • Context - your design should consider the streetscape, the desired character of the neighbourhood, and the prevailing site conditions.Your proposal should not be visually obtrusive or adversely affect neighbours.
  • Height and Scale - your proposal should not be excessive in height or scale.
  • Setbacks - additions should maintain established setbacks and ensure that adjoining dwellings have adequate access to light and air.
  • Privacy - your proposal should not result in direct overlooking of adjoining sites.
  • Landscaping - your proposal should retain sufficient landscaped area for outdoor recreational use, stormwater management and aesthetic appeal.
  • Views - additions should allow for fair sharing of views (i.e. not unreasonably block views from neighbouring sites).
  • Solar access - your proposal should optimise solar access opportunities and not result in any unreasonable overshadowing.

The Randwick Comprehensive DCP 2013 contains objectives and controls. Applications are assessed on how well they achieve the objectives and controls of the DCP.

Your statement of environmental effects (refer to step 3) should demonstrate how the objectives and controls are being achieved through your design. Proposals are expected to comply with the numerical controls in this DCP. Any proposed variation from the controls may be considered only where the applicant successfully demonstrates that an alternative solution could result in a more desirable planning and urban design outcome. This ensures that the DCP guidance has sufficient flexibility to recognise that every property has different characteristics based on their unique combination of site conditions, size, aspect and location. The context and site analysis will be critical in demonstrating the need for any variation to the numerical controls.


If your alterations and additions involve the construction of additional bedrooms, you may be required to provide additional parking spaces. Parking should be provided in accordance with Section B.7 of the DCP for Transport, traffic, parking and access.

Guidelines, council policies and other site specific considerations

Preservation of Trees and Vegetation - If there are any trees (covered by Council's Preservation of Trees and Vegetation) that may be affected by your proposed works; Council's Landscape Development Officer will inspect the site and determine whether the impact on the tree is acceptable. You may also be asked to prepare an Aborist's report to assess the potential impacts of the development.

Flooding - If your site is located in an area that may be subject to flooding, your development must be designed with suitable freeboards; and must not obstruct any drainage easements or flow paths. For more information about flooding controls, please refer to Council's Flooding Advice and Flood Related Development Controls Policy,  or contact Council's Development Engineers.

Construction near stormwater pipes - Your additions should not be located over any drainage easements or stormwater pipes. If your proposal is located near a stormwater line, please contact Council's development engineers to discuss your proposal.

Construction near sewer lines - If your proposal involves construction over or near a sewer, please refer to the Sydney Water website to obtain the requirements for construction near a sewer.

Planning certificates - A Planning Certificate (issued under Section 149 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act) provides formal advice on land zoning and planning controls applicable to your site.

Step 2: Prepare Plans and Drawings

The following plans may be required:

  • Site Analysis Plan
  • Scaled Plans and Elevations
  • Notification plans (A4)
  • Survey Plan
  • Drainage Plan (if changes to onsite drainage proposed)
  • Shadow diagram (if second storey additions proposed)
  • Streetscape elevation (if required by Council)

Note: Plan requirements may vary depending on the scope of your proposal

Step 3: Prepare a Statement of Environmental Effects

The following headings may be used to provide the framework for your statement of environmental effects (SEE).

  • Details of proposal
  • Assessment against relevant plans and policies
    • Randwick Local Environmental Plan 1998 (Consolidation)
    • Dwellings and Attached Dual Occupancies DCP*
    • Parking DCP
    • Tree preservation order
    • Flooding Advice and Flood Related Development Controls Policy
    • Other (e.g. SEPP (BASIX), SEPP No. 71)
  • Access and Traffic
  • Drainage

*To show how your proposal satisfies the objectives and performance requirements contained in the Dwelling Houses and Attached Dual Occupancies DCP, you may download a Sample compliance table - Alterations and additions to dwellings PDF, 35.79 KB (pdf 36 kb) for inclusion in your SEE.

The following supplementary reports/details may also be required:

  • Heritage impact assessment report
  • Flood study
  • Hydraulic report
  • Geotechnical report
  • Construction and demolition waste management plan
  • Schedule of colours and finishes
  • Asbestos survey

For more information on the supplementary reports, please refer to supplementary report requirements.

Step 4: Complete an application form

You will need to complete an application form & check list PDF, 346.16 KB and a  cost  summary report PDF, 170.76 KB.

The cost summary report must be prepared in accordance with Council's S94A Development Contributions Plan. If the cost of your development is $500,000 or more, a detailed cost report will need to be prepared by a Registered Quantity Surveyor.

The application form must be signed by all land owners and the applicant.

Note: Section 94 or Section 94A Development Contributions may be payable for your development.

Step 5: Lodge the DA with Council

The development application must be lodged with the applicable DA fee. Please contact us to obtain a fee quote.

You may lodge your DA directly with Council at our administration building or by online services. A Council Officer will use the Development Application checklist form to check your application. Council will only accept a DA with all necessary information.

You are required to submit:

  • One (1) copy of the completed DA form and checklist
  • One (1) copy of the cost summary report
  • Two (2) copies of the A4 Notification plans
  • Three (3) copies of the Survey Plan
  • Six (6) copies of all other plans.
    Note:  For alterations and additions to existing buildings, 3 of the copies must be coloured to highlight the area of work being proposed
  • Six (6) copies of the SEE and other supporting documentation

Additional sets of plans and SEE's will be required if your application requires referral to any external agencies (e.g. Roads and Maritime Services, Heritage Office, Police, etc)

Download a  Sample Compliance table - alterations and additions to dwellings PDF, 35.79 KB(pdf 94kb)  that may be included in your DA submission.

Last Updated: 25 October 2022
Back to top