Alterations to units

Alterations to a residential unit

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) will 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) 2008, they may be undertaken without consent from Council.

Complying development

Most internal alterations that are not exempt development will meet the criteria for 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 proposed alterations do 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 unit is within a heritage item or 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 to a residential unit.

Step 1: Seek information

You should consider the following documents when preparing you DA:

Randwick Local Environmental Plan 2012

The Randwick Local Environmental 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 area. 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.

The RLEP also details the principal development standards (such as floor space ratio and building height) that are applicable to your site.

Provided that your alterations do not alter the building height, change the floor area or change the landscaped area, there is no need to provide a detailed assessment against these development standards.

State Environmental Planning Policy (BASIX)

If the cost of your alterations 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. All details listed on the BASIX certificate must be included on the submitted plans.

Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP)

The Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP) is applicable to your development as it contains Council's requirements for the design and layout of residential flat development.

Any external alterations to your unit should be compatible with the rest of the residential flat building. The piecemeal enclosure of balconies on buildings is strongly discouraged.

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.

Design Guidelines and Council Policies

Balcony enclosures are generally not supported. Please refer to Council's Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP) for more details.

The Residential Flat Design Code (available on the Planning NSW website) contains valuable tools for improving the design of residential flat buildings.

Council has also prepared a booklet titled Design Ideas for Rejuvenating Residential Flat Buildings PDF, 5021.27 KB which contains useful information on how to improve the amenity of existing units.

Building Code of Australia (BCA)

If your unit building does not currently comply with the BCA, you may be required to undertake upgrade works as part of your application.

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 will be required:

  • Scaled Plans and Elevations
  • Notification plans (A4)

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 the Randwick Local Environmental Plan, any relevant State Environmental Planning Policies, Development Control Plans, and Council Policies
    • Randwick Local Environmental Plan
      • Demonstrate how your proposal complies with the objectives of your zone
      • Assess your proposal against any relevant development standards
      • If your site is within the vicinity of a heritage item or is located within a heritage conservation area, you will need to consider the affect of the proposed development on the heritage significance of the heritage item/heritage conservation area.
      • 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.
    • Randwick Comprehensive DCP
      • Demonstrate how your proposal will complement the existing building and not be visually obtrusive or adversely affect neighbours
      • Show how your proposal satisfies the objectives and performance requirements contained in the DCP
    • Other
      • Assess your proposal against any other relevant controls (e.g. SEPP (BASIX), BCA, relevant guidelines)

The following supplementary reports/details may also be required:

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

For more information please refer to the supplementary reports requirement.

Step 4: Complete an application form

You will need to complete an application form & checklist 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.

The application form must be signed by the landowner/s and by you as the applicant.  If the owner is a company or owners' association (body corporate), the application must be signed by an authorized person under seal.

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
  • 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)

Last Updated: 24 October 2022
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