Complying Development

What is Complying Development?

Complying Development is a form of development that is small scale, low impact and can be approved either by Council or registered private certifier within a prescribed number of days from lodgement.

The certificate of approval for the development is known as a 'complying development certificate', which:

  • Approves the use of the property for that purpose, and
  • Enables building work to commence on the property.

The complying development certificate (CDC) is valid for 5 years from the date endorsed on the CDC. The CDC will not lapse if the approved development has been physically commenced before the CDC has expired.

Who can I make an application for a complying development certificate with?

An application for a CDC can be made with the local Council or a registered private certifier.

What legislation creates complying development?

Unlike an approval issued under a normal development application process, complying development has a predetermined set of development standards, outcomes and conditions.

There are generally two main policies applicable to complying development:

  1. State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP), and
  2. State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021 (the Housing SEPP) which specifies development under that policy for secondary dwellings.

The NSW Planning Portal can provide further information. Otherwise you can contact the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's Information Centre on 1300 305 695.

What if my proposal does not comply with all requirements?

A complying development proposal is required to strictly adhere to the relevant provisions of the applicable SEPP. There is no ability to vary standards or rules for proposals to be assessed as complying development.

For this purpose, it is important to ensure that with every application for a complying development certificate, a statement is included with the application nominating which SEPP the application should be assessed under to be deemed complying development.

As there are no merit based considerations, your application (plans and supporting documents) will need to be very detailed and will need to provide clear and concise evidence of compliance with each of the requirements of the relevant SEPP (or relevant Council policies).

Can I seek advice on whether my proposal can be considered complying development prior to the making of a complying development certificate application?

Unless there is absolute certainty, you should always seek advice on whether your proposal can be considered as complying development.

A development proposal can not be considered as complying development if:

  • The proposal does not strictly comply with all the requirements of the relevant complying development policy; or
  • The provisions allowing complying development do not apply to the land on which the development is proposed.

In the case that one or both of the above scenarios were revealed through the assessment of your complying development certificate application, the consent authority would not be able to approve the application.

If the proposal can not be considered as complying development, it may be the case that the proposal can be assessed under a full development application instead.

Please refer to the NSW Planning Portal to see if your proposal can be considered as complying development.

Complying Development Statement

The following statement must be completed and submitted with your application as evidence that you have made every effort to ensure that your application is complying development.

Can I appeal against a decision to refuse my complying development application?

Unlike a development proposal assessed under a full development application, in the case of complying development, the applicant has no Right of Appeal against the decision made by consent authority nor does the applicant have any right of appeal against a consent authority's failure to approve or refuse to issue a CDC.