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NSW Housing Code - Exempt and Complying Development


The NSW Housing Code is part of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP). 
The NSW Housing Code is made up of the Exempt Development Code, the General Housing Code and the Housing Internal Alterations Code, all of which are contained in the Codes SEPP. 
The NSW Housing Code has been introduced to:

  • Simplify the planning process for new houses and alterations and additions to existing homes
  • Allow general home developments to be approved in 20 days or less.

It outlines types of development that can proceed as either complying or exempt development.

Complying Development

Developments that can proceed as complying development include:

  • Detached single and two-storey dwellings
  • Housing extensions for single and two storey houses
  • Other ancillary development such as swimming pools.

Some of the conditions are:

  • Not in a draft heritage conservation area or heritage conservation area unless the development is a detached outbuilding or swimming pool
  • Not on land that comprises a draft heritage item or a heritage item
  • Land that is reserved for a public purpose
  • Land in a foreshore area
  • Not on land identified on an Acid Sulfate Soils Map as being Class 1 or Class 2.

Proposals which satisfy the Code may receive approval from an accredited certifier within 20 days.

Categories of Complying Development

General Housing Code 

This section of the NSW Housing Code outlines how typical new detached dwelling houses, house alterations and additions and ancillary developments can be approved within 10 days by a council or private accredited certifier, if the code is followed. 
For more information visit NSW Legislation – General Housing Code.

Housing Internal Alterations Code 

This section of the NSW Housing Code outlines how internal alterations to an existing dwelling house can proceed as complying development without regard to the development standards contained within the General Housing Code. A reduced set of land based exclusions also apply to the Housing Internal Alterations Code as there is no additional environmental impact arising from alterations contained within the existing dwelling. 
For more information visit NSW Legislation – Housing Internal Alterations Code

General Commercial and Industrial Code 

This section of the Codes SEPP outlines minor external building alterations, internal alterations and certain change of use proposals. 
For more information visit NSW Legislation – General Commercial and Industrial Code.

Exempt Development

The NSW Housing Code specifies the types of minor developments that can proceed as exempt development. It typically covers small scale structures such as:

  • Garden sheds and carports
  • Balconies, decks and verandahs
  • Pergolas and fences
  • Solar hot water heaters and rainwater tanks
  • Fixed barbeques.

Exempt development means that, subject to satisfying pre-specified standards, there is no need for planning and construction approval to be obtained.

However, for some exempt development types:

  • Approval may be required under other legislation
  • Special factors apply such as the land use zone in which your property is located, heritage and environmental considerations.
Last updated on 18 September 2020