Exempt & Complying Development

1. Exempt Development

Exempt development is minor work that has little environmental impact. It can be done without approval. 

Exempt development can be carried out in most parts of the Byron Shire, except for:

  • some environmentally sensitive land
  • bushfire prone land 
  • national parks
  • some land containing heritage items.

Most exempt development in NSW is controlled by the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (known as the Codes SEPP). 

List of exempt development types

The NSW Department of Planning lists development types that can be carried out without approval.

View exempt development types

If your development is not exempt

If your development doesn't qualify as an exempt development, you may be able to apply for either a complying development certificate or for development consent. 

2. Complying Development

Some residential, commercial and industrial development can be constructed as complying development. A proposal must:

  • Meet development standards such as height limits, floor space ratio, distances to boundaries.
  • Comply with the Building Code of Australia.

Complying Development can be approved by a Council or a privately accredited certifier.

To qualify for complying development your land must not have characteristics described in Clause 1.17A, Clause 1.18 and Clause 1.19 of the Codes SEPP.

View complying development types.

Complying Developments must be determined within a statutory time-frame of:

  • 20 days for complying development which requires neighbour notification; or 
  • 10 days for all other complying developments. 

The applicant is responsible for making sure that the proposed development meets all of the Complying Development requirements under the State or Local Codes. Council and Accredited Certifiers have no discretionary authority when it comes to complying development. 

Complying Development codes

There are currently nine Complying Development Codes under the Codes SEPP. These codes are provided in the table below with a short description. For more information visit Complying Development page on the NSW Planning Portal. 

Complying Development Codes Description
General Housing Code Includes construction of single and 2 storey dwelling houses and ancillary development.
Rural Housing Code Includes alterations and additions to existing houses and ancillary development in rural zones.
Housing Alterations Code Includes internal and external alterations and additions to existing dwelling houses.
General Development Code Includes development standards for other development types (e.g. Bed and Breakfast accommodation, and home businesses involving the manufacture of food).
Commercial and Industrial Alterations Code Includes internal building alterations, change of use proposals, mechanical ventilation systems, shop front and awning alterations.
Commercial and Industrial (New buildings and additions) Code Includes additions to existing buildings in commercial and industrial zones and the construction of new buildings.
Subdivisions Code Includes development standards for strata subdivision of existing buildings (other than dual occupancies).
Demolition Code Outlines the development standards for demolition.
Fire Safety Code Outlines the fire safety measures which can be undertaken as complying development

Complying Development Certificate

A complying development certificate:

  • is a combined development and construction approval in one certificate
  • states that the proposed development will comply with all relevant development standards and requirements
  • contains prescribed conditions under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000 and conditions of approval under the relevant Code in the Codes SEPP. 

Council's Building Certification team can guide you through the certification process. 

Call our Development Support Officers on 02 6626 7025  for advice on whether or not your proposal needs development consent or some other form of approval, or email DSO@byron.nsw.gov.au.