Exempt and complying development

Some development types may be nominated as exempt or complying development by the State Government and do not require the submission of a development application and development consent. 

Exempt Development


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

Exempt development can be carried out in most parts of the Byron Shire Local Government Area, except for some environmentally sensitive land, national parks and some land containing heritage items. In many cases a particular development will be prevented from being an exempt development because of its location in environmentally sensitive areas, or in bushfire prone land, or for other reasons.

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

Development exempt under Codes SEPP

The NSW Department of Planning lists development types that can be carried out without approval under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

View exempt development types

Visit State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 for more information and a summary of the development standards and requirements for each development type.

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. 

Complying Development

Some residential, commercial and industrial development can be constructed as complying development. A proposal must meet all of the relevant development standards nominated (such as height limits, floor space ratio, distances to boundaries), and 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. 

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the proposed development achieves all of the Complying Development requirements stipulated under the State or Local Codes. Council and Accredited Certifiers have no discretionary authority when it comes to complying development. 

There are currently nine (9) Complying Development Codes under the Codes SEPP,  these include:

General Housing Code

includes construction of single and two(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 7050 for advice on whether or not your proposal needs development consent or some other form of approval, or email DSO@byron.nsw.gov.au.