What type of approval do I need to make alterations or additions to a house?

Before doing any alterations or additions to a house you may need to lodge an application with council. Below are the 3 types of applications that alterations or additions to a house could fall under.

Exempt Development

Exempt Development is development of minimal environmental impact and does not require a any approval from council if it fully satisfies the criteria provided in the LEP and the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt & Complying Development Codes) 2008.

To find out if your alterations or additions to your house are exempt development head to the NSW Planning Portal.

Complying Development

Is development that is considered to have low environmental impact and fits a set of pre-determined standards.

If you meet the requirements for Complying Development you do not need a Development Application or Construction Certificate.

The standards for Complying Development are set out by the State Government in the “State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (SEPP).  The Policy sets the standards for development.  If you fit the set standards you may seek consent for your development by lodging an Application for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC).
The SEPP outlines the standards for the following types of development:

  • Alterations and additions to dwelling houses
  • Garages
  • New dwelling houses
  • Swimming pools & spas
  • Bed & breakfast accommodation
  • Demolition

There are other state policies (SEPPs) that allow for complying development, such as Affordable Housing and Infrastructure, more information about these SEPPs and Complying Development in general is available from the NSW Planning & Environment or contact Council’s Customer Service Team for further information.
For further information on whether your development meets these requirements head to the NSW Planning Portal.

Development Application

A Development Application (DA) is a merit based assessment using council's Development Control Plan. For more information on how to lodge a Development Application, see Development Applications under related pages.

Construction Certificate

A Construction Certificate is the approval required to undertake building/construction work and follow the issue of a Development Consent a Construction Certificate must be obtained before work commences.  Construction Certificates cannot be issued retrospective of the work and penalties for unapproved building work may be applied.

A Construction Certificate certifies that the construction plans and specifications for the development are consistent with the approved Development Consent and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

For more information see Development Applications or Construction Certificates under related pages.

Local Government Act Approval for Plumbing Works

A Local Government Act approval is the approval required to commence and carry out plumbing and stormwater works and must be obtained before work commences.

Application for approval can be made by completing the Combined Development Application/Construction Certificate form (Section 3) and ticking the relevant boxes for water or sewage works. An application must be accompanied by relevant plans and information. All plumbing and/or drainage works must be undertaken by an appropriately licensed and qualified plumber.

Can I make changes to my approved plans?

Yes you can.

Modification of an approved development may require further assessment (of the changes proposed). In turn this may require re-notification of the proposal to allow neighbours and the community to comment on the proposed changes. It is recommended that you discuss any changes with a Council Building / Planning Officer as soon as you realise a need for any changes to the approved plans.

IMPORTANT: You must not proceed with any unauthorised changes until they have been properly assessed and approved.

Building and Planning Advice

Council building and planning officers are available to discuss any proposed development and provide advice that should be considered during the design phase.

To allow the officer to complete a preliminary check of issues relating to the site please book your meeting at least 24 hours in advance. When booking please provide the following information:

  • The full street address and suburb of the property.
  • You name and a contact phone number (should we need to re-schedule)
  • A brief description of your proposal (e.g. "3 lot subdivision", "renovations to house", "new shed in rear yard")
  • Any particular concerns you have already identified.

Council officers are not able to assess a Development Application prior to lodgement and no undertakings or guarantees of approval can be made by Council officers prior to formal assessment of a Application. Pre-lodgement consultation can bring to light issues that may need to be addressed prior to lodgement, saving you time. For this reason you should bring a sketch or plan of your proposal to help focus the discussion and as much information/details regarding the proposal.

Once a Development Application is lodged public notification occurs and a detailed assessment of the application is carried out in accordance with the criteria under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

For further information on the development application process, visit the NSW Planning Portal "Your Guide to the DA Process".

Book a meeting

Phone 02 6023 8111 at least 24 hours in advance.

Related forms and guidelines