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Complying Development Housing Alterations Guide

Simplifying the complying development process for housing alterations in NSW and Sydney. 

The complying development process refers to a streamlined planning and building approval pathway available in most parts of Sydney and New South Wales. It aims to expedite the approval process for straightforward development projects that meet specific predetermined standards and criteria. The process is designed to provide a quicker and more efficient alternative to the traditional development application process.

This complying development guide will help demystify and guide you through the complying development legislation and rules.

 

The complying development process

Although it is a streamlined building approval process, the complying development approval process from start to finish can still be confusing at times.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide to help you understand it all.

A breakdown of the complying development process, from start to finish →

 

Working out whether complying development is possible

There are plenty of reasons why a complying development approval is not allowed on your lot of land. Below is a list of the most common problems that will prevent your complying development approval in Sydney:

  • Heritage and heritage conservation – if the land is located in a heritage area or heritage conservation area
  • Unsewered land – if the lot is located on unsewered land

 

Want to learn more? Here is a NSW government guide to provide additional complying development certificate  information →

 

The complying development design requirements

When using the complying development building approval pathway, you must comply with all the applicable rules and clauses. If you do not comply with a particular clause, complying development is not possible.

For a housing alterations complying development approval, you should be reviewing the clauses listed below and ensure the architectural plans and all other documentation address and comply with the following clauses:

 

The information you need on architectural plans

The following is a general guide that outlines the information that should be detailed within the complying development certificate architectural plans. All plans must be specific to the subject building, cover the entire scope of the building work and should include:

All Plans

    • A title block that includes the project address, lot details, drawing revisions and numbers
    • A key for abbreviations, colouring and hatchings and a north point
    • All BASIX design commitments [if the cost of works is $50,000 or more]
    • Clearly indicate the new and existing works
    • Compliance with the Complying Development State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP)
    • Compliance with the building code of Australia (BCA)
    •  

    Site Plan

    • The location of the proposed and existing building/s
    • Identification of the proposed building elements and the existing building elements
    • Setbacks and boundaries
    • Lot size
    • Lot dimensions
    • Existing ground levels
    • Existing vegetation and buildings on the site
    • Easements
    •  

    Floor Plans

    • Reduced levels and proposed finished floor levels
    • Intended use of each room
    • Dimensions of rooms and balconies
    • Dimensions of walls and structural elements
    • Internal and external wall construction, including details of any sound insulation, fire resistance of the like
    • Locations of door and window openings
    • Layouts of rooms within a building and location of the bathroom, laundry and kitchen fixtures.
    •  

    Elevation Plans

      • Dimensioned heights, including the overall height;
      • Existing ground levels;
      • Proposed external materials
      • Proposed finished floor and ceiling heights
      • Floor-to-ceiling heights
      • Location and sizes of window and door openings
      •  

      Section Plan

        • Dimensioned heights, including the overall height
        • Existing ground levels
        • Proposed finished floor and ceiling heights
        • Floor-to-ceiling heights
        •  
        •  
        •  

        Explanations about the other documentation needed

         

        Section 10.7 Planning Certificate

        A Section 10.7 Planning Certificate is a legal document that confirms the zoning and applicable rules for the development of your property. You can purchase a planning certificate from your local council website.

        BASIX Certificate

        A BASIX certificate assesses the environmental impact of a building, focusing on energy efficiency, water usage, and thermal comfort. The certificate ensures that new constructions meet sustainable standards and contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

         

        Building Specification

        Many design decisions and building details cannot be expressed in graphic form and therefore instead need to rely upon the text. Details and design decisions that cannot be shown on plans may be detailed in a building specification which complements the plans.

         

        Engineering Plans & Documentation

        Most complying development projects require some plans and documentation from different specialist engineers and consultants. The documents that may be required are:

          • Structural engineering plans
          • Structural engineering design certificate
          • Structural adequacy certificate
          • Stormwater engineering plans
          • Stormwater engineering design certificate
          •  
          •  

          Certificate of Title

          A certificate of title confirms the official ownership of land. It also confirms if any easements and positive covenants are present on the lot. You can purchase the certificate of title from any of these documentation brokers.

          88B Instrument

          If the certificate of title confirms either an easement or positive covenant is present on the lot, a 88B instrument and deposited plan must be purchased to provide further details about the easement and/or positive covenant. You can purchase the 88B instrument from any of these documentation brokers.

          Deposited Plan

          If the certificate of title confirms either an easement or positive covenant is present on the lot, a deposited plan must be purchased to provide further details about the easement and/or positive covenant. You can purchase a deposited plan from any of these documentation brokers.

          Long Service Levy Receipt

          The long service levy is applied to all NSW building and construction projects of $250,000 or more (inc. GST). The current rate is 0.25% of the total cost of the work. You can calculate the long service levy amount here.

           

          Acoustic report

          Only required if the Planning Certificate confirms the lot is within an ANEF 20 to 25 contours, meaning within close proximity to air traffic. The acoustic report is required to be prepared by an acoustic engineer. The report will need to detail methods on how the design can comply with AS2021:2015 – Acoustics—Aircraft noise intrusion—Building siting and construction.

          We hope you like this guidance.

          – Darook Private Certifiers Tea

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