Exempt Development was introduced to NSW in 1993 and allows certain low-impact forms of development to be undertaken without going through the rigorous approvals process. In recent years, the Department of Planning has attempted to promote awareness of exempt development; both exempt development and the similar streamlined-approval process of Complying Development are seen as tools to reduce the demands of numerous development applications. Exempt development is governed by the SEPP, which lists the different forms of exempt development and the specific requirements of each.
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If you live in New South Wales and have been involved with a building and construction project costing more than $25,000, then you may be familiar with the Long Service levy. Those who are unfamiliar with the levy are often unsure of why the levy exists, whether they are required to pay it or not, and how much it costs. This guide should answer most of your questions about the Long Service levy and will provide you with links to official resources where you can find further information.
A Development Application (DA) is a formal application submitted to your local consent authority (Council) for permission to carry out a new development. This could be as simple as building a new pool and deck, tree removal, constructing a garage or carport in your home, or adding additional rooms to your existing home. More complex projects that require a DA approval may include things such as dual occupancy and multi dwelling developments, subdivision, residential flat buildings, or a change of use for a commercial premise.
All residential building work involving a new home or a renovation to a new home requires a building approval. A building approval must be obtained before any building work can start. Getting building approval normally involves plans and details being given to council, or a private building survey. The information provided generally includes a detailed plan of how the home will be built, the technical details of the construction (including all the materials to be used), and which Building Code of Australia requirements (BCA) will need to be met.
The introduction of new development reforms to create more affordable housing and investment opportunities across NSW has renewed interest in secondary dwellings, commonly known as granny flats. You will require building approval for your secondary dwelling project where there are two ways to gain this approval. You can lodge a full Development Application (DA) with your local council which is a process that can generally take a number of months. A Construction Certificate (CC) can then be issued by Council or a Private Certifier before construction can commence.
The NSW Government has committed to delivering more diverse housing to meet the needs of a growing and changing population. It is also committed to promoting more ‘missing middle’ development, such as low-rise dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces as complying development in 2018. A number of council’s were given an extension at the time this was introduced as they were opposed to some content and raised concerns.
On 5 June 2020, the federal government announced an extraordinary scheme to stimulate the economy by giving people $25,000 to renovate their homes or build a new house. These grants are available for renovation works that cost between $150,000 and $750,000 and for new homes valued at less than $750,000. Renovations must improve the ‘liveability’ of the home, meaning that external non-essentials such as: swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, and detached sheds or garages do not meet the criteria.