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What is a Complying Development Certificate?

For many types of building work, owners do not require applicants to submit a full development application to the local council.

A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward developments. A CDC can be approved when a proposed development complies with pre-determined development standards set under State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP). This process allows a fast-track assessment by a certifying authority, which may be either Council or an Accredited Certifier. The purpose of this certificate is to receive assurance that the building works will comply with all relevant legislation and building standards.

Development Certificate

Complying Development Standards

Where proposed building works are more significant than what Exempt Development allows, an approval under Complying Development may be appropriate. Unless development meets the criteria for Exempt Development, an approval must be issued before starting any work.

The first step in lodging an application for Complying Development is to determine whether any planning controls apply to the land which may exclude venturing down the CDC pathway. A Section 10.7 Planning Certificate can be obtained from your local Council or from the NSW Planning Portal. The 10.7 Planning Certificate outlines any planning controls or restrictions which apply to the land, and which SEPP’s can be used to assess the proposed development.

Where the land is determined suitable for Complying Development, the proposed development must be assessed against the requirements of a SEPP, and all works must comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. Approval under Complying Development does not override private covenants or similar legal instruments. For example, a covenant that requires a specific construction material, or that limits building heights, continues to apply to the land.

Development Certificate

Defining a Complying Development

The complying development process can apply to residential homes and commercial businesses, as well as industrial development.

If a building project meets all of the requirements for Complying Development, your approval can be issued much quicker, as a full Development Application (DA) from your local Council will not be required. Once all of the necessary paperwork has been submitted, your approval will be issued much faster than if a Development Application (DA) and Construction Certificate (CC) had been required.

In metropolitan areas, neighbour notification for some applications may be required before an approval can be issued.

Complying developments are also subject to conditions of approval to protect surrounding uses during the construction period and throughout the life of the complying development.

Some examples of projects which may be approved as Complying Development include: 

  • One or two storey homes, including alterations and additions

  • Granny flats or secondary dwellings

  • Swimming pools or residential sheds

  • Demolition of a building

  • Industrial buildings

  • Commercial building alterations and additions

  • Shop fitouts

  • First use or change of use

  • Establishing a home-based enterprise

  • Strata subdivision

It is important to know that owners can often make significant cost and time savings when following the Complying Development pathway, where approvals can often be issued in as little as 5 – 20 days.

Development Certificate

Want More Information?

The team at Buildcert is well equipped with the knowledge and expertise to discuss the potential for your project to be approved as Complying Development, or to answer any specific queries you may have.

Contact Buildcert on 1300 457 400 to speak with our friendly staff.

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