What is 'development'?

Development in NSW is regulated by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the "Act") and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. The Act defines 'development' as:

  • use of land;
  • subdivision of land;
  • erection of a building;
  • carrying out of a work;
  • demolition of a building or work; and
  • any other act, matter or thing that is controlled by an environmental planning instrument (eg. Ordinance, LEP, SEPP).

If your proposal falls within the definition of 'development', it must comply with the requirements of the Act.

Is my development permissible?

An environmental planning instrument (eg. LEP) manages the use of land through zoning which either permits or prohibits a development. Your development must be permitted by the property's zoning. If it is permitted, identify whether it requires development consent or not.

How to identify zoning

Do I need development consent?

Generally speaking, the Act specifies three classifications of development which determines whether a development requires development consent or not. Simply identify which classification will lawfully permit your development.

Exempt development - consent not required (self assessment)

Minor works or a change of use of premises with minimal environmental impact may not require development consent.

Complying development - consent required (approval in 20 days or less)

Building works or change of use of premises with greater environmental impact may be eligible for a fast approval from Council or accredited Certifier.

Development application - consent required

If your development is not classified as exempt or complying development, it is likely that a development application is required to be submitted to Council for approval.