Types of development and applications

Exempt development

Exempt development is minor work that has low environmental impact and be be carried out without approval, as long as it meets predetermined development standards.

Exempt development cannot be carried out in some circumstances. For example, if it is in an environmentally sensitive area, on bush fire prone land or within a heritage area.

Within Lake Macquarie City, exempt development is identified in:

It is the landowner's responsibility to check all the provisions relating to exempt development and meet the specified development standards and land requirements.

It is important to note that the proposed development may still require an approval, licence, permit or authority under other legislation.

Refer to the NSW Planning Portal for further information.

Complying development

Certain residential, commercial and industrial development may be constructed as complying development, as long as all relevant development standards are met and the development complies with the Building Code of Australia.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) identifies the types of development that are classified as complying development.

For your development to be considered to be complying development, your land must not have the characteristics described in Clause 1.17A, Clause 1.18 and Clause 1.19 of the Codes SEPP.

Council can issue a Planning Certificate - Section 10.7(2) and (5) to show whether complying development under the Codes SEPP can be carried out on a particularly piece of land.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the proposed development meets all the complying development requirements. Council and accredited private certifiers cannot issue a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is the development does not strictly meet these requirements.

Our Duty Building Officer can assist you with any questions you may have regarding the CDC process. Alternatively, you can visit the NSW Planning Portal for further information on complying development

Local development

If the development if not exempt or complying, then development consent will be required.

Local Development is the most common type of development in Lake Macquarie. A development is considered to be local development if:

  • Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014 or a State Environmental Planning Policy states that development consent is required before the development can occur
  • it is not considered to be either a regionally or state-signficant development

To obtain development consent, you will need to lodge a Development Application (DA) with Council.

If construction works are proposed as part of the development, you can apply for a Construction Certificate at the same time as your DA or once the DA has been approved.

Integrated development

Some development proposals require approval from another public authority before development consent can be granted by Council.

Integrated development proposals require development consent and one or more of the approvals listed in Section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Council must not approve the Development Application (DA) if the agency recommends refusal. If the advice is not received within a specific time period, Council can determine the DA.

Visit the NSW Planning Portal for further information on integrated development.

Nominated integrated development

Nominated integrated development is integrated development that requires an approval under separate legislation as referenced in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Nominated integrated development has additional implication for Council, mainly with respect to the public exhibition process. For the applicant, additional fees will apply for advertising the application, the advertising of which can be up to 30 days.

Regionally-significant development

Regionally-significant development is defined in Schedule 7 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011. It must be notified and assessed by Council, then determined by the relevant Joint Regional Planning Panel.

Designated development

Designated development are generally development that are likely to have a high impact or are located in or near environmentally sensitive areas. A development can be categorised as designated development by:

A development application for a designated development must:

  • be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • be publicly advertised for a specific period of time
  • can be the subject of an appeal to the Land and Environment Court by objectors

State-significant development

Developments that are deemed to have state significance due to their size, economic value or potential impacts are identified in State Environment Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011.

State-significant developments are determined by either the Minister for Planning or the Independent Planning Commission. For further information on state-significant development, refer to the NSW Planning Portal.

Development Application

A Development Application (DA) is a formal request for consent to carry out a proposed development such as:

  • carrying out building, earthworks, landscaping and other works
  • demolishing a structure
  • changing the use of land
  • subdividing land or strata subdividing buildings
  • adjusting property boundaries

You must lodge a DA and have it approved before you can begin work on your development.

Modification Application

A Modification Application is a formal request to modify an approved development under Section 4.55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

There are three categories that a modification of consent may fall into:

  • 4.55(1) minor error mis-description or miscalculation
  • 4.55(1A) minimal environmental impact
  • 4.55(2) other modification where the modified development is substantially the same development as the development that was granted consent

To modify consent, you must complete the Modification Application Form and lodge this along with the relevant plans to the consent authority.

If the proposed modification does not fall into one of the above categories, you must lodge a new Development Application.

Construction Certificate

A Construction Certificate (CC) certifies that the design and construction material used in a development complies with the Building Code of Australia and associated standards and codes, and the development is consistent with your Development Application.

A CC is issued by a private certifier or Council and must be obtained before starting any building or construction work.

An application for a CC will usually be lodged after your Development Application (DA) is approved or, in some cases, can be submitted at the same time as you lodge your DA.

Our Lake Mac Planning and Building Services team can assess your CC.

Subdivision Certificate

Most forms of subdivision require approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A Subdivision Certificate (SC):

  • certifies that the plan of subdivision has been completed in accordance with the relevant development consent or complying development certificate (in the case of complying development)
  • authorises the registration of the plan of subdivision with NSW Land and Property Information

A SC is issued by the relevant certifying authority, which in most cases is Council.

If you're lodging with Council, you will be required to complete an Application for a Subdivision Certificate.

For further information on Subdivision Certificates, including the role of the certifying authority and documentation to be submitted with a SC, visit the NSW Planning Portal or refer to our subdivision fact sheet.

Strata Subdivision Certificate

Strata subdivision allows for the subdivision of land into separate lots and common property under the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015. This subdivision can be vertically, within a building, as well as horizontally, on a block. Strata is the most commonly used form of subdivision for residential apartments and townhouses. It is also used for commercial offices, industrial developments and retirement villages.

You can apply online for Strata Subdivision Certificate.

Complying Development Certificate

A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is an approval issued by either Council or a private certifier. A CDC can only be issued for certain development that meets relevant prescribed development standards and complies with the Building Code of Australia. No building or construction work can occur before a CDC is issued.

If you're lodging with Council, you will be required to complete an Application for Complying Development Certificate.

Occupation Certificate

Before you can reside in a building, you must obtain an Occupation Certificate (OC) from Council. An OC certifies a building's compliance with relevant building codes and other laws, and indicates it is in a condition suitable for occupancy.

Building Information Certificate

A Building Information Certificate (BIC) is usually sought by buyers or sellers of a property who want to make sure that a particular building (or part of a building) can remain as is for a period of time without regulatory action being taken by Council. Often a BIC is requested when work has been undertaken with the appropriate approvals being issued by Council or a private certifier.

A BIC does not prevent Council from issuing notices and orders in relation to unauthorised work or fire safety matters. It does not certify that the building complies with all the legal and safety requirements relating to swimming pool barriers and fencing, fire safety and other public health matters.

You can apply for a BIC online.