Wednesday, 19 February 2014 16:58

Complying Development (Commercial & Industrial) - 2014 Changes

Complying development allows for a quick development consent for most dwelling houses in NSW. Approval for development and building consent is granted within 20 days.

On February 22nd, 2014 amendments to the 
State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Codes) 2008, also known as the Codes SEPP, have provided additional commercial and industrial development that can be carried out under the codes. The development must comply with the standards listed in the Code.


Land-based exclusions:
 where lots are only partially affected by a land-based exclusion, complying development can take place on the part of the lot unaffected.

Development on heritage items: where heritage items are clearly mapped and described, complying development can take place on parts of the lot that are not the heritage item. Additionally, development that is enabled by the Codes SEPP and also identified in specific exemptions under the Heritage Act 1977 will be enabled on heritage items.

Suspension of covenants, agreements and instruments: covenants imposed by a council that require compliance with standards which are more stringent than those in the Codes SEPP will not apply to development approved under the Codes SEPP. However covenants imposed by a former owner of the land for specific amenity protection, for example views will continue to apply.

Easement protection: exclusions and development standards will prevent new buildings from being erected over registered easements.

Equivalent zones: modify the provisions for determining equivalent zones to use the zoning stated in any exhibited draft Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan. Savings and transitional provisions for development under SEPP (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 will mean that this new requirement for equivalent zones will also apply to any existing development application which has not been finally determined.

Exclusions and variations: a total of 16 requests from councils for local exclusions and variations have been included in the amendments to the Codes SEPP. These include requests specific to Bathurst, Bega, Holroyd, Lake Macquarie, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Singleton and Tamworth.
Requests from other councils are being addressed by changes to the development standards or terminology of the Codes SEPP that will apply across all local government areas.

Conditions of approval: conditions of approval for complying development under the Codes SEPP have been strengthened to minimise impacts on the environment and to prevent damage to adjoining areas during construction. Conditions applying under each complying development code have been reordered, standardised and are now located in separate schedules at the end of the SEPP. 


This code allows for alterations and the change of use to existing and commercial industrial buildings. This includes all internal fitouts. The Code does not apply to heritage buildings.

Building alterations (internal):  internal building alterations for all uses (excluding residential accommodation, heavy industry, sex services or restricted premises) may now be undertaken as complying development. This provision now covers uses such as clubs, hotels, service stations, schools, private hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical centres amongst others.

Change of use of premises: change of use of a premises for an expanded number of uses such as landscape materials supplies, hardware and building supplies, vehicles sales or hire premises, garden centres, timber yards, packaging industry, medical centre, amusement centre, function centres etc. These uses can only be changed to uses of a similar type which are set out in tables in the SEPP.

First use of premises: approval of a first use and first fitout of a building or tenancy within a building will be allowed as complying development for all uses (excluding funeral homes, sex services, restricted premises, retail premises selling firearms, roadside stalls, markets, food and drink premises with over 50 seats, pub, small bars, entertainment facilities, registered clubs).

Mechanical ventilations systems, shop fronts, awnings, skylights and roof windows: construction, installation or alteration of these building elements are specified as complying development for any building.

Projecting wall signs, freestanding pylon signs and directory board signs: are specified as complying development, as these signs usually require some form of structural certification.

 industrial sign

Ancillary development: development that is ancillary to the main structure/use on the site are allowed as complying, and include structures such as carports, sheds and other types of outbuildings. Specific provisions for earthworks, retaining walls and structural support, driveways, hardstand spaces, pathways and paving and fences are also included in this code.


Industrial buildings: the new code provides for new industrial buildings up to 20,000 or additions to buildings up to 5,000 as complying development. Development that requires clearing of more than 1,000 of native vegetation cannot be complying development under the code.

Commercial buildings: additions to the rear of existing commercial premises up to 50% of the existing floor area, but not more than 1,000m² for retail and 2,500m² for commercial offices and businesses are provided for as complying development.

Development Standards

The maximum floor space ratio (FSR) for industrial and commercial buildings must meet the requirements of the relevant Local Environmental Plan (LEP) or in the case where the LEP does not specify a maximum, an FSR of no more than 1:1.

The maximum height of buildings must meet the requirements of the LEP or if the LEP does not specify a maximum, for industrial buildings no more than 15m and for commercial buildings no more than 12m.

Setbacks from roads, side and rear boundaries will vary depending on the classification of the road and the use of the adjacent site. Larger setbacks are required when adjacent to residential development and no setback is required when adjoining an industrial site.

Other development standards address façade treatment, articulation elements, care-takers flats and mandatory landscaping requirements. Buildings must not be erected over a registered easement.

Car parking and loading requirements based on the controls in council’s DCP will need to be met. Development standards are also specified for garbage and waste, fences, earthworks, drainage, bushfire prone land and flood control lots. Privacy requirements apply when adjacent to residential zones.

The above only provides an outline of the new standards and development that is permissible as complying development. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to discuss your project further.