Wednesday, 19 February 2014 16:57

Exempt Development - 2014 Changes

Exempt development is development that is considered low impact and minor in nature – often referred to as ‘Bunnings development' as you usually carry the work out yourself after the weekend trip to Bunnings.

On February 22nd 2014, amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Codes) 2008, also known as the Codes SEPP, have expanded the type of development that is considered exempt from any planning approvals. The development must comply with the standards listed in the Code.


Rural RU6 zone:
references to this recently introduced zone have been included for most exempt development types.

Designated development: there will no longer be a blanket exclusion for exempt development which is typically of a minor nature and ancillary to existing structures and uses already established on the site. (Designated development is large high impact developments that require an Environmental Impact Statement – such as mines, farming and waste management facilities.)

Heritage restrictions: will not apply to exempt development if the works are to occur on another part of a site not specifically included as part of the heritage listing, or if it is in accordance with exemptions under the Heritage Act 1977.

Environmentally sensitive areas: there will no longer be a blanket exclusion for all exempt development. However restrictions have been retained for certain development types which involve larger buildings or works such as excavation which may disturb the land and cause erosion or affect stormwater runoff.

Easements: will be protected under exempt development types which include larger structures which may potentially restrict access to an easement.

Habitable purposes: are to be excluded on development types which are ancillary or typically associated with farm buildings.


Aerials, antennae and communication dishes: provisions from the Infrastructure SEPP and Codes SEPP have been consolidated to allow up to three aerials, antennae or dishes on a site, but a maximum of one free standing dish up to 1.8 m or mast up to 10m. Restrictions are retained on locations for these on heritage items.


Automatic teller machines: development standards have been relaxed.

Balconies, Decks, patios, pergolas terraces and verandahs: are now permitted on non-domestic properties.

Changes of use: have been expanded to include development types that were similar in nature to those already listed, such as garden centre and kiosks. The new use needs to be permissible and must comply with existing conditions of consent for specified matters. Change of use to places of public worship to another type of place of public worship will be allowed subject to compliance with previous conditions of consent.

Charity bins and recycling bins: not more than three bins associated with commercial or religious premises for recycling and used goods (e.g. clothing) will be allowed behind the building line and must comply with existing conditions of consent for the site. Waste storage containers in a public place will simply require an approval under section 68 Local Government Act 1993.

Driveways and hard stand spaces: existing standards have been consolidated to allow these developments to have site coverage up to 15% or 150. Pathways and paving are also subject to this site coverage limit, and landscaped area requirements must be met.

Earthworks, retaining walls and structural support: the existing standard has been updated to remain consistent with the equivalent complying development type.

Fences: existing standards for fences have been consolidated to include one clause for fences in residential zones, and one for rural and environment protection zones. A new fence type for business and industrial zones is introduced for fences no higher than 3m above ground level. Any masonry fence in a residential, business or industrial zone more than 1.2m in height is specified as complying development for safety reasons.

Footpaths; outdoor dining and mobile food and drink outlets: permits outdoor dining on public footpaths and the sale of food and drink in public places where a Section 68 Local Government Act 1993 and/or a Section 125 Roads Act 1997 approval has been obtained, one mobile outlet is allowed on private land, provided conditions of consent are complied with.

Roller shutter doors: will be allowed to be installed to structures adjoining a rear lane.

Sculpture and artworks: will be allowed up to 3m in height in residential areas and up to 6m in other areas, but will be excluded from heritage items, heritage conservation areas and foreshore areas.

Waterways structures – minor alterations: allows minor non-structural repairs and alterations to maintain existing lawful boat sheds, jetties and the like where they are not a heritage or draft heritage item. Where approvals under specified other. 



Advertising and Signage Code:

The new code includes a range of common types of signs as exempt development. These include five types of business identification signs being wall signs, fascia signs, under awning signs, top hamper signs and window signs, with not more than three signs for buildings with a single commercial tenant and no more than six signs for any building. Only one sign can be installed in relation to a home business, home industry or home occupation in a residential zone.

Building identification signs, replacement signs, internal signs and community notice and public information signs are also specified as types of signs permitted as exempt development. Temporary event signs, internally illuminated real estate signs and election signs are also allowed subject to restrictions on the periods they may be displayed.


This code includes a range of development types which are currently included in other parts of the Codes SEPP, the Temporary Structures SEPP and the Major Development SEPP, which are being consolidated into this single Code. New exempt development types include:

Temporary buildings structures, hoarding and fences: specifies the standards for construction fence hoarding and other temporary builders structures.

Temporary structures, tents and marquees stages and platforms used for filming and private functions and community events: allows for temporary structures and uses for uses for private functions, community events and filming. The standards set out how many times per year an event can occur on the site without approval, the maximum size of the structure, hours of the function and times for ‘bump in’ and ‘bump out’.

Trading hours – temporary extensions for Christmas: allows retail or food and beverage premises in business zones to trade for 24 hours in the two weeks prior to Christmas Day, but not where they have residential uses above, below or on the same floor. Premises must still comply with other conditions of development consent including loading and deliveries during usual business hours.

Trading hours – temporary extension for licensed premises: for pubs to temporarily extend trading hours subject to a special event authorisation being granted under the Liquor Act 2007.

Major event sites – additional temporary development: land at Barangaroo will be allowed to hold additional temporary community, commercial, retail events and markets, subject to the same restrictions applying to other major event sites at the Rocks, Circular Quay and Sydney Olympic Park. 

Change of use

The change of use from an existing use in Column 1 of the table below to use in the same category is now exempt development.