Do I need approval?

Many types of home renovations and minor building projects don't need approval from a Council or accredited certifier. This is called exempt development. As long as the building project meets specific standards and land requirements no planning or building approval is needed. 

The standards you must comply with for most complying development works are in the State policy for exempt and complying development. The policy can be viewed at the NSW Legislation website

Before you plan any renovations or building work, it's a good idea to check with your local Council which planning controls apply to your property.

Certain properties and areas may have different or additional rules that apply to building and renovations, including those:

  • In conservation areas
  • Listed as a heritage building
  • Listed on the State Heritage Register
  • In or near a site containing contaminated land
  • In or near a bush fire prone area
  • Where road widening is planned
  • In an area affected by flood

Different or additional rules may apply to building and renovations in:

  • Priority Precincts
  • Urban Transformation Programs
  • Wholesale Projects
  • Growth Centres

The overarching frameworks that guide future development in these areas mean properties may have different or additional planning rules to other areas of the State.

A s149 Planning Certificate is a legal document, issued by local Councils, that details the zoning and applicable rules for development of your property. It also identifies whether or not complying development can be carried out on the property.


Enter your property address in the Planning Viewer to see what planning constraints and zoning rules affect your property.

Find out if your planned renovation or building project is exempt development using our Interactive Buildings tool.