Single dwellings

Development approval is not required for new houses and additions and alterations if they comply with rules set out in the Planning and Development Regulations 2008.

On 29 May 2012 additional requirements came into effect for DA exempt development of single dwellings on old residential land and single dwelling demolition across Canberra. The new criteria does not apply to DA exempt development of single dwellings in new estates (on new land).

Exemptions from development approval – single dwellings on new land (land has not been built on before)

Development approval for a new dwelling on new land is not required if the proposed dwelling complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008, Schedule 1. (See Part 1.3, 1.3.7, Section 1.100)

Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a new dwelling on old residential land (land that has been built on)

A single dwelling can be demolished and a new dwelling erected without development approval if the proposed development complies with the following criteria:

  • the dwelling to be demolished is a single dwelling (i.e. not dual occupancy or a multi-unit development) other than a single dwelling that has a party wall (i.e. a duplex).
  • provided that it is not a new dwelling that replaces a single dwelling which had a party wall, the proposed new dwelling complies with:
  • the rules in the relevant precinct code (if any);
  • the rules in the Residential Zones Single Dwelling House Development Code of the Territory Plan;
  • relevant heritage and tree protection legislation; and
  • written information including contact details, elevation and site plans and a covering information sheet (Form 7A) has been supplied to adjoining* residents BEFORE the building work commences.

You will need to demonstrate that adjoining* residents have been informed by providing the certifier a summary (Form 7B) of the information supplied, as part of the application for building approval.

* Adjoining means touching or separated only by a road, reserve, river, watercourse or similar division.

For additions or alterations to an existing dwelling

Additions or alterations to a dwelling does not need development approval if:

  • there is only one dwelling on the block (i.e. not dual occupancy or a multi-unit development) provided that the said dwelling is not a dwelling that has a party wall.
  • the proposed development complies with:
  • the rules in the relevant precinct code (if any);
  • the rules in the Residential Zones Single Dwelling House Development Code of the Territory Plan; and
  • relevant heritage and tree protection legislation

Prior to any construction commencing, a private building certifier must confirm the development proposal meets the DA exemption criteria prior to issuing a building approval.

To remove any doubt, the demolition, alteration and rebuilding (whether or not with another duplex ) of a duplex house, requires a Development Application to be lodged for assessment in the Merit track. 

Exemptions on Rural Blocks

If you are seeking to build on a rural block different exemption rules apply. (See Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.5, Section 1.85 of the regulation).

Exemptions from building approval

There are no building approval exemptions for detached houses (defined as class 1 buildings in the Building Code of Australia).

Need more information

If you are unsure whether your proposed development is exempt from development approval you should check the regulation or call the EPD Customer Service Centre on 6207 1923.

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