For some houses and projects you won’t need to lodge an application for development approval if certain requirements are met.
The requirements for exemptions vary according to the type of project.
General exemption criteria
These general criteria must be met for all development approval exemptions:
- The development must not be located in an easement (proposed or existing), utility infrastructure access or protection space without the written permission from whoever owns that space (e.g. a utility).
- A development must not interfere with plumbing and drainage clearances.
- The development must not breach the Tree Protection Act 2005 or cause any part of a building or structure (other than a class 10 building or structure) to be on heritage listed property or property which is the subject of a heritage agreement.
- The development must comply with the lease.
- The development must not increase the number of dwellings on a block to two or more dwellings.
- The development must comply with any other criteria that apply to the development.
A complete list of developments that are exempt from development approval and the relevant criteria and requirements can be found in Schedule 1 of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.
Exemptions from development approval, but not building approval
While some developments may be exempt from development approval, they may still require building approval. For example, a single house in a new housing estate will be exempt from development approval provided it meets certain design and siting requirements of relevant Territory Plan codes, but will still require building approval.
Certifier's role in exempt development
In relation to development, before issuing a building approval, a building certifier must be satisfied that:
- building work that does not have a development approval meets the relevant development exemption criteria and does not require a development application
- related sitework, such as tree protection and tree removal and excavation required for the building work shown in a building approval application is either:
- exempt from requiring development approval, if the exemption requirements for the building work also require the sitework to be exempt, or
- the relevant building work is in accordance with a development approval
Certifiers are prohibited from issuing a building approval where a development application is required for the building work but is not in force. A building certifier cannot issue a development approval if one is needed.
General building approval exemptions
While new buildings or structures may need building approval, some smaller structures may be exempt from requiring a building approval.
Alterations to existing buildings are generally exempt if the proposed work does not adversely affect:
- the structural integrity of any part of a building for which a certificate of occupancy and use has been issued
- a fire-rated wall, ceiling or floor
- a ventilation or air-handling system, fire protection system or other mechanical service
- a fire escape, emergency lift, stairway, exit or exit passageway
- the natural light or ventilation available to a building, and
- the building in a way that reduces its compliance with the Building Code to below minimum requirements
A building surveyor can help you determine whether the work you are considering is exempt from requiring a building approval.
Examples of exemptions from development approval or building approval
Below is a list of some kinds of development that may be exempt from needing development approval if they meet certain requirements.
- Aerials and antennas
- Carports, shade structures and pergolas
- Courtyard walls
- External doors, walls and windows
- Fences and freestanding walls
- Garages, sheds, and gazebos
- Home Business
- Heating and cooling installation and solar PV installations
- Internal alterations
- Landscape gardening
- Letterboxes and barbeques
- Open space boundary fences
- Unroofed decks, patios and terraces
- Unroofed pergolas and arbors
- Pool fencing and barriers
- Rainwater tanks
- Refinishing external appearance
- Retaining walls
- Satellite dishes
- Second building in clearance area
- Single dwellings
- Swimming pools
Find out about:
- exemption declarations
- licensed building surveyors (private building certifiers)
- building 101
Contact us for more information.