Exempt work


For some houses and projects you won’t need to lodge an application for development approval if certain requirements are met.

However, while your development may be exempt from needing development approval it may need building approval or other approvals.

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:

  1. 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).
  2. A development must not interfere with plumbing and drainage clearances.
  3. 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.
  4. The development must comply with the lease.
  5. The development must not increase the number of dwellings on a block to two or more dwellings.
  6. 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:

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:

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.

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