Exempt work

Before seeking approval for construction plans and work, consider what projects may be exempt from the approval process.

There are some exemptions that apply for development approval (DA) and building approval (BA).

DA exemptions

For some houses and projects you won’t need to lodge an application for development approval if certain requirements are met. These exemptions are found in the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.

The DA exemptions vary according to the type of project you are considering.

Note: Different exemption rules apply for rural leases, schools and other non-residential developments.

Keep in mind, your project may still require development approval if:

Check exemptions

You can self-check if any DA exemption is relevant to your project, or you can seek professional assistance from a building certifier. If you are unsure, a certifier can provide you with a formal exemption notice.

Get started with a DA exemption self-check.

BA exemptions

If your development is exempt from needing development approval it may still need building approval or other approvals.

In simple terms, a building approval considers:

For example, a single house in a new housing estate may be exempt from development approval if it meets certain design and siting requirements of relevant Territory Plan Codes, but will still require building approval.

Get started with a BA exemption self-check.

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.

Designated and National land

If the site for your project is on designated or national land, contact the National Capital Authority for development approval. The Territory Plan overlay on ACTmapi is useful for identifying whether land is National land or Designated land. Unless a separate exemption applies, building work on designated land requires building approval.

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