Before seeking approval for construction plans and work, consider what projects may be exempt from the approval process.
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:
- it is assessable in the impact track (for developments that may have a major impact on the environment)
- it is inconsistent with a provision of a development approval for other development on the land
- a previous approval has been given requiring a condition be complied with
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.
In simple terms, a building approval considers:
- compliance with building laws and the building code
- constructing buildings that are structurally sound
- ensuring buildings have the required levels of fire resistance, amenities, access and energy efficiency
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:
- 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.
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.
Find out about:
- exemption declarations
- prohibited developments
- licensed building surveyors (private building certifiers)
- licensed construction practitioners
- building 101
Contact us for more information.