DA exemption self-check

Some projects may not need development approval if they comply with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.

Start your check

You may not know which general exemption criteria apply until you read the specific exemption criteria relevant to your project so check them both carefully a number of times.

General exemption criteria

Before proceeding, you will need to ensure the following general exemption criteria is met:

Criteria

To be considered exempt, your development must…

How to check

1. Easements

not be located in an easement (proposed or existing), utility infrastructure access or protection space without the written permission from relevant entity, for example a utility company

Get to know your block

2. Plumbing and drainage

not interfere with plumbing and drainage clearances

Get to know your block

4. Tree protection, heritage, environment and conservation

not contravene the:

See what trees are protected by this legislation at Transport Canberra and City Services

not contravene the Heritage Act 2004

The heritage council can provide written advice with the council's opinion on whether the development is in accordance with all relevant requirements

5. Crown lease

comply with the lease

Get to know your block

7. Number of dwellings

not increase the number of dwellings on a block to two or more dwellings

Building classifications and definitions

8. Other exemption criteria

Specific criteria relevant to your project

A complete list of general exemption criteria is in Schedule 1 of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.

Specific exemption criteria

As well as checking the general criteria, you must check the criteria specific to your development.

Below is a list of some kinds of development that may be exempt from needing development approval if they meet certain requirements. Use these examples as a guide, but always read the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.

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

Carports, pergolas and shade structures

Carports, pergolas and shade structures do not need development approval if they comply with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.46).

Carports and shade structures are classified as class 10a structures that have different exemption criteria depending on the roofing and level of enclosure.

In general, unenclosed class 10a structures are exempt from needing development approval if:

Diagram showing carport heights as described in text on page

Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures would be built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary – see second building clearance area exemptions.

Also see DA exemptions for unroofed decks, patios and terraces and unroofed pergolas and arbours.

Check carport, pergola and shade structure building approval exemptions.

Courtyard walls

Courtyard walls can provide privacy, security and screening.

The rules for courtyard walls for single dwellings are written in the Single Dwelling Housing Development Code of the Territory Plan (see element 3.3 and 3.4); these rules and requirements differ depending on the size of your block.

Check your block size then review the rules below. If your courtyard wall complies with these rules, it will not need development approval.

For large blocks (500m2 and greater)

The length of the courtyard wall cannot be more than:

  • 50% of the width of your block if your block is wider than 12 metres (see first image below)
  • 70% of the width of your block if your block is less than 12 metres wide (see second image below)

The wall must also:

  • be set back 50% of the usual front setback of your block
  • be a maximum height of 1.8 metres
  • be constructed of brick, block, stonework or masonry and may have feature panels
  • have shrub planting between the wall and the road (which is to be contained entirely on your block and not encroach on the nature strip or any paths)
  • not obstruct sight lines for vehicles and pedestrians on public paths
Diagram showing example of courtyard dimensions described in text on page
Diagram showing example of courtyard dimensions described in text on page

For midsized blocks (between 250m2 and 500m2)

The length of the courtyard wall cannot be more than:

  • 50% of the width of your block if your block is wider than 12 metres
  • 70% of the width of your block if your block is less than 12 metres wide

The wall needs to be set back from the front boundary by either:

  • 1 metre if the length of the wall (measured parallel to the boundary) is not more than 6.5 metres and the wall is less than 1.5 metres high
  • 50% of the usual setback of your block in all other cases

The wall must also:

  • be a maximum height of 1.8 metres in height
  • be constructed of brick, block, stonework or masonry and may have feature panels
  • have shrub planting between the wall and the road (which is to be contained entirely on your block and not encroach on the nature strip or any paths)
  • not obstruct sight lines for vehicles and pedestrians on public paths

For compact blocks (250m2 and under)

The length of the courtyard wall cannot be more than:

  • 60% of the width of your block if your block is less than 12 metres
  • 50% of the width of your block in all other cases

The wall needs to be set back from the front boundary by either:

  • 1 metre if the wall encloses north facing principal private open space
  • 2 metres in all other cases

The wall can be a maximum height of:

  • 1.5 metres if the wall encloses principal private open space
  • 1.8 metres if the wall encloses principal private open space and is a corner block
  • 1.2 metres in all other cases

The wall must also:

  • be constructed of brick, block, stonework and/or constructed and/or finished to match or complement the house
  • have shrub planting between it and the road (which is to be contained entirely on your block and not encroach on the nature strip or any paths)
  • not obstruct sight lines for vehicles and pedestrians on public paths

For information on courtyard walls on multi-unit sites, contact us.

Demolition

Some demolition work doesn't need development approval if it complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3. Division 1.3.7, Section 1.100B and 1.101).

Examples include demolition of a single dwelling and class 10 buildings or structures.

If the building or structure to be demolished is included in the heritage register or under a heritage agreement, it is likely that it will require a development application.

Single dwellings

A single dwelling, or part of, can be demolished without development approval if:

  • it does not have a party wall (i.e. a duplex)
  • it complies with criterion 4 of the general exemption criteria
  • written information is provided to adjoining residents before any demolition commences – including contact details and covering information (use Form 7A), and you provide evidence of this communication to your building certifier (use Form 7B)

See also single dwelling development approval exemptions.

Buildings or structures

The demolition of a class 10 building or structure doesn't need development approval if:

In all other cases, the demolition of a building or structure, or part of the building or structure, doesn't need development approval if:

  • it would be exempt development if it were to be built (i.e. not requiring a development application to build)
  • it complies with criterion 4 of the general exemption criteria

Check demolition building approval exemptions.

Dish antennas

You do not need development approval if a satellite dish or dish antenna complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.59).

Examples of dish antennas may include:

  • satellite dishes for receiving TV signals and sending signals to satellite
  • microwave receiving dishes for wireless voice and data
  • satellite dishes for wireless internet services

A dish antenna does not need development approval if:

  • it is a parabolic antenna with a solid, wire or mesh dish
  • if mounted on the ground, the diameter is not more than 1.55 metres and the height is not more than 3 metres above natural ground level
  • if externally mounted on a building in a residential area:
    • the diameter is not more than 0.65 metre
    • the distance from the highest point of the antenna to the closest point on the roof is not more than 1.5 metres (if the building is a single dwelling where the closest point of the dwelling's roof to the antenna is lower than the highest point of the antenna)
  • if externally mounted on a building in a non-residential area:
    • the diameter is not more than 1.55 metres
    • the distance from the highest point of the antenna the closest point on the roof is not more than 2 metres (if the closest point of the building's roof to the antenna is lower than the highest point of the antenna)
    • the antenna is screened so that it cannot be seen by a 2 metre-tall person standing on the ground less than 100 metres from the antenna
    • the antenna's colour matches the adjacent colour of the building or is the colour of the antenna as manufactured
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria

Satellite dishes are classified as class 10 buildings. Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures are built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary – see second building clearance area exemptions.

Note: Mast antennas have different requirements.

Check dish antenna building approval exemptions.

Driveways

You do not need development approval for a driveway across a road verge if it complies with the provisions set out in the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.1, Section 1.30).

A driveway across a road verge doesn't need development approval if:

Find out more about driveway approvals.

Resealing existing driveways

Resealing an existing driveway does not require development approval if one or more of the following materials is used:

  • concrete (including coloured or patterned concrete)
  • bitumen
  • pavers, including bricks
  • timber
  • grass, including stabilising treatment

Resealing an existing driveway must also comply with the general exemption criteria.

Find out more about driveway approvals.

External doors and windows

You do not need development approval for installing, altering or removing an external door or window if it complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.1, Section 1.21 and 1.21A).

Some examples include bricking up an external window, enlarging a window, converting a window to a sliding glass door, converting a window to double doors and cutting an external wall to create a doorway or install a window.

Installation, alteration and removal of external doors and windows in buildings doesn't need development approval if:

  • you are replacing a door or window without changing the width of the opening in the wall
  • you are increasing the height or width of the door or window by no more than 340 millimetres
  • you are reducing the height or width of the window or door
  • you are installing a wall instead of the door or window or a part of the door or window
  • no part of the relevant change is within 1.5 metres of a side boundary or 3 metres from a rear boundary
  • you are installing a door or window less than 2 metres wide in an exterior wall that is less than 1 metre above natural ground level (low impact)
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria

High impact windows may be exempt if they comply with Section 1.21A.

Check external doors and windows building approval exemptions.

Fences and freestanding walls

You do not need development approval if the fence or freestanding wall complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

A fence or freestanding wall doesn't need development approval if:

  • you are rebuilding an exact replacement of an original fence that has been so damaged or destroyed that immediate repair or replacement must be made
  • it is no higher than 2.7 metres above natural ground level (if it is a mesh fence in an industrial zone)
  • it is no higher than 2.3 metres above natural ground level
  • the support post or column of a fence or wall is no higher than 2.5 metres above natural ground level
  • no part of the fence or wall is between a front boundary and a building line
  • no part of the fence or wall diverts or concentrates the flow of surface water in a way that causes ponding or flows onto other land
  • it complies with the general exemption criteria

Generally fences facing the street in standard residential areas are not allowed, but property boundary demarcation is permitted, for example by hedges.

Note: Lease and development conditions may specify the heights and types of fence materials, colours and styles to be used on your block.

You may consider a survey to ensure the fence is built in the correct location and that no encroachments are made.

Fence ownership and costs

The ACT Government does not contribute to the cost of building or maintaining fences. All costs are the responsibility of the private property owner.

All front fences including fences to open space are built and maintained at the cost of the owner. Private property owners who share side or rear fences are each responsible for half the cost and maintenance of a basic urban fence.

The basic urban fence is 1.5 metres high and made of hardwood palings. Other fence types can be erected if allowed and neighbours agree on the design and cost beforehand.

The Common Boundaries Act 1981 specifies general requirements and dispute resolution mechanisms for fences.

For fences facing public land, also see DA exemption details for open space boundary fences.

Check fence and freestanding wall building approval exemptions.

Garages, sheds and gazebos

You do not need development approval for certain roofed, enclosed or open-on-one-side buildings if they comply with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.45).

Garages, sheds and gazebos are part of a group called class 10a buildings that have different exemption criteria depending on the roofing and level of enclosure.

Examples of roofed, enclosed or open-on-one-side class 10a buildings include:

  • garages
  • greenhouses
  • storerooms
  • conservatories
  • cubbyhouses
  • gazebos
  • outbuildings
  • sheds
  • studios
  • stables
  • workshops

The proposed building does not need development approval if:

  • the building is enclosed by a roof and has walls on every side, or every side except one
  • it is not more than 3 metres above natural ground level (the structure can be as high as 4 metres above ground level if no part is higher than a 30° plane – see image below)
  • the building plan area is not more than 10m2 and behind the building line OR if the building plan area is more than 10m2 and behind the building line, it is at least 15 metres from the block's front boundary
  • the building does not exceed the size limitation for the block below:
    • if the block size is not more than 500m2, a maximum plan area of 10m2 applies
    • if the block size is 500m2 to 600m2, a maximum plan area of 25m2 applies
    • if the block size is 600m2 or more, a maximum plan area of 50m2 applies

Diagram showing garage heights as described in text on page

Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures are to be built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary. See also second building exemptions.

Check garage, shed and gazebo building approval exemptions.

Heating, cooling and solar PV installations

You do not need development approval if the proposed external photovoltaic panel, heater or cooler installation complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.1, Section 1.27 for heaters and coolers and Section 1.27A for photovoltaic panels).

An external solar water heater, air conditioner, evaporative cooler and support structure doesn't need development approval if:

  • no part of it is within 1.5 metres of a side boundary or rear boundary of the block
  • the distance from the top of the service to the closest point of the roof is not more than 1.5 metres (if mounted on a roof)
  • the service does not project beyond the relevant solar building envelope (if mounted on a roof and on a block to which a relevant solar building envelope applies)
  • no part of the service is between a front boundary and a building line for the block (if mounted on the ground)

An external photovoltaic panel doesn't need development approval if:

  • no part of it is within 1.5 metres of a side boundary or rear boundary of the block
  • no part of a ground mounted panel is between the front boundary and the building line of the block
  • no part of a protruding panel is higher than 300 millimetres above the closest point of the roof (see image below) OR no part of a protruding panel restricts solar access of another block
PV panel rules diagram. A protruding panel restricts solar access to another block if, on the winter solstice, when the sun's angle is 300 above the horizon, the panel’s shadow at ground level on the other block is larger than the shadow that would be cast by the roof without the panel.

A protruding panel 'restricts' solar access to another block if, on the winter solstice, when the sun's angle is 30° above the horizon, the panel's shadow at ground level on the other block is larger than the shadow that would be cast by the roof without the panel.

Development approvals are required if:

Other considerations

Changing the external appearance, material or finish of a building or structure may be subject to other laws, including heritage laws and energy efficiency provisions of building laws (for example, replacing an energy efficient heating or cooling system with a less efficient model).

The installation must also comply with noise standards under the Environment Protection Act 1997.

Internal fireplaces/solid fuel heaters

Generally, a development approval is not required for the installation of a solid fuel heater if the block is located in an area other than Dunlop, East O'Malley and Molonglo Valley (excluding Wright). The lease conditions or Memorandum of Provisions (MOP) for blocks in Dunlop, East O'Malley and Molonglo Valley (excluding Wright) prohibit solid fuel heaters without the prior written consent of the Territory. This means that lessees in these areas must apply for development approval prior to the installation of a solid fuel heater.

In all other areas you will need to ensure that any associated chimney, flues or vents comply with section 1.25 of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.

Also check heating, cooling and solar PV installations building approval exemptions.

Home business

You do not need development approval if the home business complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.7, Section 1.108).

A home business does not need development approval if:

  • no more than two people work on the premises at any time
  • anyone who works on the premises genuinely lives there
  • the area used for the business (including storage) is not more than 40m2
  • any vehicles parked at the premises for the purposes of the business are parked in a driveway, garage, carport or location screened from the road
  • all goods and materials relating to the business (other than goods or materials kept on another lease) must be kept:
    • in buildings or structures that are lawfully on the lease
    • in a way that the goods and materials cannot be seen from outside the lease
  • the conduct of the business does not generate more than five vehicle arrivals each day (averaged over a period of seven days)

Note: the conduct of the business must comply with the Environment Protection Act 1997.

Development approval for a home business is for a term of up to five years.

Although running a business from home may be exempt from requiring development approval, any associated development such as new building work, site works, or signage may still require development approval.

Check home business building approval exemptions.

Find out about licences or registration that may be required to operate certain types of business in the ACT on the Access Canberra website.

Internal alterations

You do not need development approval if internal alterations comply with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.1, Section 1.20).

Internal alterations to a building may include:

  • internal repairs, renovations or upgrades
  • new kitchen fitouts
  • shop or office fitouts
  • removal of internal walls

An internal alteration does not need development approval if:

  • it does not change building class under the building code
  • there is no increase in gross floor area (for a non-residential building)
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria, except for criterion 8

For the above, non-residential building means a building, or part of a building, that is not used for residential purposes, and is not a class 10 building associated with a building used for residential purposes. For example, a private garage associated with a dwelling is a residential building.

Check internal alteration building approval exemptions.

Landscape gardening

You do not need development approval if landscape gardening complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.7, Section 1.104).

Examples of landscape gardening include:

  • planting
  • establishing garden beds
  • paving
  • ground treatments
  • mulching
  • topsoiling
  • ground surface regrading

It does not include retaining walls, ponds, pools or fences.

Landscape gardening does not need development approval if:

  • it is on land leased for residential purposes, or it is prescribed landscaping (whether or not the land is leased for residential purposes)
  • the landscape gardening maintains the existing public access to the access way, footpath or bicycle path it affects
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria, except for criterion 1 if there is no construction or installation of a structure

Check landscape gardening building approval exemptions.

Letterboxes and barbecues

You do not need development approval if the letterbox or barbecue complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.50).

Letterboxes and barbecues are classified as class 10b structures.

A letterbox or barbecue doesn't need development approval if:

Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures would be built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary – see second building clearance area exemptions.

Check letterbox and barbecue building approval exemptions.

Maintenance

You do not need development approval if the maintenance complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.1, Section 1.23).

Examples of maintenance may include:

  • replacing rotted timber window frames to maintain appearance and weatherproofing
  • replacing broken roof tiles to prevent water damage
  • repairing a building's plant and equipment

Maintenance work is exempt from development approval if it:

  • makes no change to the kind of material for the part of the building or structure to which the maintenance relates
  • complies with relevant general exemption criteria excluding criterion 4 which relates to heritage, tree, environment and conservation (Section 1.14).

Check maintenance building approval exemptions.

Mast antennas

You do not need development approval if a mast antenna complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.60).

A mast antenna and support structure doesn't need development approval if:

  • the antenna is a receiving antenna only, or an antenna that can send and receive a signal
  • its diameter is not wider than 0.75 metres
  • it is mounted on the ground, the antenna is no higher than 6 metres above natural ground level
  • it is mounted on a building, the antenna isn't more than 1.5 metres above the highest point of the building and the antenna's colour matches the colour of the building

Mast antennas are classified as class 10 buildings. Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures are built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary – see second building clearance area exemptions.

Note: Dish antennas have different requirements.

Check mast antenna building approval exemptions.

Open space boundary fences

You do not need development approval if the open space boundary fence complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

Boundary fences are usually between leased and unleased land, for example:

  • at the rear of land bordering on nature reserve
  • between parklands and residential blocks
  • between pedestrian laneways and residential blocks
  • at the side boundaries of corner blocks

Open space boundary fences do not need development approval if:

For a metal fence, it must:

  • be unperforated metal
  • be finished in a pre-coloured proprietary finish
  • be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
  • have all sharp edges of metal sheets capped
  • for any one side of the fence, have all panels of the same material, flatness and corrugation (if any), and have all visible components (other than fasteners, footings and cut ends of components) the same external colour as the panels
  • be a solid colour that is, or closely matches, a colour from AS 2700 (Colour Standards for General Purposes)
  • be the same form, finish and colour for the full length of the open space boundary for the block for that side of the fence

Certain materials are restricted, including tea tree and brush fencing, pine and other softwoods, bamboo and copper chrome arsenate treated timber.

Note: The ACT Government does not contribute to the cost of building or maintaining fences. All costs are the responsibility of the private property owner.

See also DA exemption details for fences and freestanding walls.

Check open space boundary fence building approval exemptions.

Ponds

You do not need development approval if the pond complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

Examples of ponds not inside buildings include:

  • fish ponds
  • water storage ponds
  • ponds for water features
  • fountain ponds

A pond does not need development approval if:

  • it is not for, or not used for, swimming, wading or bathing
  • the maximum water depth is not more than 300 millimetres
  • the surface area of water is not more than 6m2 when full (without overtopping effects)
  • no part is between a front boundary and a building line for the block
  • no part is within 1.5 metres of a side boundary or rear boundary for the block
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria

Check pond building approval exemptions.

Pool fencing and barriers

Fences and barriers for swimming pools are required under the Building Act 2004 to restrict access of young children to the pool and immediate pool surrounds.

You do not need development approval if the pool fencing or barrier complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

Pool fencing or barriers do not need development approval if:

  • it is not an open space boundary fence
  • it is not more than 2.7 metres above natural ground level (for a mesh fence in an industrial zone)
  • it is otherwise not more than 2.3 metres above natural ground level (the support posts can be 2.5 metres)
  • no part is between a front boundary and a building line for the block
  • no part diverts or concentrates the flow of surface water in a way that causes ponding or flow onto other land
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria

See also swimming pool DA exemptions.

Check pool fencing and barriers building approval exemptions.

Refinishing external appearance

You do not need development approval if refinishing of certain exterior items complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

For example, you may be:

  • changing a house roof from metal sheet to tile or vice versa
  • rendering exterior brickwork with cement render
  • changing weatherboard cladding to brick-veneer

Refinishing exterior appearance does not need development approval for these items:

  • a wall, sill or fascia or an eave lining
  • a downpipe or flashing or guttering
  • trim
  • roofing or a roof duct, flue, gutter or vent
  • a vent pipe
  • a step or landing
  • a handrail or balustrade or other barrier that functions as a balustrade
  • a pole or post

This includes painting the exterior of the building or structure to change its appearance other than painting a design or sign on the exterior of the building or structure or painting the building for maintenance.

To be exempt, the work must comply with the relevant general exemption criteria.

See also DA exemptions for:

  • external doors and windows
  • skylights
  • open space boundary fences

Check refinishing external appearance building approval exemptions.

Retaining walls

You do not need development approval if the retaining wall complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Section 1.53). However, there are different rules depending on the type of retaining wall (fill or cut) you are building:

  • fill retaining walls – above ground level
  • cut-in retaining walls – below ground level
  • combination retaining walls

Fill retaining wall – above ground level

Fill retaining wall means a wall, or that part of a wall, where its purpose is to retain soil above natural ground level. It does not need development approval if:

Diagram showing combination retaining wall

Cut-in retaining wall – below ground level

Cut-in retaining wall means a wall, or that part of a wall, where its purpose is to retain an embankment cut below natural ground level. It does not need development approval if:

Diagram showing cut-in retaining wall below ground level.

Combination retaining wall

This means a retaining wall that is both a cut-in retaining wall and a fill retaining wall. This would need to comply with all the above requirements.

Diagram showing fill retaining wall above ground level.

Check retaining wall building approval exemptions.

Second building in clearance area

Where there is an existing class 10 building or structure (the first thing) within the boundary clearance area of a block (1.5 metres from the boundary), the second class 10 building or structure (the proposed development) may be exempt if:

For example, if a garage is located immediately adjacent to a common boundary of a block and a garden shed is to be added next to the garage and the boundary.

Diagram demonstrating second building requirements as described in text on page.

Single dwellings

You do not need development approval for new houses, additions or alterations if they comply with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

There are different rules for:

  • single dwellings on new land
  • single dwellings on old residential land (including demolition)
  • additions or alterations to an existing single dwelling

Check single dwelling building approval exemptions.

Skylights

You do not need development approval if a skylight complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

Examples of skylights include:

  • windows in a roof
  • lightshafts and ceiling openings with light diffusers
  • cutting a tube-type skylight into a roof and ceiling

A skylight doesn't need development approval if:

  • the external area is not more than 2m2
  • it does not project more than 150 millimetres above the surface of the roof adjacent to the skylight
  • the service does not project beyond the relevant solar building envelope (if on a block to which a relevant solar building envelope applies)
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria

Changing the external appearance, material or finish of a building or structure may be subject to other laws, including heritage laws and energy efficiency provisions of building laws.

Check skylight building approval exemptions.

Swimming pools

You do not need development approval if the swimming pool complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.54).

A swimming pool does not need development approval if:

  • no part of the pool or associated structure is between a front boundary and a building line for the block, except when behind a courtyard wall
  • no part of the pool or associated structure is within 1.5 metres of a side boundary or rear boundary for the block
  • it has an associated structure with an elevated floor, including a deck, landing, stairs or ramp for the pool, but not including a retaining wall or landscaping for the pool, the height of the finished floor level is not more than 1 metre above finished ground level
  • the pool's reservoir is not more than 1.5 metres above natural ground level
  • it complies with relevant general exemption criteria

Note: Water restrictions or permanent water conservation measures may be in force in the ACT and may prohibit or affect the filling of new swimming pools using ACT potable (tap) water. To use potable water drawn from the potable water supply system to fill a new pool, contact Icon Water.

See also pool fencing and barrier DA exemptions and swimming pool and spa construction.

Check swimming pool building approval exemptions.

Unroofed decks, patios and terraces

You do not need development approval if the deck, patio, landing or terrace complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.48).

A deck, patio, landing or terrace does not need development approval if:

Note: these rules include the external stairs or ramp, external landing and retaining wall for the deck. Balustrade refers to any barrier that acts as a balustrade.

A deck is a class 10 structure. Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures would be built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary – see second building clearance area exemptions.

Also see DA exemptions for carports, pergolas and shade structures and unroofed pergolas and arbors.

Check unroofed deck, patio and terrace building approval exemptions.

Unroofed pergolas and arbours

You do not need development approval if the unroofed pergola or arbour complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1).

An unroofed pergola or arbour does not need development approval if:

  • it is not an external deck or external verandah
  • it has no roof or walls
  • it is not more than 3 metres above natural ground level (the structure can be as high as 4 metres above ground level if no part is higher than a 30° plane)
  • if the building has a floor, the floor height is not more than 1 metre above finished ground level, or 0.4 metres if it is within 1.5 metres of a side boundary or rear boundary of the block

Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures would be built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary – see second building clearance area exemptions.

Also see DA exemptions for carports, pergolas and shade structures and unroofed decks, patios and terraces.

Check unroofed pergola and arbor building approval exemptions.

Water tanks

You do not need development approval if a water tank complies with relevant provisions of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (see Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.2, Section 1.62).

A rainwater tank does not need development approval if:

Water tanks are classified as class 10 structures. Additional criteria apply if two exempt class 10 structures would be built within 1.5 metres of a side or rear block boundary – see second building clearance area exemptions.

Check water tank building approval exemptions.

Checking your exemption

If you are still unsure whether your development is exempt from needing DA approval after checking the Regulation, contact us with:

The DA Gateway Team can provide advice, but we do not provide exemption approvals. Only a building certifier can ensure plans and work are completed in accordance with the law. You can ask a building certifier to issue you with an exemption notice.

For minor non-compliance with the Territory Plan on a single dwelling block, you may be able to lodge a DA exemption declaration.

More information

Find out about:

Contact us for more information.