Changes to DA exemption criteria for some single dwellings (including demolition)

Changes, passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly in early May 2012 amend the DA exemption criteria affecting homeowners wishing to construct or alter a single dwelling in older suburbs  (i.e. on land that has been previously been built on) or to demolish a single dwelling anywhere in Canberra.

The changes have been made by amending DA exemption criteria for single dwellings in the Planning and Development Regulation 2008, schedule 1.

On 29 May the changes came into effect whereby the proponent must now give written information about the development to adjoining residents before the building work commences. The written information will include the name and the number of the person that you can talk to.

This is not a new form of consultation or an invitation for adjoining residents to comment on the development but rather an opportunity for residents to be informed about development happening nearby. There are no rights of appeal.

Previously, as long as it complied with the relevant rules and exemption criteria, the house next door could be demolished and rebuilt without the adjoining residents being informed. Under the new rules all residents adjoining a proposed development will get information about demolition or development before building work begins.

How does the new system work?

Stage one: inform

From 29 May 2012 the proponent will need to give written information to adjoining residents about the development before the building work commences. Adjoining means touching or separated only by a road, reserve, river, watercourse or similar division.

This written information must include a covering information sheet – Form 7A – available here which includes:

For demolition of a single dwelling anywhere in Canberra:

* proponent contact details
* demolition site address details

For a code compliant single dwelling (or alteration) on old residential land:

* proponent contact details
* a copy of the site plan
* a copy of elevation plan

The form can be delivered by placing it in the letterbox, by-hand, by email or by Australia Post.

Please keep a copy of one of the forms and a record of all the adjoining residents you inform for stage two.

Stage two: provide evidence

The certifier will need to see evidence that you have informed the adjoining residents about the demolition/development included in your application for building approval.

The way to do this is to complete Form 7B – “Summary of written information for building certifier” which should also include a copy of one of the forms (Form 7A) that you sent to an adjoining resident. These must be included in your application for building approval.

Both forms 7A and 7B are available here

Prior to any construction commencing, a private building certifier must confirm the development proposal meets all the relevant DA exemption criteria prior to issuing a building approval.

Need more information?

For more information please see exemption criteria for single dwellings or this fact sheet.

If you need to contact ESDD customer service call (02) 6207 1923 or email