Types of development and applications

Exempt development

Exempt development is minor work that has low environmental impact and can be carried out without approval, as long as it meets predetermined development standards.

Exempt development cannot be carried out in some circumstances. For example, if it is in an environmentally sensitive area, on bush fire prone land or within a heritage area.

Within Lake Macquarie City, exempt development is identified in:

It is the landowner's responsibility to check all the provisions relating to exempt development and meet the specified development standards and land requirements.

It is important to note that the proposed development may still require an approval, licence, permit or authority under other legislation.

Refer to the NSW Planning Portal for further information.

Complying development

Certain residential, commercial and industrial development may be constructed as complying development, as long as all relevant development standards are met and the development complies with the Building Code of Australia.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) identifies the types of development that are classified as complying development.

For your development to be considered to be complying development, your land must not have the characteristics described in Clause 1.17A, Clause 1.18 and Clause 1.19 of the Codes SEPP.

Council can issue a Planning Certificate - Section 10.7(2) and (5) to show whether complying development under the Codes SEPP can be carried out on a particularly piece of land.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the proposed development meets all the complying development requirements. Council and accredited private certifiers cannot issue a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) if the development does not strictly meet these requirements.

Our Duty Building Officer can assist you with any questions you may have regarding the CDC process. Alternatively, you can visit the NSW Planning Portal for further information on complying development.

To apply for a CDC with Council, you will be required to complete an Application for Complying Development Certificate.

Apply for a CDC

Local development

If the development if not exempt or complying, then development consent will be required.

Local Development is the most common type of development in Lake Macquarie. A development is considered to be local development if:

  • Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014 or a State Environmental Planning Policy states that development consent is required before the development can occur
  • it is not considered to be either a regionally or state-signficant development

To obtain development consent, you will need to lodge a Development Application (DA) with Council.

If construction works are proposed as part of the development, you can apply for a Construction Certificate at the same time as your DA or once the DA has been approved.

Lodge a DA

Other types of development

Integrated development

Some development proposals require approval from another public authority before development consent can be granted by Council.

Integrated development proposals require development consent and one or more of the approvals listed in Section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Council must not approve the Development Application (DA) if the agency recommends refusal. If the advice is not received within a specific time period, Council can determine the DA.

Visit the NSW Planning Portal for further information on integrated development.

Nominated integrated development

Nominated integrated development is integrated development that requires an approval under separate legislation as referenced in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Nominated integrated development has additional implication for Council, mainly with respect to the public exhibition process. For the applicant, additional fees will apply for advertising the application, the advertising of which can be up to 30 days.

Regionally significant development

Regionally-significant development is defined in Schedule 7 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011. It must be notified and assessed by Council, then determined by the relevant Joint Regional Planning Panel.


Designated development

Designated development are generally development that are likely to have a high impact or are located in or near environmentally sensitive areas. A development can be categorised as designated development by:

A development application for a designated development must:

  • be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • be publicly advertised for a specific period of time
  • can be the subject of an appeal to the Land and Environment Court by objectors

State significant development

Developments that are deemed to have state significance due to their size, economic value or potential impacts are identified in State Environment Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011.

State-significant developments are determined by either the Minister for Planning or the Independent Planning Commission. For further information on state-significant development, refer to the NSW Planning Portal.


Due to the varying conditions associated with each property, and demolition scenario, we ask that you contact our Customer Service Centre on 02 4921 0333 and request to speak to our Duty Officer prior to undertaking any demolition works.

Demolition of structural works which do not meet the requirements under the Exempt and Complying Development Codes will require Council approval and must comply with Australian Standard AS 2601-2001 The Demolition of Structures.

Subdivision Certificate

Most forms of subdivision require approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A Subdivision Certificate (SC):

  • certifies that the plan of subdivision has been completed in accordance with the relevant development consent or complying development certificate (in the case of complying development)
  • authorises the registration of the plan of subdivision with NSW Land and Property Information

A SC is issued by the relevant certifying authority, which in most cases is Council.

If you're lodging with Council, you will be required to complete an Application for a Subdivision Certificate.

For further information on Subdivision Certificates, including the role of the certifying authority and documentation to be submitted with a SC, visit the NSW Planning Portal or refer to our subdivision fact sheet(PDF, 2MB).

Strata Subdivision Certificate

Strata subdivision allows for the subdivision of land into separate lots and common property under the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015. This subdivision can be vertically, within a building, as well as horizontally, on a block. Strata is the most commonly used form of subdivision for residential apartments and townhouses. It is also used for commercial offices, industrial developments and retirement villages.

Apply for a Strata Subdivision Certificate