When is approval required for development

The construction of a building, carrying out of works, subdivision, demolition, installation of certain types of signage and/or use of land requires development consent under Section 4.2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

In some instances, where these activities are considered ‘minor’ or the development meets pre-determined development standards, it may be possible to carry out the works as ‘exempt’ or ‘complying’ development.

Exempt development

Exempt development is typically low impact development.

Where development is considered ‘exempt’, it does not require any planning or construction approval, and is identified by pre-determined standards known as provisions.

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

Works may be carried out by the landowner without notifing Council that works have commenced or been completed.

The types of exempt development applicable to the Lake Macquarie Local Government Area (LGA) are identified under the following Environmental Planning Instruments:

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

Complying development

A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is a fast track development initiative introduced by the State Government. Complying development is development that meets the specific standards in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009. An application for a new dwelling, or dwelling addition, under a CDC must be determined within 10 days.

CDCs are available for a range of development types, including:

A CDC is an alternative to a Development Application and Construction Certificate. This means that if a CDC is acquired, there is no need to obtain approval through a Development Application and Construction Certificate.

Please note however that a CDC is not a merit based assessment method, it is strict ‘tick a box’ method of assessment. If your application does not satisfy all the requirements necessary for approval as a CDC, you will be required to either alter your proposal, or submit a Development Application and Construction Certificate.

To apply for a Complying Development Certificate with Council, please submit this application form.

To find out more about Complying Development Certificates, please visit the Department of Planning’s website, which has an emodule that further explains development under a CDC.

Alternatively, please call Council’s Duty Building Surveyor on 02 4921 0333.

Building Certification

Council provides a building certification service that is flexible and personalised and for more information about this service, please contact Lake Mac Planning and Building Services on 02 4921 0021 or pbs@lakemac.nsw.gov.au.

Development application

If the building work is not exempt or complying development, a Development Application (DA) is required to be submitted to Council.


Fees are charged on lodgement of a DA or CDC. DA and CDC fees are based in part on the estimated cost of work.

Once the estimated cost of work is established, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 02 4921 0333 to obtain a quote over the phone, or email council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au

A DA or CDC fee will also include other associated development fees, including but not limited to:

Local Development Contributions

Council’s Development Contributions team can provide detailed advice in relation to developer contributions, and determine if a local development contribution levy applies to your proposal.

Contact us on 02 4921 0333 or developmentcontributions@lakemac.nsw.gov.au for more information.

More information

If you have any further questions, please contact our Duty Planner or Duty Building Officer on 02 4921 0333.


This provides a summary of key elements on when approval is required. Any person using this document must do so on the basis that, not every scenario and issue can be addressed, and discussion with relevant staff at Council should take place. This information is subject to change without notice.

Page last updated: 03 October 2018