What is a Complying Development Certificate?

A Complying Development Certificate or CDC is what you are issued when you receive building and planning approval from the Council or an accredited building certifier. It is a fast-track approval process which can be sought for residential, commercial and industrial development. CDCs are applicable for one or two storey homes, fences, swimming pools, demolition and structural supports.

Before a CDC application can be submitted, the applicant must demonstrate that the building or planning process complies with all controls and standards which are applicable to the land in question. The State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) has individual codes for specific types of development including General Housing Codes, Housing Alterations Codes, Subdivision Codes and Demolition Codes. Each code has its own development standards which need to be met before a CDC can be issued.

A CDC can only be issued if the development is in full compliance with all building and planning criteria as determined by the Building Code of Australia (BCA), SEPP, Local Environment Plans (LEP) and other relevant Acts and Regulations.

If the proposed work does not satisfy the local, state or national criteria, a Development Application (DA) must be submitted to the Council. A Construction Certificate (CC) will also need to be approved before any planned work can go ahead.

No building work can be commenced before the CDC, or the DA and CC, is issued unless the work is exempt. Exempt development work tends to be of a minor nature and can be carried out without Council consent. Exempt development covers building improvements such as retaining walls, pergolas, greenhouses, patios, decks, emergency works and skylights. Regardless of the work, however, all building working and improvements must be structurally adequate and continue to be in compliance with the BCA whether or not a CDC is required.

Complying development will generally not be approved for land reserved for public purposes, land within a heritage conservation area, land in a riverfront area or buffer area, and land which is ecologically or environmentally sensitive.

To find out whether your building or renovation project requires a CDC, visit the NSW Government Planning Portal for more information.