Council supports well designed and suitable developments and not all projects require development consent. 

To help you decide if you need to submit a Development Application or can build using other avenues you need to consider the planning rules for where you live and what you want to build there. We have developed a Simple Guide for Residential Developments to help you understand the differences between Development Applications, Complying Development Certificates and Exempt Development and the application process. 

Exempt Development

Exempt Development (no approval required) has very minimal environmental impact and providing your building project meets specific development standards, approval from Council may not be needed.

Some common examples of exempt development are:

  • Awnings and other shade structures
  • Carports
  • Decks, verandahs, terraces, balconies or pergolas
  • Garden sheds
  • Fences and gates
  • Home business
  • Privacy screens
  • Air conditioning units
  • Earthworks (excavation, fill or retaining walls)

V​​​​isit the NSW Department Planning, Industry & Environment's webpage for further information or contact's Council's Planning Enquiry Officer on 1300 434 434 for advice.

Complying Development

Complying Development is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward development that can be determined through a fast-track assessment by a council or an accredited certifier.  Providing your application meets specific development standards, approval (known as a Complying Development Certificate or CDC) can be granted, without the need for a full Development Application.

Types of complying development may include:

  • Internal alterations to a house
  • Granny flats
  • A new single or two storey dwelling
  • Swimming pool
  • Carports, garages and driveways
  • Demolition

Visit the NSW Department Planning, Industry & Environment's webpage to see if your project complies with the development requirements.  You can also visit the NSW Planning Portal, which will provide specific property details.

Private Certifiers may use our online tools to lodge a determined complying development certificate online: 

Development Applications

If your project is not considered exempt or able to be built using complying development standards, search Council's planning rules for your property to see if it is permitted with development consent. If this is the case you will need to lodge a Development Application.

View our Application Process page for DA Pre-Lodgement meeting information, steps to lodge your application and to understand our development application assessment process.

Council Planning Enquiry Service - 1300 434 434

To help you understand Council's planning controls and the development assessment process, we provide a planning enquiry service from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, at our Customer Service Centres at Manly, Dee Why and Mona Vale.

The service is designed to provide preliminary general advice on planning-related enquiries associated with properties and development proposals. Please note: due to the high demand on this service, we are unable to go through all of Council's controls in detail or provide a detailed assessment of any development proposal you may be considering. You can also provide information such as a sketch plan or a photo (over the counter only) to enable the Planning Enquiry Officer to provide you with effective and accurate advice during your discussion.

The Planning Enquiry Officer's main function is to direct customers to relevant planning policies and cannot:

  • Provide you with zoning information (use our Property Search to find out the zoning of a property)
  • Confirm what approval process is required (e.g. exempt or complying development)
  • Review plans or provide merit advice with regard to proposed building works (consider our Pre-lodgement meeting service)
  • Advice as to if the proposal is “feasible”

A Planning Enquiry Officer can assist you more efficiently if you provide:

  • The address and zoning of the property
  • Details about the nature of your enquiry and what you require from Council

Council does not provide general advice regarding the development potential of individual sites. Council's planning controls and policies are available for you to review to determine what the site can accommodate. You may need to seek professional advice from an architect, draughtsperson and/or planner, before preparing development plans.

It is recommended that you consider Council’s pre-lodgement service for any large or more complex proposals. Further information on this service can be found on our Application Process page.