Sydney Architect Adam Pressley FRAIA NSW Reg. No 6007

Essential ⟩ Guides ⟩ DA vs Complying

You will get a faster approval ...

We've completed many projects successfully, more quickly and more cost effectively under the NSW government's 'Exempt and Complying Development Codes' so you have another alternative to a local council approval.
Adam Pressley FRAIA - Principal Architect

Complying Development Code / Certificate

What is the Complying Development Code? (CDC)

The Complying Development Code is a component of the State Environmental Planning Policy in New South Wales which aims to simplify the design approval process. It applies to new single or two story developments and alterations or additions, provided the project meets the basic code requirements.

Yes we can design for a Complying Development Certificate and produce great results...

The Complying Development Code applies in all Councils we service:

  • Minimum block area of 200 sqm
  • Minimum block width at building line 6m
  • Maximum ht controls and site coverage controls

What are the advantages to the Complying Development Code?

  • No Development Applications
    The Complying Development Code replaces the need too submit a Development Application for smaller projects.
  • Saves significant time
    Low risk, low impact works can be approved in 21 days by the local council or a private certifier as compared to the average 120 days needed for a Development Application approval.
  • Reduces costs
    Costs associated with gaining planning approval are removed which yields an overall more affordable home.
  • No neighbour approval
    The council or accredited certifier is not required to notify neighbours to grant a Complying Development Certificate.
  • Meets BASIX requirements
    The requirements for the Complying Development Code also meet the water and energy saving demands of New South Wales.

Crown House Queenscliff

How do I find a Certifier for CDC?

Easy, just visit Insight Building Certifiers Pty Ltd - Simplifying the process for a more comprehensive look at the code and how you can benefit.

We do not think our turnaround time would have been as speedy
(2 months) if was not for the detailed work Adam and the team put in to our submission ...

Council vs Complying Development Code Comparison

These are the comparisons of the differences that could make for a faster and easier approval based on our experience, based in Sydney.

Assumptions for this comparison:

Site area of 560 square metres, Frontage 19 metres, Willoughby Council area, Based on the SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 updated on the 22nd February 2014.

To help make it clearer who the winner is for each factor, look for the green.


Approval time

Approval by

Non compliances

Notify neighbours

Shadow diagrams

Planning Report

No. storeys

Floor Space Ratio

Gross Floor Area

GFA measured

GFA Attics included

Maximum height

Front setback

Side setbacks at 8m ht

Rear setback 2 storey

Landscaped Area

Private Open Space

Pools allowed

Bushfire affected


2-6 months or more

Council only

Merit assessment

Ongoing notification period - Neighbour approval required



3 may be allowed

0.4:1 allowed

225 sqm max.

Inside external walls



Average of neighbours

1.5m to boundary if walls in excess of 2 storeys

6m to boundary

30-40% site area approx. Min. 1.5m wide

150sqm plus, 4+ beds

Yes / merit assessment

Yes with report


21 days to start building

Council or Private Certifier

Not allowed

14 days before application is approved - 7 days before building starts - Neighbour approval not required

Not required

Not required

2 storey max.

0.58:1 allowed

330 incl. outbuilding

Outside external walls


8.5m strict

Average of neighbours but with extra articulation zone

0.9 + 1/4 of building height above 4.5m

8m to boundary

20% site area, Min. 1.5m wide

24sqm but min. 3m wide, 1:50 max. slope

Yes / no merit assessment, Closer to boundary

Yes up to Bal-29 only

Note that other clarifications and conditions may apply, this has just been a summary of some points.

Further information is available from the NSW Department of Planning Website

We can show you a faster approvals process ...

Contact us to save money and the environment: Email us or Call 0412 348 575