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Exempt Development

Privacy Screens

A privacy screen may be carried out as exempt development if it meets development standards in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).

privacy screen is defined as:

  • a structure that provides a screen or visual barrier between a window of a habitable room or an outdoor area on a lot and an adjoining lot that:
    • has no individual opening more than 30 millimetres wide; and
    • has a total area of all openings that is no more than 30 per cent of the surface area of the screen or barrier; or
  • a window, the whole of which has translucent glass and is fixed and not able to be opened.

A privacy screen  not attached to a boundary fence or retaining wall may be exempt development if it is not on land in a foreshore area.

A privacy screen must:

  • if located on the ground—be not be higher than 2.5 metres above the existing ground level
  • be not longer than five metres
  • be located at least 900 millimetres from each lot boundary
  • not be attached to a boundary fence
  • not be attached to a retaining wall
  • not be on land in a foreshore area.

Please refer to these provisions of the State Policy for a full list of development standards  a privacy screen must meet to be exempt development.

Other considerations

  • If you propose to remove or prune any existing trees or vegetation, you should contact your council first to make sure you don’t need approval for this.

  • Works must be structurally adequate, installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

  • Any structures that would be located on public land, or on or over a public road (including temporary structures), must have separate approval from the relevant council, or Roads and Maritime Services under the Roads Act 1993 and the Local Government Act 1993.
  • Generally, exempt development cannot be carried out on: