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The Codes SEPP

Inland Code for NSW

The new Inland Code (the Code) has been introduced to increase the use of complying development in inland NSW and achieve faster approvals for houses and farm buildings. It combines the complying development standards for all residential and rural zones in inland NSW into one new Code.

The Code will be included in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (State Policy) and aims to:

  • make it easy for new one and two storey homes and home renovations to be approved in rural and residential zones in inland NSW in 20 days or less
  • simplify and tailor development standards to suit rural and regional areas
  • allow rural landholders to obtain fast approvals for large farm buildings to support the agricultural use of their land.

Complying development is a fast-track approval process for straightforward, low impact development. If the application complies with all relevant requirements in the State Policy, it can be approved by a council or registered certifier within 20 days, saving homeowners up to $15,000 for a new home and $2,600 for home renovations.

Benefits of the new Inland Code 

The Benefits of inland

Does the Code apply to me? 

The Code will apply to 69 local government areas in inland NSW as shown on the map below.

Map of inland areas

The proposed development must be allowed under the Council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to be complying development under the Inland Code.

The Inland Code will not apply to new release areas where the Greenfield Housing Code applies. Check whether you are in a new release area here.  

The Code will also not apply to:

  • land within a heritage conservation area or a draft heritage conservation area (apart from some minor work) or on a heritage item
  • environmentally sensitive areas or environmentally sensitive land
  • land identified in Schedule 5 of the State Policy
  • other land set out in clause 1.19 of the State Policy.

New farm building standards 

Amendments have also been made to the General Exempt Development Code in the State Policy to make the exempt development standards for farm buildings, including small sheds, silos, grain bunkers and stock holding yards, more flexible. These new standards apply in rural zones across NSW.

Exempt development is low impact development that does not need planning or construction approval as long as it fully complies with the State Policy.

A copy of the new Code and farm building changes can be accessed here. The changes commenced on 1 January 2019.


Simplified and tailored development standards

The new Inland Code has been developed with the input of the community, councils and industry. The Code includes simplified standards that are tailored to suit rural and regional properties, such as:

  • standards for site coverage, articulation zones for dwellings setback 10m or more from the road and principal private open space will no longer apply in the large lot residential (R5) zone and the requirement for landscaped area has been removed for rural zones
  • some standards are more flexible in residential zones, including allowing larger houses on larger lots, enabling houses on smaller lot widths to be built to side boundaries, providing smaller road setbacks for small lots and requiring less landscaped area particularly for larger lots
  • expanded garage controls that allow three car garages on wide lots
  • more generous standards for farm buildings, including large sheds, as complying development.

A council or a registered certifier can approve a complying development but only if the work complies entirely with the development standards in the Code.

Farm buildings that do not need approval

The amendments to the General Exempt Development Code will allow a broad range of farm buildings to be constructed as exempt development in rural areas across NSW and will ensure that development supporting agricultural activities can be delivered more easily.

The amendments mean:

  • larger farm buildings, including sheds, silos, grain storage bunkers and stock holding yards, can be approved without planning or building approval
  • appropriate standards, such as setbacks, will be introduced for different types of farm buildings
  • farm buildings will be permitted in certain rural zones to support the intended use of these zones.

The exempt development standards for farm buildings will apply to all local government areas across the State.

There are existing restrictions on where exempt development can be carried out which will also apply to the new farm building standards. This means farm buildings as exempt development cannot be carried out on land that is:

  • a declared area of outstanding biodiversity value, declared critical habitat or a wilderness area
  • a heritage item or contains a heritage item
  • within 18km of the Siding Spring Observatory
  • excluded under Schedule 4 of the State Policy.

Summary of new development standards

Implementation of the new Code and farm building standards

The new Inland Code and exempt development farm building standards commence from 1 January 2019.

An education program will be rolled out across NSW to assist the community and stakeholders to learn more about the new Inland Code. An online learning module is available here.

Following the commencement of the Inland Code, there will be a two-year transitional period. During this time applicants can choose from several codes, depending on the zoning of their land:

At the end of the transitional period, applicants in inland NSW will no longer be able to use the Housing Code or Rural Housing Code. 

The timeline below shows how these codes can be used in inland NSW.

Steps of inland

Other codes in the State Policy, including the Housing Alterations Code, Greenfield Housing Code, Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code and Demolition Code, can also be used in inland NSW where they apply.

The transitional period will not apply to the new exempt development standards for farm buildings.

Using the new Inland Code


Where to go for more information

You can read more about complying development here and about exempt development here.

Contact us on email at [email protected] or call the Codes Hotline through Service NSW on 13 77 88.