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Complying Development

Fire safety

Certain fire safety measures and related works may be carried out as complying development if the proposal meets the relevant development standards set out in Fire Safety Code in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP).

The Fire Safety Code allows three categories of development to be carried out as complying development:

  • the installation or extension of a fire sprinkler system in a residential aged care facility
  • the alteration to a hydraulic fire safety system
  • fire alarm communication links works.

For a full list of development standards that apply to fire safety as complying development, please refer to these provisions of the State Policy.

Combustible Cladding

Following the tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 and the fire at the Lacrosse Building in Melbourne in 2014, new laws have been made for buildings with combustible cladding. The laws are part of a whole-of-government response to the fire safety risks posed by external combustible cladding.

These laws are the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2018  and State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (Exempt Development – Cladding and Decorative Work) 2018. They commence on 22 October 2018.

Under the Regulation, owners of certain buildings with external combustible cladding are required to register their building with the NSW Government through a simple, user-friendly online portal. For buildings occupied before 22 October 2018, the deadline for registration is 22 February 2019. Owners of new buildings will be required to register their building within four months of the building first being occupied.

Building types

The Regulation applies to the following building types (both new and existing buildings) of two or more storeys:

  • Residential apartment buildings
  • Other types of residential buildings where unrelated people sleep. For example, hotels, boarding houses, backpackers, student accommodation
  • Aged-care buildings; hospitals and day surgeries (and any associated single dwellings within the building)
  • Public assembly buildings. For example, theatres, cinemas, schools and churches (and any associated single dwellings within the building).

Cladding types

The Regulation applies if any of the above buildings have external combustible cladding made of the following materials:

  • metal composite panels, including products that consist of aluminium, zinc, or copper outer layers and a core material; or
  • insulated cladding systems including systems comprised of polystyrene, polyurethane, and polyisocyanurate.

There are also new provisions in the Regulation that require referral of certain 'alternative solutions' (under the Building Code of Australia) involving external combustible cladding to Fire and Rescue NSW.

How to register your building

  • Visit the Cladding Registration Portal.
  • Read the checklist about registering your building.
  • Read the frequently asked questions here.

Other considerations

  • All works must be structurally adequate, installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
  • 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.
  • Any structures that would be located on public land or on or over a public road (including temporary structures) require separate approval from the relevant council or Roads and Maritime Services under the Roads Act 1993 and the Local Government Act 1993.
  • Generally, complying development cannot be carried out on:
    • land within a heritage conservation area, or a draft heritage conservation area (there are some exceptions, please check the relevant development standards for more information.)
    • land reserved for a public purpose
    • class 1 or 2 land on council’s acid sulfate soils map
    • land in a buffer area
    • land in a river front area
    • land in an ecologically sensitive area
    • environmentally sensitive land
    • land in a protected area
    • land affected by a coastline hazard, coastal hazard or coastal erosion hazard
    • land in a foreshore area
    • land in the 25 Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) counter or a higher ANEF counter
    • unsewered land in a drinking water catchment identified in an environmental planning instruments
    • land declared as a special area
    • land in an environmentally sensitive area
  • In addition, complying development cannot be carried out on land that: