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The Codes SEPP

Greenfield Housing Code

The Greenfield Housing Code (the Code) speeds up delivery of new homes in greenfield areas (urban release areas) across NSW.

The Code is part of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (State Policy) and:

  • simplifies the standards in the State Policy for greenfield areas
  • tailors development standards to suit market demand, housing types and lot sizes typically delivered in greenfield areas; and
  • increases the take-up of complying development to help achieve faster housing approvals.

The Code applies to greenfield areas across NSW. The code allows 1-2 storey homes, alterations, and additions to be carried out under the complying development approval pathway.

The complying development approvals issued under the Code can be approved within 20 days, compared to an average of 71 days for the development applications.

Consistent with the Housing Code, the proposed development must be permissible under the council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to be assessed as complying development.

Additionally, complying development cannot be carried out in:

  • state or locally listed heritage items and heritage conservation areas
  • land reserved for public purposes
  • environmentally sensitive areas and areas excluded by Councils based on local circumstances.

For more information, check the State Policy.

The Code commenced on 6 July 2018.

Am I in a greenfield area?

Between 20 to 30 per cent of new homes are in greenfield areas of Sydney. Other growth areas in NSW such as the Hunter Valley, Illawarra and North Coast have also seen a significant number of homes being built in greenfield areas.

Applicants can find out if their property is in a greenfield area and eligible to use the Greenfield Housing Code by checking the relevant Local Government Area map on the NSW Planning Portal or the NSW Legislation. The Greenfield Housing Code maps were updated on 2 December 2022 to incorporate several areas that have now been rezoned to residential and to clarify where the Greenfield Housing Code applies.

Simplified and tailored development standards

The Greenfield Housing Code was developed with the input of the community and stakeholders. It includes standards that are tailored to suit greenfield sites such as:

  • setback controls
  • minimum landscaping controls
  • a tree planted in the front and rear gardens

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.

The standards for complying development were developed to balance the rights of owners to develop their property while protecting the amenity of their neighbours. The policy requires buildings to be set back from side boundaries in relation to their height, so as a building gets taller, it must be set back further from the boundary. This ensures development does not have an adverse impact on neighbouring residents.

Implementation of the Greenfield Housing Code

The Greenfield Housing Code was developed in close consultation with councils and industry stakeholders. This was to ensure amenity, privacy and design considerations were incorporated into the development standards to achieve good design outcomes for new dwellings in greenfield areas.

The image below shows a timeline of the Greenfield Housing Code came into effect and for how long the Housing Code or the Transitional Housing Code could be used.


There was a three-year transitional period until July 2019, when applicants could choose whether to use the Greenfield Housing Code or the Housing Code or Transitional Code.

The Greenfield Housing Code came into effect on 6 July 2018 to provide sufficient time to help the community and stakeholders to understand the Code.

 If an applicant wanted to undertake complying development in a Greenfield Housing Code Area, they could use the Greenfield Housing Code from 6 July 2018. Alternatively, they could use the Housing Code up to 6 July 2021 or the Transitional Housing Code (formerly the General Housing Code) up to 13 July 2019.

 After 13 July 2019, the complying development approvals for the Greenfield areas should rely on the provisions in the Greenfield Housing Code.

Summary of the development standards

Easy-to-use summary tables of the development standards created for industry professionals, including council planners, certifiers, building designers and architects.

Using the Greenfield Housing Code

Where to go for more information

For more information, contact [email protected] or call the Codes Hotline on 13 77 88.

Last updated: 28/06/2023