Temporary uses and structures

A range of temporary structures for private or community events, filming, as well as specified temporary uses of land and buildings may not need planning approval (known as exempt development) if the proposal meets the relevant development standards identified in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).

Development standards

The State Policy identifies specific development standards relating to:

Generally, to be considered exempt development temporary uses and structures must:

  • have written consent from the owner of the land on which the development is carried out (this includes a council or other public authority)
  • not restrict any car parking required by a condition of a development consent applying to the land, or any vehicular or pedestrian access to or from the land
  • be able to resist loads determined in accordance with the relevant Australian and New Zealand Standards
  • be erected on a surface that is sufficiently firm and level to sustain the structure while in use,
  • have an approval for the use of the land related to the purpose of the temporary structure
  • not redirect the flow of any surface water or ground water, or cause sediment to be transported onto an adjoining property
  • not result in damage to any protected tree on or adjoining the site.

The person carrying out the development must also have a public liability insurance policy for an amount agreed to by the owner of the land.

Please refer to these provisions in the State Policy for a list of development standards relating to temporary structures as 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: