Development Compliance

These topics have been provided to assist customers with Council information.

Note: This advice does not substitute for the full planning controls of North Sydney Council. Site conditions may invalidate any aspect of these controls or this advice.

If you have any specific questions regarding the following, please contact the Planning and Development Advisor:

  1. Phone: 9936 8100
  2. Email:
    *Please include your name and contact telephone number(s) on any email.


Development includes a range of activities including the use of land, the subdivision of land, the erection of a building or structure, work on a building and the demolition of a building.

Generally speaking, all building and demolition work requires an approval from Council. However, there are exceptions for some minor development (see below).

If an activity or land use is not listed in either the Exempt Development or Complying Development schedules of our NSLEP, or any other environmental planning instrument, eg. State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, then you will need Development Consent from Council. If you are unsure of whether you need formal approval for development, please contact Council for advice.


1. Exempt Development

Exempt Development is development that may be carried out without the need for development consent or any formal environmental assessment under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Exempt development relates to minor works, which have minimal environmental impacts.

Exempt development types and controls are primarily listed in the following environmental planning instruments:

There may be some other SEPPs within which exempt development is permitted.

Activities which do not fall within the listed exempt development criteria require approval from Council or a Complying Development Certificate.

If in doubt, contact Council for appropriate advice prior to starting any works on 9936 8100.


2. Complying Development

Complying Development relates to small scale and low impact development that may be carried out if a Complying Development Certificate is obtained from either Council or an accredited private certifier. The Complying Development Certificate is available for download below.

Complying development types and controls are primarily listed in the following environmental planning instruments:

There may be some other SEPPs within which complying development is permitted.


3. Role of the Principal Certifying Authority

The role of a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is to certify the construction phase of development. The PCA is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with the development consent. A PCA can either be a private accredited certifier or a Council employee; it is up to the applicant to decide who to engage.


Private Accredited Certifier

If you choose a private PCA they will have responsibility for the site, including the right to take appropriate action if the development does not comply with the consent in any way. 

Complaints in relation to a development should be referred to the PCA in the first instance, as this is likely to be the person with the most association and familiarity with events occurring on the site.

If the PCA fails to address the concerns raised, Council should be contacted for further assistance.

However, where urgent action is required, or where there is a significant breach of the development consent, the EP&A Act or the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 is involved, it is appropriate to contact Council immediately. 


Making a Complaint against an Accredited Certifier

The Building Professionals Board is responsible for investigating complaints against accredited certifiers. The Board also audits accredited certifiers and councils in their certification role.

Complaints against private accredited certifiers can be made in writing to: Building Professionals Board.

More information about Private Certifiers can be found here.

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