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Getting renovation approvals


Do you need council approval before you start renovating your home? Find out about the 3 types of approvals.

Once you have finalised your renovation plans, the next step is determining if your renovation needs development approvals from the local council. Without council approvals you could face fines, have to remove the new alterations or additions, and potentially live next door to disgruntled neighbours. So it’s best to play it safe and check with your local council to see what’s required before you start to renovate.

Renovation approvals can fall into categories: 

1. No approvals required: if you plan a minor home renovation such as a replacing a kitchen, bathroom, internal or external doors in a ‘like-for-like’ style then generally you won’t need council approvals, but it is always best to check first! To ensure you have the right information about complying home renovations visit the NSW Planning Portal and your local council before you start work. 

2. Approvals required: if your home renovation includes additions such as a new deck, shed or a second level then it’s generally best to check with your local council to see if the plans need development approval. Research what’s needed by your local council by visiting its website for more information, as this varies from one council to another.  

3. Complying development: a complying development generally means your plans fall within the ‘fast-track approval process’. There are many types of renovations that could fall within this category from building a fence through to building a new home. The eligibility varies based on the scope of your plans so it’s best to check this with the NSW Planning Portal to be certain whether your renovation is a complying development or not. 

If your development is eligible for fast-tracked approvals or requires a development application through council then a BASIX Certificate will be needed to support your application. A Basix Certificate is to ensure your plans comply with sustainability measures which will ensure your home will be water and energy efficient. For example, this could be the position of the windows to warm the house naturally during winter, the installation of water tanks for water conservation or ensuring appropriate insulation is used throughout the house.  

While not a legal requirement, you could also consider letting your neighbours know you have renovation plans, even if it doesn’t affect them or change their view they will still hear the construction noise so it’s always a nice neighbourly deed to let them know of your plans. 

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Before you act on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. Applications subject to credit approval and fees and charges are payable. Terms and conditions apply and are available on request.

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