Requirements for scale models of a proposed development

Any development that involves changes to the building envelope of the city centre requires physical and 3D (electronic) modelling to be included with the development application.



  • Physical and 3D (electronic) models are required for development applications that involve 1 or more of the following:
    • changes to the building landscape of the city centre
    • new developments
    • major alterations and additions costing more than $5 million
    • buildings over 3 storeys.
  • We must review your models before the development application is lodged. You’ll receive a model certificate to lodge with your application as proof.
  • We strongly recommend contacting our modelling team to discuss your requirements.
  • Physical and digital models can only be lodged at Town Hall House customer service centre to be reviewed by our modelling team.

Electronic models

The requirements for 3D CAD models can be downloaded here.

Specification for developments requiring 3D CAD modelsPDF · 436.27 KB · Last modified

Physical models 

The model scale is to be 1:500 and detailed to show all:

  • setbacks
  • colonnades
  • balconies
  • significant fenestration
  • roof detail
  • parapets
  • plant rooms.

All buildings within your site boundaries need to be modelled in detail, including existing buildings that will be retained or adapted in the development.

The model construction is to be of a professional standard using only approved materials including:

  • timber
  • acrylic
  • PVC
  • solid polystyrene.

Unacceptable model construction materials include:

  • starch-based rapid prototype medium
  • polystyrene foam
  • balsawood
  • cardboard.

The model needs to be spray-painted flat white.

Site context

The model needs to show its relationship to the surrounding areas and buildings on an incremental scale showing a distance of:

  • 100m for buildings up to 10 storeys
  • 200m for buildings over 10 storeys.

Surrounding roads need to be labelled in title block with the address, north point and context shown in a contrasting colour (light grey). Clear acrylic lids are not to be fixed and must be removable without tools.

If the site context has already been modelled by us, it does not need to be supplied by the applicant. Templates of applicants' sites that have already been modelled by us are available from our modelling team.


The individual model of the proposed development needs to be able to be removed from its base and the site context. The footprint of the individual model should extend from reduced level (RL) 0.0 (Australian Height Datum) and be of solid construction (not on stilts).

Models should not be larger than 800mm × 800 mm or weigh more than 25kg.

Construction certificates

After application approval, if there have been any external changes or if an authority other than the City of Sydney provided development approval, an updated model is required before a construction certificate can be issued.

The model must be an honest representation of the finished building. Providing extra models to a larger scale is at the discretion of the applicant.