Complying development certificates

Online lodgements are here to stay

The NSW Planning Portal is accepting most building applications.

Find out which applications need to be lodged online.

Temporary structure applications including hoarding and on-site hoisting must be emailed. Download your form and we'll be in touch for the supporting documents.

Low-impact development

Complying development certificates are issued for specified types of low-impact development that don’t require a full development application.

Complying development provides a fast-track approval process, while ensuring stringent planning and environmental requirements are met through a set of prescribed approval conditions.

Some categories of work that are complying development:

  • Alterations and additions to an existing dwelling
  • Construction of a secondary dwelling
  • Small retail and commercial development
  • Internal alterations (fit-outs) of commercial buildings
  • Fit-out of a food shop
  • Street awnings and business signs.

How to apply

Complying development certificate applications must be made on the NSW Planning Portal.

View our document requirements.

If your application is incomplete, you will receive details on what is required on the portal.

Once your application is complete and accepted for lodgement, our team will contact you for payment.

Your application won’t be lodged until the application fees have been paid.

To obtain a fee quote please contact us on 02 9265 9333 or review the City’s schedule of fees and charges.

File format and naming

All documents including plans must be submitted as PDF files no larger than 300MB.  Files need to be supplied with a descriptive file name in line with our digital requirements.


Once lodged, your application will be allocated to a registered certifier. The certifier will contact you if any further information is required.

Notifying neighbours

You must notify neighbours if you use the complying development system to carry out works in residential zones.

Neighbours within a 20m radius of the site will be notified by the registered certifier when they are processing a complying development application within a residential zone.

Neighbourhood notification requirements showing properties affected within a 20m boundary radius from the fence line.

If you are unsure about whether you are located in a residential zone you can check the land zoning maps or apply for a zoning certificate.

Neighbours have no objection rights to a complying development proposal because it meets minimum impact criteria on surrounding properties.

Development contributions

Some complying development may require a contribution towards public amenities and services.

For complying development, accredited certifiers are responsible for calculating the contribution in line with our relevant development contributions plan.

If a contribution is required, a condition requiring payment of the contribution is to be included in the complying development certificate.

You must pay the contribution before commencing the complying development works.


The determination will be issued on the NSW Planning Portal, including any supporting documents such as approved stamped plans.

Appointing a principal certifier

After the certificate is issued, a principal certifier must be appointed to ensure the works comply.  If you decide to use the City of Sydney as the principal certifier, you need to apply through the NSW Planning Portal.

Once your appointment form is complete and accepted for lodgement on the NSW Planning Portal, we will contact you to make payment of the fees.

Notice of work commencing must be provided to us at least 48 hours before works begin.

Obtaining an occupation certificate

At completion of works and before you occupy or use the building/structure, you must obtain an occupation certificate from the principal certifier. You need to lodge the application on the NSW Planning Portal.

Last updated: Wednesday, 1 July 2020