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Many minor building works do NOT need Council approval. Installing a cabana, carport, shed, or workshop may not require approval if the proposal meets the relevant development standards set out in the Exempt and Complying Development Codes 2008 State Policy.


Understanding Exempt Development

In order for a structure to comply within the Exempt Development Laws, there are some important guidelines that must be considered. Not all properties will be eligible under the Exempt Development Code.  Here is an outline of some of the general requirements that need to be considered when determining the size and suitability of a particular project.  

•Be a minimum of 900mm away from any boundary on residential zoned land.

•A floor area not exceeding 20sqm in overall size. (Note: 2 x 20sqm developments are allowed within these laws. Any works previously completed without Council approval need to be taken into consideration when determining if your property is suitable)

•Must not connect to an existing building at any point

•Must not exceed 3m in overall height (measured from natural ground level)

•Is non-habitable

•Be located a minimum of 1m from any registered easement


This information is for guidance only and does not contain all the information relevant to every property. For a full list of conditions refer to the NSW Government link - State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).


All products used to construct the cabana, carport, shed, or workshop must meet the Australian Standards including but not limited to:

a.Treated Structural Timbers

b.Engineered floor & roof support timbers

c.Roof Battens

d.Wall Cladding


f.Wind Rating


Your property may be excluded under the Exempt Development Code or have additional requirements. The following may affect the suitability of the property.

a.Fire Rating – BAL Rating

b.Heritage listed land or House

c.Property Size


Visiting the NSW Planning Portal web site will provide details of the property requirements. We also recommend contacting your local Council or planning authority to check what size structure you are able to construct within the Exempt Development Laws.


Frequently Asked Questions

1.Can I build a Granny Flat or Detached Studio under Exempt Development?

Exempt Development states the structure must NOT be habitable and therefore a granny flat or detached studio cannot be constructed under Exempt Development. Approval must be obtained through Council.


2.What requirements are necessary re the delivery & installation of a shed or studio?

A minimum of 800mm gateway access is required and a height clearance of a minimum of 2600mm for large cabins and 2200mm for small sheds. Clear access to the driveway on the day of delivery and during the project. The proposed location must be clean and clear of rubbish and clearly marked out.


3.Can a Bathroom, Laundry or Kitchenette be included?

Under the Exempt Development Code it states a space of specialized nature that is not occupied frequently or for extended periods is not classified as a habitable room. A bathroom, laundry or kitchenette, can therefore be included. Note: Only a kitchenette is allowed which includes Small cooking appliances.


4.Can services be connected to the shed or studio?

A package can be provided with most of our products which includes the electrical and plumbing to the proposed structure however it does NOT include the connection from the structure to the mains. This can be quoted on site and will incur additional charges.  Some properties may require the addition of a pump re the plumbing connection. This would be quoted as an addition. The connection to the mains does not need to be completed at the time and can be done at a later stage if required, should you wish to use your own contractor to complete this work.


5.Do I need to connect to the stormwater drain?

Under the Exempt Development Laws you are NOT allowed to discharge water into an adjoining property and therefore with larger structures most customers install a water tank which sometimes is the easier and more economical option than connecting to the stormwater.


6.Is a site visit necessary?

Yes we recommend a site visit for each property to assess and ensure the correct design and product is provided.