Approvals NSW

Approvals – NSW

Navigating council requirements is a tedious process all around Australia.
If you’re in NSW wondering if you need approval – you’ve come to the right place!
Every single block in NSW is different, and has different control plans set in place.
Sometimes, certain restrictions on your block will prevent you from getting any specific approvals. First Sheds always recommends calling your local council or certifier to discuss further before building.

Below is a short and general set of guidelines you can follow when deciding to build your shed. There are multiple ways to build your shed within Australian legislation:

– DA and CDC Exempt Structures
– Complying Development Certificate
– Development Application and Construction Certificate (DA and CC)

The easiest way to build a shed in NSW is of course trying to design it within the exempt requirements. The second easiest is through a private certifier issuing a CDC, and the longest and most expensive process is a Development Application.

First thing’s first, you need to find out what type of zoning your property has. You can find this with a quick online search on the NSW Planning portal, or you can chat to your certifier.

Feel free to give us a call for further information on 6242 5927
Otherwise for more information, you can chat to your local council, certifier, or an approvals expert such as Simple Site Plans

If your block is RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4 or RU6, you’re in luck! You have specific exemption criteria for exempt farm sheds which other blocks do not. For all other zoned blocks (e.g. R1-R5, RU5, E2-E4,) exempt sheds can only go up to 20m2 (a single garage is still within this size).

Having the right block zone isn’t enough to an exempt shed. There is still a few pieces of criteria you need to follow.

FOR BLOCKS RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, or RU6 (maximum 200m2):

  • Shed must be a Class 10 structure, and not habitable.
  • Shed must not be constructed in a heritage or environmentally sensitive area (your local council can let you know if your block is in this area).
  • If your block is smaller than 10ha, your shed height can be no higher than 7m. If your block is bigger than 10ha, your shed must be no higher than 10m.
  • Each shed’s building footprint must not exceed 200m2 (including any awnings). For example, a 10m x 20m or an 8m x 25m shed would be fine. However a 12m x 30m would be too large.
  • Farm Buildings must be located at least 6m from any other farm building.
  • Shed must be designed and constructed in accordance with a professional engineers specifications.
  • Farm Buildings must be at least 20m from any road boundary, and have setbacks from other boundaries too. If the shed is 100m2 or less, the setback from other boundaries is 10m, If the shed is 100m2 – 200m2, the setback from other boundaries is 50m.
  • Lastly, there is no limit to how many Farm Sheds you would like to put on your property, however there is a maximum amount of floor area.
  • If your block is 0-4 ha, you can take up to 2.5% of the entire land area.
  • If your block is 4-10 ha, you can only have a total of 1,000m2 of exempt Farm Shed.
  • If your block is >10 ha, you can only have a total of 2,000m2 of exempt Farm Shed.

FOR BLOCKS R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, RU5, E2, E3, E4 (maximum 20m2) or BLOCKS RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU6 (maximum 50m2):

  • Shed must be class 10 and not habitable.
  • Shed must be at least 1m from any registered easement.
  • Only 2 exempt structures are allowed per lot.
  • Shed must be designed and constructed in accordance with a professional engineers specifications.
  • For RU1,2,3,4,6 – must be 5m from any boundary.
  • For R1,2,3,4,5,RU5,E2,3,4 – must be 900mm from any boundary.
  • Sheds must be no more than 3m high (above existing ground level).
  • Must be behind the building line of any road frontage (rural exempt).
  • Must be comprised of metal, low reflective and pre coloured materials.
  • May not affect any entry/exits to adjacent buildings for fire safety measures.

First Sheds always recommends chatting to your local certifier or council before making any decisions, but if you stay within these guidelines, you should be pretty set to build your exempt Building! If any of these conditions are too much of a hassle, this does not mean that your dream shed is unattainable. It simply means that you will need to apply for a DA and CC or a Complying development Certificate.

To check out a few exempt Farm Sheds we have completed on RU1 blocks, you can see some of our projects below.

8m x 20m Gundaroo

10.5m x 19m Murrumbateman

6m x 12m Mount Fairy.

You can check out the full legislation for Exempt and Complying sheds through the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

Complying Development Certificate:

A complying Development Certificate (or CDC), is a way to build a larger shed, without needing a DA and CC. A Complying Development Certificate is based off state wide legislation, and can be completed through a private certifier. The benefit of this, is that you do not need to go through your local council. This saves on cost, as well as on time. A good certifier can usually turn a CDC around in a week or so. In comparison, a DA and CC with a council (though it varies from council to council), can take 2-4 months.
CDC’s can not be completed on any environmental living land (zones E2, E3, E4). As mentioned every block is different. If you show your planning certificate to a certifier, they should be able to tell you if a CDC is applicable to your block or not (a planning certificate can be found in the sale contract for when you purchased the property).

The full legislation can be found here.

Basic Guidelines:

  • Maximum Floor area of a detached development depends on the lot size.
    200m2 – 300m2 – 36m2
    300m2 – 600m2 – 45m2
    600m2 – 900m2 – 60m2
    >900m2 – 100m2
    Can go larger for rural – completely depends on the block. Chat to us or your certifier.
  • Side Setbacks:
    If lot size is more than 4000m2, a 5m side setback is required
    If lot is less than 4000m2, it depends on the width of the block at the building line.
    6m – 18m – 900mm setback
    18m – 24m – 1.5m setback
    >24m – 2.5m setback
  • Maximum height 4.8m
  • Must be behind the building line of a dwelling (or at least 50m setback, if the house is further than that).
  • Cannot be in a heritage or conservation area.

Specific Zone Requirements:

  • Zone RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4 RU6 – lot size must be more than 4000m2.
  • Zone RU5, R1, R2, R3, R4 – lot size must be more than 200m2, width of lot at building line must be at least 6m.
  • Zone R5 – lot size must be at least 800m2, width of lot at building line must be at least 18m.

Maximum Gross Floor Area of all buildings on block (includes houses or other sheds).

RU5, R1, R2, R3, R4, R5:
Block Size 200m2 – 300m2 – 75% of lot area
Block Size 300m2 – 350m2 – 235m2
Block size 450m2 – 1400m2 – 25% of lot area + 150m2
Block size >1400m2 – 500m2

Give your certifier or us a call to discuss if a complying development certificate is applicable to your block.

A Development Application and Construction certificate is the third way to legally construct your shed. The DA process varies from council to council, as well as the associated rules. For example, the fees are slightly different between Yass Valley council, Queanbeyan Palerang Council, and Snowy Monaro Council.

Development applications in Yass Valley, QPRC, Snowy Monaro etc, generally take about 8 – 14 weeks. This varies greatly on the scope of the development, and if all required documents have been supplied.

When getting a Development Application, you will also need to get a Construction Certificate (whereas a complying development certificate counts for both of these).

Each council will have what’s called a “Development Control Plan” (also a DCP). Within this plan will have all setback requirements, size requirements, etc. These can be found with a quick google search.

For general guidelines, please see the QPRC common development works page. The information is very similar for all councils and can be found here.

Development Applications are very different for every individual block. For any specific questions to your block, its best to get in touch with your local council, or give us a call for more information on 6242 5927.


Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m
Weekends By Appointment


2/48 Hoskins Street Mitchell