Launch of New Housing Code for NSW

On Monday 17 July 2017 new planning controls for obtaining complying development approval for new 1 or 2 storey dwelling houses, including alterations and additions, begins in NSW. These changes will take effect through a new and simplified Housing Code within State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) and are designed to make it easier, cheaper and faster for homeowners to understand and obtain complying development approval for complying residential development.

The new Housing Code, which will replace the existing General Housing Code in the Codes SEPP, does not materially change the type of housing development that can currently be approved as complying development. The main changes under the new Housing Code is the simplification of language and the use of diagrams to assist homeowners to understand the planning rules. These changes have been made following feedback that the previous General Housing Code in the Codes SEPP was difficult to understand and apply due to its technical and legal language.

In addition to the new Housing Code, the online lodgement and information services for complying development certificates are also changing. The Electronic Housing Code (EHC), which previously enabled the online lodgement of complying development certificates was decommissioned on 23 June and will cease to operate at 9pm on Friday 14 July. Applications currently under assessment will need to be determined within the EHC by that time. Everything you could do under the EHC, such as investigating assessment options or prepare, submit or lodge a complying development application, is proposed to be moved to the NSW Planning Portal. The timeframe for the delivery of these new online services via the Planning Portal has not yet been announced. In the meantime, complying development applications can continue to be submitted to an accredited certifier or with the relevant council.

These changes are designed to enhance the effectiveness of the complying development system in NSW for low impact works by cutting red tape, saving time and money for homeowners and providing more certainty for certifiers and councils when assessment proposals, which overall, is hoped to enable faster and more efficient delivery of housing in NSW.

This post was prepared by Sophie Jacobs with the assistance of Michael Winram.


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