Understanding the Building Certification Process in Australia





For many who are considering adding to their home, the prospect of navigating the certification process with the building council can be exhausting. Building regulations are so complex throughout Australia, they’re almost guaranteed to give you a headache. Those considering an addition to their home need to do their research and consider all of the variables: fire safety, handrails, usage, floor plan, foundation, materials, and green building are all factors that determine your route to securing council approval. With so many factors at play it’s hard to know where to start.


Whether it be a shed or a granny flat, here are the top 5 things to know about securing certification for your renovation.



Small additions to your property are considered ‘exempt’ by the NSW building council. If your addition is considered low-impact, it’s likely to be exempt from the planning development process. You’ll need to examine the full list of exempt additions to determine if you qualify — anything from a footpath or signage all the way to temporary structures can be considered ‘exempt.’ See the full list here.


If you are building a standard home or adding to your home, then you are likely looking to get a complying Development Certificate (CDC). A complying development is a fast track approval process given to structures that meet specific criteria - for the full list look here.




For anything not considered exempt or complying, you’ll need to lodge a development application, which can be a complex process - see full details here.

Your home and its location determine regulations. Multiple factors, such as the size of your plot of land, sewer line location, existing home structure and placement, and zoning all determine the scale and scope of additions that can be made to your home addition.


Although there is some consistency, every local council has a slightly different set of regulations around construction. Woollahra council, Bondi Council, and Newcastle Council are all different, so you’ll need to do a lot of research before lodging your application. Start on the NSW planning website and explore your council’s requirements there.




Still not feeling confident with the planning process? At BIBO, we remove the headache of navigating this complex set of regulations, because we see it as part of the construction process. For more information, get in touch on our website to learn about how we can install a certified studio or prebuilt home in just days, instead of months to years. Or see our products page to find a studio that works for you.

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