This section outlines the information available on planning approvals for you to explore.
Pre-lodgement (Find out what type of planning approval you need)
If you are thinking of setting up a business (either small or large scale) or changing the use of an existing business, it is important to determine what type of planning approval you need.
You may not need planning approval, you may be eligible for a streamlined approval process or you may be required to lodge a full development application with Council.
If required, it is your responsibility to provide all the required information and to make sure your Development Application provides enough detail to enable council to make a decision.
Providing an assessment-ready application, with all required information will save time and money, for both you and council.
Check your intended business is permitted at your chosen location
Before you purchase or lease a premises, it is important to ensure that the premises' location is suitable for your intended use of the business.
To check these land permissions you will firstly need to know the zoning associated with the current (or intended) business location.
There are 3 ways to check the zoning of the businesses location
1) Firstly we recommend visiting the Service NSW for Business website and completing their property report tool.
Access the Property Report Tool here
2) Different zones and land uses are also detailed in Council's:
The Hills Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2019 (Web Page)
3) and summarised in Council's:
Land Use Matrix (PDF)
Complying with Relevant Development Controls and Regulations
Next, check your intended business, and any proposed fit out works, comply with the relevant controls under The Hills Shire Council Development Control Plan (DCP) 2012.
This is to ensure that the business complies with controls that may include (but are not limited to):
- Car parking
- Hours of operation
- Noise controls
- Floor space ratios
- Access and movement etc.
You will need to do some research to determine if your business will comply by reading the following DCP documents:
- Part A - Introduction
- Part B - Section 6 and/or 7
- All of Part C - General Documents and;
- Any Site Specific documents listed in Part D
These documents are found on The Hills Shire Council Website Here.
Check your Business will Meet Building and Fire Safety Requirements
You will need to investigate compliance with:
- Fire safety measures
- Building Code of Australia (BCA) compliance and
- Other related building regulations.
Where a building is subject to an existing performance solution or fire engineering report, a review of the proposed use may be required to ensure it is consistent with the with the report. This will need to be undertaken by a Building Surveyor - Unrestricted or Certifier- Fire Safety and written confirmation will be requested.
Where a DA is lodged for a change of building use where the applicant does proposes the rebuilding, alteration, enlargement or extension to an existing building, Council need to consider if there are sufficient measures to assist occupants getting out of the building in the event of a fire and if provisions to restrict fire spread are satisfactory.
In determining the application, Council staff may impose conditions requiring the building to be upgraded partially or totally in conformity with the current Building Code of Australia.
Where a DA is lodged for a change of building use for an existing building where the applicant does not seek the rebuilding, alteration, enlargement or extension of a building, in determining the application, Council is to take into consideration whether the fire protection and structural capacity of the building will be appropriate for the building’s proposed use.
Consent must not be granted unless Council is satisfied that the building complies (or will, when completed, comply) with Category 1 fire safety provisions (under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000) which are applicable to the building’s proposed use.
The obligation to comply with the Category 1 fire safety provisions may require building work to be carried out even though none is proposed. Where building works are required, a construction certificate must be obtained prior to the commencement of the building work.
Advice from a Building Surveyor - Unrestricted will need to be provided, addressing:
- Fire protection and structural capacity of the building, and
- Category 1 fire safety provisions.
Fire protection and structural capacity of the building means:
- The structural strength and load-bearing capacity of the building
- The measures to protect persons using the building, and to facilitate their egress from the building, in the event of fire
- The measures to restrict the spread of fire from the building to other buildings nearby.
Category 1 fire safety provision means EP1.3, EP1.4, EP1.6, EP2.1, EP2.2, EP3.2 & P2.3.2 of the Building Code of Australia.
Council’s Fire safety team can provide pre-lodgement Building Code/Fire safety advice in accordance with Council’s fees and charges. Please contact Council’s Customer service staff to arrange a meeting.
Statement of Environmental Effects
A Statement of Environmental Effects is a report that details the likely environmental and social impacts of the proposed development and the proposed measures to address any expected harm to the environment or community.
To produce a thorough Statement of Environmental Effects you should seek out the services of a suitably qualified and experienced Town Planning Consultant to assist you in preparing the necessary documentation to accompany your development application.
Understanding the Three Levels of Development Approval
Next you need to understand what types of development require which level of approval
There are some types of development that do not require development consent (known as exempt development).
Exempt and complying development for cafés:
Exempt and complying development for hairdressers and salons:
Exempt and complying development for a retail shop or office:
Structures constructed as exempt development are usually smaller projects that do not require any approval due to their low-impact nature and scale, so long as they meet all of the development standards listed for the type of work.
The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 outlines various forms of development that may be constructed as ‘exempt’ development.
Additional forms of exempt development that are listed in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 have been included in The Hills Local Environment Plan 2019.
To assist in understanding the exempt development requirements and limitations for residential, commercial and industrial sites, visit the Planning & Environment NSW's website:
Visit the Planning & Environment NSW website
There are some types of development that may be approved via a fast track approval system (known as complying development) that involves combined planning and construction approval.
Fact Sheet - Complying Development(PDF, 1MB)
More information is available from the NSW Planning Portal.
Need further assistance? Contact Council’s specialised team, The Hills Certifiers, for further information on 02 9843 0301 or visit HillsCertifiers.com.au.
Lodging a Development Consent Application with The Hills Shire Council
If your proposed work does not meet the criteria of exempt or complying development then you will need to obtain development consent by lodging a Development Application with Council.
More Information on the Development Application Process is available here
Need Further Assistance? We can help
Council's Development Assessment Team are available to guide you through the DA process.
Contact them here