Complying development - site inspections & tree removal

BPB practice advice 11-006 November 2011

Note to readers: practice advice relates to the legislation in force at the time, which may since have been amended. Also, names of organisations and weblinks were correct at time of writing and may have since changed.

The Board is aware of recent instances where complying development certificates (CDCs) have been issued prior to relevant permits being issued or approval granted for the removal of trees located on the subject site.

Clause 1.18(1)(h) of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) requires that in most cases an appropriate permit or development approval be obtained to remove or prune a tree or vegetation from the site prior to the issuing of a CDC.

Instances where a permit or approval is not required include where the tree/s or vegetation are within three metres of the proposed development, less than six metres high and not listed on a significant tree register or register of significant trees kept by a Council.

Clause 129B of the EP&A Regulation requires all certifiers to conduct an inspection of the property prior to the issue of a CDC. Clause 129C requires that the certifier make a record of the site inspection and include details of any feature of the site, or of any building on site, that would result in the proposed development that is the subject of CDC application not being complying development or not complying w ith the Building Code of Australia.

Site inspections are an integral part of the assessment process as they provide the certifying authority with an appreciation of the property's characteristics as well as any potential constraints that may prevent or delay the issue of a CDC.

Certifying authorities are also advised to inform property owners of their obligations with regard to tree and vegetation removal and the appropriate approvals that must be obtained prior to the issue of a CDC.