Repairs and maintenance of structures

The NSW planning system allows repairs, maintenance and other works to many existing lawful waterway structures such as jetties, mooring pens, boatsheds and slipways throughout NSW to be undertaken as 'exempt' or 'complying' development (see State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP)).

Exempt development comprises development of a specified class or type that has minimal environmental impact and that, subject to meeting specified development standards, can be carried out without development consent.

Complying development is development of a particular type or class that can be approved by an accredited certifier or local council pursuant to a complying development certificate (CDC). As with exempt development, complying development is subject to specific pre-determined development standards.

Not all development can be complying development, for example, it must be development that is permissible with development consent, which means that waterway structures relying on existing use rights are precluded.

The Department of Planning and Environment has more information on the exempt and complying development provisions for waterway structures (PDF).

As set out in the Codes SEPP, exempt and complying development must not involve disturbance of, or injury to, the bed of any waterway or injury to any marine vegetation, among other things. However the replacement of damaged or degraded piles can be carried out as complying development subject to the use of silt curtains, ensuring that no deterioration in water quality occurs and no spill enters the waterway.

Although Roads and Maritime Services is a 'consent authority' for water-based structures in Sydney Harbour, it does not undertake the role of an accredited certifier and cannot issue CDCs. Any complying development proposals for water-based structures will therefore require certification from an accredited certifier or local council.

Leaseholders of water-based structures on Roads and Maritime land seeking to carry out complying development will need to apply for permission to lodge in accordance with the Roads and Maritime Services’ guidelines prior to the issuing of any CDC.

In addition to the need to obtain permission to lodge for complying development proposals, standard conditions imposed by tenure agreements over waterway structures require leaseholders to advise Roads and Maritime Services prior to commencing any works, including exempt and complying development. Before commencing any works that are complying development, a copy of the CDC should be supplied to Roads and Maritime Services.

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