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Why does your dual occupancy home project need a Complying Development Certificate? - 25 Aug, 2021

Most construction projects in Australia require some form of development approval, whether it be a Complying Development Certificate, construction certificate or development consent. Very rarely would a project be considered as an exempt development and not require any form of approval. These varying approval requirements are based on the development’s impact on the environment and community. For dual occupancy home projects, development approval in the form of a Complying Development Certificate is needed.

Dual occupancy homes or duplexes are single residential buildings that encompass two dwellings (under one roof). These dwellings are usually divided by a shared wall or shared floor/ceiling. If these dwellings are subdivided, they can also be sold separately.


Why do dual occupancy home projects need a Complying Development Certificate?


The answer as to why any development needs approval lies in ensuring that the design is safe and will not harm the environment or the community where it will be located. Many people are unaware that dual occupancy homes are not exempt from approval. While the construction of a dual occupancy home may be considered minor when compared to a larger project like a commercial building, it can still make a significant impact on the environment and its community.
Any development that’s considered as a complying development usually contains projects that are more significant than exempt developments (builds exempt from obtaining approval) but are generally not as major as projects that require development consent. However, because they are still considered as more significant than an exempt development 'sign off' by a building professional (known as a certifier) is needed. These developments may also be subject to conditions of approval to protect surrounding uses during the construction period and the life of the complying development.
In most cases, a Complying Development Certificate will be awarded when a development complies with pre-determined development standards and satisfies a code-based assessment.

Where can I find the standards to satisfy the requirements for a complying development?

If you’re interested in finding out the requirements for a dual occupancy home, note that the majority of complying development types, as well as their development standards, can be found in the State Policy.

You can find the relevant information on the NSW Legislation website under:


If you are considering building a dual occupancy home, then we highly recommend that you contact our ES Design team. Designs and complying development checklists can be extremely difficult to fill out independently, however, our team will be more than happy to guide you through the process and help you acquire your Complying Development Certificate.


Dual occupancy homes are classed under the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code because it is a complying development


What is the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code?

This code facilitates a diverse range of housing and allows specific developments to be fast-tracked under the complying development approval. This code was developed by the NSW Government to create robust neighbourhoods and communities that are fit for future challenges and change and that develop more desirable and livable communities. Here are a few factors that drove the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code.

  • The NSW population will increase by 2.9 million people by 2041

  • More housing diversity that suited a range of lifestyles was needed

  • More affordable housing options were needed in Sydney

How do dual occupancy homes fit into this?

Dual occupancy homes are one of the types of developments that can be fast-tracked. In fact, approvals under the fast-track complying development pathway can be issued in as little as 20 days, saving homeowners thousands of dollars.

It should be noted that the following must occur for dual occupancy homes to be fast-tracked under the Code:
  • They must be built as complying developments are only allowed in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where this type of housing is already permitted under a council's Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

  • The proposal must comply with all the relevant requirements in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP).

  • The developments must meet all of the development standards in the Code and the Design Criteria in the Low Rise Housing Diversity Design Guide for complying developments.

  • Dual occupancies must be built in currently approved zones (this was discussed above).

At ES Design our team works with you to ensure that you get exactly what you want from your home. We know that acquiring building development approvals for any type of build can be complicated and overwhelming which is why our team is prepared to help you.
To find out more about our building design and drafting services, call us on (02) 9787 2000.