Complying Development Certificate (CDC)

June 2022 AFT News: Complying Development Certificate (CDC)

Local Councils, as the regulatory bodies for buildings in NSW, are required by legislation to ensure all existing buildings are brought up to a current level of life-safety. This means that for a number of reasons, your building may be served with a council fire upgrade order:

      • DA, CDC or non-compliant AFSS submission
      • Complaint regarding fire and life safety
      • Random or planned Council site visit

A Council Fire Order upgrade often requires that the building improves the life and fire safety, including improving fire rating of building components, installation of some alarms, smoke detection, emergency & exit lighting, sprinklers, etc.

Council has the legislative right to make this order, so owners receiving one should act immediately to get advice from AFT Fire Protection.

What is a Complying Development Certificate (CDC)?
Put simply, a CDC is approval for development and combines planning and construction plans. A CDC is awarded when a development complies with pre-determined development standards and is judged against a code-based assessment.  A CDC can be granted for commercial buildings, residential buildings and industrial buildings and projects.

Who came up with CDC compliance?
CDC compliance was developed and introduced by the NSW government. The government introduced this certificate to streamline the development approval process for development proposals that are categorized as low-impact and routine.

This allowed the NSW government to exclusively use their merit-based systems for more complex projects, or projects that are more time-sensitive. Under the current NSW planning process, a development certificate is required for the majority of buildings.

What Complying Development Standards?
Where proposed building works are more significant than what Exempt Development allows, an approval under Complying Development may be appropriate. Unless development meets the criteria for Exempt Development, an approval must be issued before starting any work.

The first step in lodging an application for Complying Development is to determine whether any planning controls apply to the land which may exclude venturing down the CDC pathway. A Section 10.7 Planning Certificate can be obtained from your local Council or from the NSW Planning Portal. The 10.7 Planning Certificate outlines any planning controls or restrictions which apply to the land, and which SEPP’s can be used to assess the proposed development.

Where the land is determined suitable for Complying Development, the proposed development must be assessed against the requirements of a SEPP, and all works must comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. Approval under Complying Development does not override private covenants or similar legal instruments. For example, a covenant that requires a specific construction material, or that limits building heights, continues to apply to the land. 

What is a section 149 certificate or Section 10.7 Planning Certificate?
If your premises have been registered with your local council, you will be able to obtain a 149 certificate, a zoning certificate typically generated by the local council.   Usually, a section 149 certificate will cost around $60 dollars to obtain, and it includes information such as how the property may be used (e.g., commercial, residential) and information about any development restrictions that the building may be subject to. If the section 149 certificate states businesses are allowed to trade from the address, you can hire a PCA (Private Certifying Authority) to report to the council about CDC on your behalf.

The Online 10.7 Planning Certificate Service allows applicants and councils to work together on requests for 10.7 Planning Certificates through shared digital dashboards. The service is not mandatory but will be available in those local government areas where councils choose to adopt it.

The Online 10.7 Planning Certificate Service will be integrated with other digital services on the NSW Planning Portal. This will enable customers to use their online 10.7 application to start either a Development Application (DA) or a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) Application. The reverse is also possible: customers will be able to use their DA or CDC application to start an online 10.7 application.

Who can give CDC approval and issue a CDC?
A CDC can either be issued by a local council or a third-party private accredited certifier. If you hire a private company to issue a CDC, your local council must still be informed.  For a CDC to be valid, it is essential either the council or a private building professional issue the CDC before any building or construction work begins. 

What is the role of a private certifying authority (PCA)?
The main role of a PCA is to issue approvals for construction proposals. They consider applications for CDC’s and ensure that proposals comply with local and state codes, e.g. the Building Code of Australia.

CDC approval: other legislative requirements

      • A CDC is not necessarily the only legislative requirement for a proposal to be approved, the following legislative documents may also be required…
      • Permits
      • License’s
      • Environmental plans

How do I find out more info? You can visit the NSW planning portal for more information on CDC approval and it’s fast-tracked approval process for building work.

Does fit-out work require a building permit?
If your fit-out involves relocating or building partitions, a building permit is most likely required. Any fit-out work that may affect the fire safety, air conditioning or emergency accessibility of a building will require a permit from an accredited certifier.

How long does the CDC application and CDC approval last?
A CDC inspection must be completed at least two days prior to construction or demolition work commencing. Inspections will be completed as necessary throughout the construction process, and as long as there are no issues, the CDC approval and application processes will finish after all construction work is complete.

What are Developing Applications (DA)?
Basically, a DA is a formal request to begin developing a property. For example, if you wish to remodel or renovate your home, you should submit a DA to your council before commencing any work.   The council will ensure your plans meet any relevant development standards and won’t have any negative effects on surrounding areas.

What is the difference between CDC & DA?
A CDC combines planning and construction approval applications and fast-tracks straightforward development applications through the approval process.  As a CDC can be conducted by both private certifiers and local councils, the CDC approval process is usually faster than a DA.  On the other hand, a DA is an assessment that is merit-based that must be completed by the council.   DA approval is a two-step process, and assessments are only completed once before the work begins, and once after it has been completed.

When are DAs required?
Whether you are planning small scale residential work, or are looking to redesign your business premises, a DA is required for most complying development work.  For example, a DA is required when development will use land, involve removing or pruning trees, demolition work, erecting new buildings and subdividing land.  Some minor developments, named exempt developments, do not require a DA but it is always advisable to check with your local council to avoid fines and other serious repercussions.

For more information, get in contact with Mark Hegarty at AFT FIRE

COVID-19 UPDATE– 19th JULY 2021

COVID-19 Update – 19th July 2021

AFT Fire staff being vaccinated & routinely tested


As of the 18th July the NSW Government has implemented additional COVID-19 related restrictions.


The NSW Government Department of Planning requirements include:

  • The inspection & maintenance of essential fire safety measures & issuing the AFSS is still required during the pandemic – subject to public health advice.
    • “The inspection, testing and maintenance of essential fire safety measures installed in certain buildings such as apartment buildings, nursing homes and commercial premises is necessary to promote the safety of occupants. This is of particular relevance during this time when some buildings are being occupied for longer periods of time than usual. A fire safety statement verifies that the essential fire safety measures have been assessed and will operate to the required standard. An annual fire safety statement also verifies that the fire exit systems in the building have been inspected.”
  • Access into apartments for an inspection of essential fire safety measures”
    • “Fire safety practitioners need to have access to a building both internally and externally (as required) to do an appropriate inspection and assessment of all essential fire safety measures. However, practitioners should ensure they comply with relevant public health advice and where necessary use appropriate personal protective equipment to provide for the safety of both building occupants and practitioners.”


NSW Government public health orders

The government website does not specially refer to those businesses maintaining essential fire safety measures other than stating essential services must be maintained and works are permitted within residences if it is necessary for the safety of the site.


The Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA)

The FPAA is our industry representative & has been liaising with the NSW Government with regards to the restrictions, “authorised workers” & the requirement to test & maintain essential fire safety measures & to issue the AFSS is a timely manner.

The FPAA’s position includes:

  • the following work must continue on fire safety systems and features during the lockdown period:  
    • routine service work;
    • annual assessment; and
    • rectification maintenance.
  • all work must be carried out using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety procedures. 

In light of the above advice, AFT Fire Protection will continue to provide our “essential” services as currently scheduled.


AFT Fire Protection will maintain the following preventative measures:

  • None of our field tech team live or work in the Fairfield, Liverpool or Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas.
  • The three admin. staff living in the Fairfield, Liverpool or Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas are working from home.
  • Staff will not to enter apartments if the occupant:
    • requests us not to;
    • are self isolating or have flu like symptoms.
  • Practice good hand hygiene at all times
  • To wear face masks and disposable gloves when conducting works within the close proximity of people. Most importantly, when entering apartments to conduct inspections and remedial works.
  • Avoid close contact with others. To practice social distancing.
  • Not to attend work and to immediately have a COVID-19 test – if they have flu like symptoms or a family member or somebody in close contact gets COVID-19. They are not to return to work until they have a medical certificate confirming their health status.
  • All staff are being COVID-19 tested on a weekly basis. They will carry a record of their negative test results.
  • 80% of our field staff have already received one vaccination dose.
  • All staff have been booked in to be fully vaccinated by the end of August.

How can you help?


  • to wear masks during the inspection works
  • to advise our technician if they have been isolated/quarantined or have flu like symptoms. If so, they will not enter the apartment.
  • keep themselves updated with the most current Government requirements.


The health and safety of our clients and our staff is our highest priority.  Be rest assured we are conducting our works in a manner that will protect both you and our staff.

We will continue to follow advice from the Department of Health (NSW and Australian Governments) and will update you as the situations unfolds.

Please don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions –


Yours faithfully,

AFT Fire Protection


Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) (APFS) endorsing the AFSS


The NSW Government has released a new form for Annual Fire Safety Statements.

The AFSS form has been updated to reflect regulatory changes following the commencement of the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 (the Act).

A primary change is replacing the terminology ‘Competent Fire Safety Practitioner’ with ‘Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety)’ (APFS)..  

Amendments have been made to the detail on the form itself and in the supporting notes.

The new form is available on the Department’s website & must be used from 1 March 2021.  For more information, refer to Frequently Asked Questions – February 2021.

There are more than 30 statutory Essential Fire safety Measures (EFSM’s) which can be included within the AFSS schedule.
Accreditation is achieved on an individual EFSM basis. Upon completing one or more units of accreditation the APFS is issued with an accreditation number.

It is the sole responsibility of the Building Owner/Manager to ensure the APFS endorsing the EFSM’s listed on the AFSS is accredited to do so.

The Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPAA) is the only organisation that has a NSW Government approved accreditation scheme – “FPAS”.

The accredited APFS Register link is:

AFT Fire Protection has 2 accredited APFS staff:
• Richard Raine – accreditation number – F009986A
• Gerard Pigram – accreditation number –F022784A

Our APFS accreditation encompasses every statutory EFSM.
We can endorse every EFSM we maintain on your property/s.


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On July 1, 2020, the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS),  initially launched in 2013, was formally  approved by the Secretary of the NSW GovernmentDepartment of Customer Service (Ms Emma Hogan) under section 59 of thBuilding and Development Certifiers Act 2018.

In her letter Ms Hogan stated:

“I hereby approve of the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) to exercise the functions as an accreditation authority with respect to the accreditation of persons for purposes of the Act…” 

From July 1, 2020, practitioners must be accredited under FPAS if they wish to perform  ‘regulated work‘ under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EPAR).

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  The FPAS has been recognised as essential for these elements of fire protection services;


  • Fire Systems Design (FSD) – for practitioners who endorse plans and specifications in accordance with clauses 136AA and 146B of the EPAR; and
  • Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) – for those who endorse essential fire safety measures on annual or supplementary fire safety statements under Part 9, Divisions 5 and 7 of the EPAR.

Importantly, to perform these roles, most practitioners will need to hold an accreditation number (some exemptions apply e.g. designers who hold C8 certifier registration).

Other areas, such as approving performance solutions, applying for clause 164B exemptions, or designing mechanical fire safety systems, have not been recognised at this time.

Now that FPA Australia has received recognition from the Secretary, her decision will also be published in the NSW Government Gazette.

For additional detail refer to;


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Most companies offer the Hydrostatic Pressure Test but not the Booster Flow Test.

This test simulates Fire Brigade operations when firefighting – under the designed water flows & pressures. This test proves there are no obstructions or impediments between the booster arrangement, the fire pump bypass and the most remote hydrant valve.

This test is often NOT performed but is arguably the most critical.

AFT has two fire fighting pumpers that are able to perform any 5 yearly hydrostatic AND booster flow test. See links below for more information.

Watch our YouTube walkthrough below on what booster testing actually means.


A quick note to update on the implementation of “Fire Safety Assessor”

From 1 July 2020 – The NSW Government requires the AFSS to be endorsed by a CFSP – Fire Safety Assessor
AFT Fire is actively involved with taking all measures (exams etc) necessary to gain accreditation (as CFSP’s) for the essential fire safety measures we maintain.
AFT Fire have two (2) FSA’s covering all fire protection measures and are registered on the FPA Australia “Fire Safety Assessor Register”. You can confirm our registration at link –

individual practitioners listed on the Register have demonstrated/declared to FPA Australia that:

  1. The individual listed is employed by an FPA Australia Corporate member and has a minimum of three years’ experience in undertaking inspections/assessments for the purpose of completing Annual and Supplementary Fire Safety Statements in NSW;
  2. The individual listed is covered by Public and Product Liability Insurance ($10m minimum) and Professional Indemnity Insurance ($2m minimum);
  3. They have read and agreed to abide by the FPA Australia Code of Practice for companies, and Code of Professional Conduct for individuals;
  4. They have committed to undertake all assessment of essential fire safety measures in accordance with the relevant regulations, Codes and Australian Standards;
  5. They hold or have access to current and historical Standards and Codes for the essential fire safety measures that they assess; and
  6. That they are committed to applying for accreditation in the FPAS Fire Safety Assessment class of accreditation within 90 days of it becoming available.This new AFSS form requires endorsement by a CFSP – quoting an accreditation number.