Steffan Harries

Exemption Certificates

Have exceptional circumstances as to why a development application shouldn't be required?

The Planning Act 2016 provides the provision for an exemption certificate to be granted to a premises owner, indicating that development approval is not necessary. For example, if a proposed development falls within the scope of assessment under Brisbane City Plan 2014 (City Plan), obtaining an exemption certificate means that the proposal is not subject to assessment under City Plan.

What is an Exemption Certificate?

Exemption certificates provide property owners with an exemption from the need to obtain approval for assessable development. These certificates are issued on rare occasions when the categorization of the development is deemed unsuitable or its impact is deemed insignificant.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Any kind of development could require a town planning permit whether it be a small part of demolition to an old house, or changing the use of a building.

The safest way to find out if you need approval is to give your local council a call, or one of our town planners would be happy to help out!

Prescribed Accepted describes works that can occur without approval and does not require any ‘self-assessment’. The term used to be referred to as an ‘exemption’.

What circumstances apply for an exemption certificate?

The Planning Act 2016 allows an owner of a premises to request an exemption certificate for particular assessable development where:

  • development is categorised assessable as a result of an error; or
  • development is categorised assessable solely due to circumstances that no longer apply; or
  • the effects of the development would be minor or inconsequential considering the circumstances under which the development was categorised as assessable development.

Exemption certificates are specifically designed to address developments that are not major or complex in nature and should not reasonably fall under the category of assessable development.

It is important to note that heritage exemption certificates, which apply to locations identified as having local cultural heritage significance, are governed by the separate process outlined in the Queensland Heritage Act 1992

If I have an exemption certificate, does that remove the need for development approval?

Obtaining an exemption certificate eliminates the need for development approval. With an exemption certificate in hand, you are granted permission to proceed with your development without the requirement of seeking formal approval.

What type of development may qualify for an exemption certificate?

The type of development that may be eligible for an exemption certificate includes:

  • development made assessable due to an error for example in zoning or overlay mapping
  • development made assessable due to changed circumstances for example after land is subdivided and the site conditions have changed
  • development that is minor or inconsequential development:
    • building work for a dwelling house within the Traditional building character overlay where a development application is only required for a swimming pool or a tennis court located within the front setback, or on a corner lot
    • building work for a dwelling house on a small lot where a development application is only required as a result of works for stairs, ramps, lifts, eaves and window hoods within the side boundary setback (0.9m) or other similar minor or inconsequential work
    • building work for outdoor lighting in an overland flow path where for the replacement of outdoor lighting posts only on sports fields
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Frequently Asked Questions

Exemption certificates provide property owners with an exemption from the need to obtain approval for assessable development. These certificates are issued on rare occasions when the categorisation of the development is deemed unsuitable or its impact is deemed insignificant.

Yes. There is plenty of online resources that can empower you to prepare, lodge and negotiate your own planning approval.

That said, it can be an extremely complicated process and we always recommend chatting to one of our town planners about your proposal.

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Frequently Asked Questions

An ‘overlay’ refers to an additional layer of regulations or provisions applied to specific areas within a city or region. These overlays are introduced to address particular planning considerations, such as preserving heritage sites, protecting the environment, managing flood-prone areas, or promoting certain design standards. By incorporating these overlays into the existing zoning framework, town planning schemes aim to ensure that development within these designated areas aligns with specific guidelines and objectives. This helps to safeguard and enhance the unique characteristics and values associated with these areas, fostering sustainable and well-planned development within the broader context.

Generally, a junior planner may charge between $120-180+GST per hour, going to a more senior up to $300+GST per hour, and Directors can charge upwards of $500+GST per hour.

Most planning firms (including Steffan Harries) will provide an up front quote that includes all costs associated with an application vs. charging hourly.

How do you apply for an exemption certificate?

To obtain an exemption certificate, you can submit a request to the Council or State Government. Your request should include:

  1. A scaled site plan that illustrates the premises’ features and outlines the proposed development’s location and extent.
  2. Evidence or justification demonstrating one of the following:
    • The proposed development has been incorrectly categorized as assessable.
    • The circumstances that originally deemed the development assessable no longer apply.
    • The works align with the definition of minor or inconsequential.
  3. Consultant report(s), if applicable.
Steffan Harries can also assist in preparing and handling requests for Exemption Certificates.

Think you're eligible for an Exemption Certificate? Get in touch with one of our town planners to confirm today!

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Have an enquiry?

The best and fastest way to make an enquiry is to submit our online form here.

Still prefer to call? 

A member of our admin team will be happy to take down your details and send them to a planner for assessment. Call us on 33170042.

Please have the details of your enquiry ready.

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