Building and Health Compliance


Unauthorised works and use are regularly discovered through Council's normal operations or may be reported by an interested party. 

What are unauthorised works?

Unauthorised works incorporates a range of activities that can include:

  • The construction of a building or structure
  • Works associated with an existing building
  • Demolition of a building.

Unauthorised use incorporates a range of activities that can include:

  • A residential property being used as a boarding house
  • A commercial business being operated without approval
  • A business being used as a brothel without approval.


While the majority of building works and use require approval from Council or a certifying authority, there are some exceptions for minor development classified as exempt development.

Exempt development controls are listed in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 known as the SEPP.

Works or activities that do not fall under the SEPP either require a Development Consent from Council or a Complying Development Certificate.

Enforcement Actions

If Council officers deem the works or use under taken to be illegal a range of enforcement actions may take place. Council may

  • issue legal orders  to stop work, demolish, remove, alter or repair the unauthorised works and use
  • Issue infringement notices
  • Commence legal proceedings in court

If you are unsure if the works are unauthorised you can check online through Online DA Tracking. (Link to online DA Tracking)

Lodge a complaint

If you still believe the works or use are being undertaken without the appropriate approval, Council recommends that you lodge a complaint:

Report unauthorised works

You will need to provide the exact location of the works and the works being undertaken.

In the instance where the PCA is a private certifier and not Council, Council will advise the PCA of your complaint, as well as advising you of the PCA contact details.

Council is not authorised to handle dividing fences.

Law Access NSW offers information about:

  • what a dividing fence is
  • laws governing dividing fences and building
  • fixing or replacing a dividing fence
  • how you can identify where the common boundary is between two properties.

Visit the Law Access NSW website for answers to all your questions relating to dividing fences.

Council is committed to improving the quality of local waterways by reducing pollution that is discharged from storm water outlets. 

If you believe that a storm water discharge point is illegal, we recommend that you lodge a complaint.

Report an illegal storm water issue

You will need to provide the exact location of the storm water and photographic evidence. 

Keeping our waterways clean

Every time it rains our waterways are under threat. The most effective way to reduce storm water pollution is to stop it entering the system in the first place.  

Storm water run-off must be directed to a lawful discharge point. This includes ensuring all storm water pipes and guttering is functional.  

Activities that should be avoided include:

  • Cleaning out grease traps or putting oil into a storm water drain
  • Letting oil, chemicals or other waste flow into the street drain
  • Not shielding street drains from spilt chemicals or excess soil, sand, gravel or other building waste
  • Letting cigarette butts or litter fall into gutters or onto driveways
  • Letting chemicals, detergents or other harmful fluids run into street drains.

If you believe a property is neglected, Council recommends that you lodge a complaint.

Report a neglected property

Neglected properties can pose health, safety and environmental hazards and be unsightly.

Properties, which in the opinion of an authorised Council Officer are neglected will have overgrown grass, weeds, plants or other vegetation to such an extent it is likely to attract or harbor reptiles or vermin. This could also include, but not be limited to:

  • Rubbish
  • Overgrown vegetation
  • Stockpiles of material
  • Broken down vehicles or car bodies.

The first thing to do if you have concerns or complaints about a particular development site is to share your concerns with the property owner/s and bring it to their attention. You can also discuss your concerns with the builder. Sometimes they may be unaware that their activities are causing a nuisance or are a breach of their obligations. Many issues can be resolved with clear and early communication.

If this is not an option or your concerns are not resolved, any complaints or concerns should be referred directly to the Principal Certifier (PC) overseeing the development. The PC will have the most association and familiarity with events occurring on the site and may be able to quickly and effectively resolve the complaint without the need for formal enforcement action. PC contact details can usually be found on a sign located at the front of a development site or they can be requested from Council.

Any concerns or complaints received by Council regarding a development site where a private certifier is the PC, will first be referred to the PC for consideration and investigation. If the response from the PC is not satisfactory, then Council may get involved in the following circumstances:

  • Work threatens life, safety or damage to property or environment.
  • Works have been carried out that do not form part of the development consent.
  • PC does not take appropriate action and a breach or non-compliance is occurring.
  • PC takes action on a breach by issuing a written direction to rectify the breach or non-compliance and Council is subsequently informed by the PC that the direction has not been complied with.
  • In circumstances where Council has been appointed as the PC.

If Council receives a complaint after-hours, it will only be acted upon if it is considered an emergency and the work threatens life, safety or damage to property or environment.

Council does not regulate or supervise private accredited certifiers. Regulation of private accredited certifiers is the responsibility of NSW Fair Trading. Fair Trading can investigate complaints regarding certification work by both private certifiers and council certifiers. Before making a complaint to Fair Trading please ensure that you contact the certifier to try and resolve the matter.

If there are still outstanding concerns after you have contacted the certifier then please then contact Council, prior to the ‘last resort’ of contacting NSW Fair Trading with your complaint. Please be aware that NSW Fair Trading may dismiss your complaint if they consider there were alternative means available to resolve the matter.

For more information regarding complaints about certifiers please visit the NSW Fair Trading’s Complaints about Certifiers website.