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Building on land adjacent to a railway line

Undertaking building works near a railway line requires consideration of the impact of that development on the safe and reliable operation of the railway, including stormwater drainage, excavation impacts, operation of cranes, noise impacts and design issues. This information has been prepared to assist you to understand the regulations and guidelines regarding building on land near a railway line.

Considerations when building near a railway 

Clause 87 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (Infrastructure SEPP) applies to development on land that is immediately adjacent to a railway corridor. The policy requires councils to send applications near a railway line to the relevant rail authority for the railway corridor (that could be either Sydney Trains or the Australian Rail Track Corporation, depending on the location). 

The local council is required to take into consideration any comments provided by the relevant rail authority and may ask for design changes or impose conditions on any development consent granted. 

It’s important to be aware of the publication Development near rail corridors and busy roads – interim guideline. The relevant circular is Planning Circular PS08-016, which was published in 2008. 

The Guideline addresses issues such as design and planning to protect future occupants from rail- related noise and vibration, as well as managing construction issues such as excavation and use of cranes. 

During assessment of an application, the relevant council will usually consider the impact of the railway line operations on the proposed development and may refer to the following Australian Standards: 

  • AS/NZS 2107:2016 Acoustics – Recommended design sound levels and reverberation times for building interiors 
  • AS 2377:2002 Acoustics – Methods for the measurement of railbound vehicle noise. 

Copies of these standards are available from the SAI Global website.

To find out more, contact HIA’s Planning and Environment team.

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