{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Housing industry insights Economics Data & forecasts Tailored research and analysis Advocacy & policy Advocacy Policy priorities Position statements Submissions News and inspiration Industry news Member alerts Media releases HOUSING Online
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder & manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies & tool insurance Planning & safety solutions Building & planning services How can safety solutions help you? Independent site inspections Solutions for your business Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HIA SafeScan Advertise jobs Trusted support & guidance Contracts & compliance support Professional services Industrial relations Member savings Toyota vehicles The Good Guys Commercial Fuel savings See all
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials & products Concrete, bricks & walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes See all
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Frequently asked questions Study with us Find a course to suit you Qualification courses Learning on demand A job in the industry Get your builder's licence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Find jobs
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Mates rates Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Our initiatives HIA Building Women GreenSmart Kitchen, bathroom and design hub Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Support for you Charitable Foundation Mental health program
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Awards program People & Business Awards GreenSmart Australian Housing Awards Awards winners Regional Award winners Australian Housing Award winners 2024 Australian Home of the Year Enter online Industry events Events in the next month Economic outlook National Conference Events calendar
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping & delivery Purchasing T&Cs See all Products Purchase NCC 2022 Building codes & standards Economic reports Hard copy contracts Guides & manuals
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Lapsing of development consents

This resource will help answer questions about how long a development consent lasts in NSW. It also outlines the meaning of the term “physically commenced” works when talking about the start of construction. The information provided relates only to the NSW Planning System.

When does a development consent lapse?

A development consent generally lapses five years after the date from when it starts to operate, as set out within the provisions of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). However, this does not mean that the development covered by the consent must be completed within the five year period to stop the consent from lapsing.

A development consent for the erection of a building, the carrying out of works or the subdivision of land doesn’t lapse if building, engineering, or construction work related to the consent is physically commenced on the land before the date on which the consent would otherwise have lapsed. An explanation of the meaning of physical commencement is provided below.  

What changes were made in response to COVID-19?

To assist in the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19, changes were made to the EP&A Act. These changes relate to how long a development consent lasts for.

The NSW Government made the changes in recognition that some builders and developers would need more time to start their building, engineering, or construction works because of the pandemic.The following changes were made:

  • development consents granted from 25 March 2020 to 25 March 2022 to have a five year lapsing period that cannot be reduced by the consent authority, and
  • development consents granted prior to 25 March 2020 and not lapsed, extended by two years.

The changes also apply for deferred commencement consents, which are consents that do not become operational until certain conditions have been satisfied.

Full details about the lapsing of development consents can be found within the EP&A Act - Division 4.9 Post-consent provisions. Further information is available from HIA. 

When is a development consent “physically commenced”?

A development consent will not lapse if building, engineering, or construction work is physically commenced before the date on which the consent lapses.

The NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 (the regulation) sets out the provisions for physically commenced works. Clause 96 of the regulation specifies that work is not taken to have been physically commenced just by doing one or more of the following:

(a) creating a bore hole for soil testing,

(b) removing water or soil for testing,

(c) carrying out survey work, including the placing of pegs or other survey equipment,

(d) acoustic testing,

(e) removing vegetation as an ancillary activity,

(f) marking the ground to indicate how land is to be developed.

The above “test” of physical commencement does not apply to development consents granted before 15 May 2020.

Changes to the regulation were made in 2020 as there was uncertainty between parties about what works comprised physical commencement to activate a consent.

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

Email us

Share with your network:
More articles on:
{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
Find the latest expert advice, guides and much more!

Getting approval to build topics


Can’t find what you need, check out other resources that might be closer to the mark.

Become a HIA member today

Join Australia’s largest residential building association to gain access to a huge range of industry products and business services. We can help you manage, operate and grow your business.

NSW Authority for Final Payment (Pad of 50)

The NSW Authority for Final Payment Pad offers an effective method of claiming final payment from your client. It’s available in a handy tear-off pad ...

NSW Claim for Extension of Time (Pad of 50)

This form is to notify the owner of an entitlement to an extension of time when building works have been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, an o...

NSW Authority for Variation to Contract (Pad of 25)

The Authority for Variation to Contract (pad of 25) details changes or variations to works requiring an update to the contract between builder and own...

NSW New Dwellings Contract (Pack of 2)

Ideal for building professionals about to work on a new dwelling, available as a pack of two. The fixed price contract allows for all job details to b...

NSW Cost Plus Contract (Pack of 2)

This contract is used for residential construction works on a cost plus basis, not a lump sum ‘fixed price’. Costs are totalled and a percentage or fi...

NSW General Housing Specifications

The NSW General Housing Specifications document forms part of the contract documents which is referred to in the building contract. It details the wor...

NSW Preliminary Agreement (Pad of 50)

This Preliminary Agreement (pad of 50) is used to cover the cost of the preliminary work before and in preparation of signing the contract. This type ...

NSW Notice of Practical Completion (Pad of 25)

The NSW Notice of Practical Completion is used to notify an owner when a project will be at practical completion, available as a pad of 50. It sets a ...

NSW Small Works between $5K & $20K Contract (Pad of 10)

This contract is a fixed-sum contract used for non-structural, residential renovations and additions, available in a pad of 10 duplicate contracts. It...

NSW Residential Contract for Renovations & Additions (Pack of 2)

NSW Residential Building Contract - Renovations/Additions

NSW Small Works over $20K Contract (Duplicate)

The NSW Small Works over $20,000 contract (in duplicate) is for residential construction work over $20,000 and complies with the NSW Home Building Act...