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The Codes SEPP

Greenfield Housing Code

The new Greenfield Housing Code (the Code) will speed up the delivery of new homes in greenfield areas (new release areas) across NSW to meet the needs of the State’s growing population and improve housing affordability.

The new Code is included in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (State Policy) and aims to:

  • simplify the standards in the State Policy for greenfield areas
  • tailor development standards to suit market demand, housing types and lot sizes typically delivered in greenfield areas
  • increase the take-up of complying development to help achieve faster housing approvals.

Complying Development is a fast-track approval process for straight forward residential, commercial and industrial development. If the application complies with all relevant requirements in the State Policy, it can be approved by a council or a registered certifier within 20 days, saving homeowners up to $15,000.

The Code applies to greenfield areas across NSW and allows 1-2 storey homes, alterations and additions to be carried out under the fast-track complying development approval pathway, saving homeowners time and money.

The Code commenced on 6 July 2018.

Benefits of the new Greenfield Housing Code



Am I in a greenfield area?

Between 20 to 30 per cent of new homes are in greenfield areas of Sydney. Other growth areas in NSW such as the Hunter Valley, Illawarra and North Coast have also seen a significant number of homes being built in greenfield areas.

Applicants can find out if their property is in a greenfield area and eligible to use the Greenfield Housing Code by checking the relevant Local Government Area map on the NSW Planning Portal or the NSW Legislation. The Greenfield Housing Code maps were amended on 24 August 2018 to incorporate several areas that have now been rezoned to residential and to clarify where the Greenfield Housing Code applies.

greenfield home

Simplified and tailored development standards

The new Greenfield Housing Code has been developed with the input of the community and stakeholders. It includes standards that are tailored to suit greenfield sites such as:

  • setback controls
  • minimum landscaping controls
  • a tree planted in the front and rear gardens

diagram of a house

A council or a registered certifier can approve a complying development but only if the work complies entirely with the development standards in the Code.

The standards for complying development have been developed to balance the rights of owners to develop their property while protecting the amenity of their neighbours. The policy requires buildings to be set back from side boundaries in relation to their height, so as a building gets taller, it must be set back further from the boundary. This ensures development does not have an adverse impact on neighbouring residents.

Free Tree initiative

The new Code includes a requirement for a tree in the front and rear yard of each new home approved under complying development, and the NSW Government is offering a free tree to help families in Western Sydney establish a garden for their newly built home. This will help to ensure that our future suburbs have a high-quality amenity and are attractive places to live, work and play.

By increasing the number of trees in greenfield areas, this initiative will help to reduce urban heat in Western Sydney. More trees will complement new homes, produce cleaner air and increase shade in summer, raising the quality of life for homeowners while improving property values over time.

The Free Tree Initiative is part of the Greenfield Housing Code which will speed up the delivery of new homes in greenfield areas (new release areas) across NSW to meet the needs of the State’s growing population and improve housing affordability.

The landscaping requirements in the new Code will ensure new release areas are leafier and more sustainable.

Click here to claim your Free Tree 

Implementation of the new Code

The Greenfield Housing Code allows 1-2 storey homes, alterations and additions to be carried out as complying development in greenfield areas.

Consistent with the Housing Code, the proposed development must be permissible under the council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to be assessed as complying development.

Additionally, complying development cannot be carried out in:

  • state or locally listed heritage items and heritage conservation areas
  • land reserved for public purposes
  • environmentally sensitive areas and areas excluded by Councils based on local circumstances.

For more information, check the State Policy.

Following the introduction of the Greenfield Housing Code on 6 July 2018 there will be a three-year transitional period to provide choice and flexibility for new homeowners and industry.             

This allows applicants to choose either the Greenfield Housing Code, the Transitional Housing Code, formerly known as the General Housing Code (up to 13 July 2019) or the new simplified Housing Code (up to 6 July 2021.)

diagram of timing

Summary of the new development standards

Easy-to-use summary tables of the new development standards have been created for industry professionals, including council planners, certifiers, building designers and architects.

Using the new Greenfield Housing Code


Where to go for more information

An education program is being rolled out across NSW to assist the community and stakeholders to learn more about the new Greenfield Housing Code.

This includes a series of information sessions and stakeholder workshops and an online learning module.

For more information, contact [email protected] or call the Codes Hotline on 13 77 88.