Rebuilding After Natural Disaster – Wollongong

Whether you’ve been affected by the recent natural disaster, or just planning to do some home improvements, it’s essential to know when you do and don’t need Council approval.

Most minor building reconstruction and low impact works for already approved structures such as decks, garden sheds, carports, and fences are exempt development. That means in many cases, they do not require planning or construction approval from Council or a private certifier.

However, it’s important to check your existing planning approvals as well as the constraints that apply to your land to make sure you’re not building a structure over an easement on your property, or making alterations that could have an unintended impact.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM one of the easiest ways for people to know if their planned works may require planning permission, is to check with Council.

“One of the things that came to light after the recent flooding was that where residents had undertaken landscaping works within private creeks, there had been unintended impacts downstream,” Cr Bradbery said.

“We’ve seen landscaping boulders dislodged and move some large distances in the flooding event and this caused problems downstream for residents.

“This is a good example of where well-intentioned private works have an unexpected impact. We know there are a number of residents in our community who were impacted by the recent flooding, and we want to make it as simple as possible for them to carry out essential works on their properties. That means providing advice around reconstruction and development on private property.

“Regardless of whether you require approvals or not, we ask that you take a commonsense approach to the placement of any landscaping and building structures. If you are aware that parts of your property are susceptible to storm impacts, its best to avoid placing structures and landscaping in those locations.”

Depending on the scale of the repairs, reconstructing some structures damaged by floods may require an approval. To help you understand if this applies to your situation, we have a Planning Officer available to discuss the specifics of the proposed works and advise on what options are available.

This development advice is free, and you can book a call back online through Council’s website.

“If you’re not sure, it’s easy to reach out to Council and just check whether your works do or don’t need Council approval,” Cr Bradbery said.

“And this applies to anyone in our community who is looking at some building or construction works at their home. Council’s staff are here to help.”

Has your fence been damaged?

Replacing an existing fence that was damaged does not usually require approvals, so long as your fence meets the Exempt Development code.

You are required under the Dividing Fence Act to have a conversation about the proposed repair work with your neighbours.

See our website for more detailed information on what to do.

Repairing damaged structures

This may require approval, depending on what you want to do. See our advice on common residential improvements or ask for a call back from a Council Planning Officer to discuss your situation.

/Public Release. View in full here.