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Types of Development

The classification of a particular development or application type will influence the way in which the NSW Rural Fire Service will assess the proposal. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) provides a frame work for planning within NSW and establishes a system for requiring bush fire protection measures on bush fire prone land at development application (DA) stage. This system includes:  

  1. Requiring councils to map bush fire prone land. If any part of a development site is affected, special submission and assessment requirements may apply to the DA;
  2. Complying development under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) requires compliance with specific bush fire development standards when located on bush fire prone land.
  3. Section 79BA of the EP&A Act requires compliance with PBP and, where an infill proposal does not comply with acceptable  solutions in Chapter 4, consultation by the consent authority with the NSW RFS is required; and
  4. Section 91 of the EP&A Act in combination with the Rural Fires Act 1997 requirements for a section 100B Bush Fire Safety Authority (BFSA) classes the following types of DA as integrated development: 
  • Residential and rural residential subdivision
  • "Special Fire Protection Purposes" (SFPP)

Special provisions apply to integrated development, though some exceptions to these may apply.  

The following table compares the three application types for development on bush fire prone land:

Type of Development DescriptionLegislationReferral
Complying Development Development approval which is not through the DA process. Codes SEPP Bush Fire Risk must be certified/assessed by qualified consultant or council
Non Integrated DA
  • development application site on bush fire prone land and not "integrated"  
  • includes "infill" other than residential /rural subdivision or SFPP
s.79BA EP&A Act possible consultation with NSW RFS
Integrated DA residential / rural residential subdivision or SFPP s.91 EP&A Act and s.100B RF Act a BFSA from NSW RFS required and a fee of $320 applies.

There are also significant differences between the categories of uses that are "Integrated Developments". For instance:  

  • Residential/Rural Residential Subdivision
    • building to be used as a refuge as the fire front passes  
    • assume able-bodied residents with motor car available  
    • APZ requirements based on Level 3 construction. As a result APZ minimised (yield and environmental protection maximised)
  • SFPPs e.g. Seniors Living, Tourist Facilities, schools
    • assisted evacuation possible: higher exposure; working outdoors.  
    • assume special needs of residents  
    • APZ requirements maximised and based on radiant heat exposure to emergency services

DAs for integrated development do not always fit neatly into the categories outlined in the tables above. Both categories can cover existing developments that do not conform to PBP. These situations can include, for instance, a block size that cannot accommodate the required APZ (infill – 79BA), extensions to an established SFPPs (such as schools, nursing homes or hospitals) which are technically integrated development (100B) but are treated as infill, having been previously approved prior to the introduction of PBP. Development that is not integrated development may be considered complying development or subject to section 79BA and covered as infill or other development on bush fire prone land.

Click on the links below for specific information on particular development types: