Home renovations

If you are planning to renovate, or construct a new home or building, the following information will assist you in preparing the documentation required when lodging a development application with Council.

Property Information

When buying a property it is important to find out about planning controls or hazards that may affect the land you are seeking to purchase.

You may obtain this information from Council by making the following enquiries:

  • requesting a Planning Certificate (formerly section 149 certificate);
  • obtaining any records of inspection of the land, or any buildings on the land, by Council; and
  • obtaining a copy of any relevant plans or development consent issued by Council.
How do I find out what zone applies to the property?

You can request a Planning Certificate (formerly section 149 certificate).

Once you have determined the zone that applies to the property you can find out how you can use the property by looking at Council's Local Environmental Plan 2013 and Development Control Plan 2014.


If you are a homeowner or you're thinking about renovating, it's important to be aware of asbestos. The handling and removal of asbestos is a regulated activity and must be carried out in accordance with certain guidelines.

Before commencing any building or renovating around the home, it's a good idea to seek out accurate information about asbestos. We recommend the use of a licensed asbestos removal contractor to test, handle and remove all asbestos-based building materials. Special precautions should always be taken, even for minor renovation works that don't require Council approval.

To dispose of asbestos, take to Newline Road Waste Facility.

For more information on asbestos in NSW click here or view the Asbestos Management Policy on our policies page.

Bush Fire Prone Land

Bush fire prone land is land that is considered capable of supporting a bush fire, or likely to be subject to bush fire attack. Planning laws in NSW require new development on bush fire prone land to comply with the provisions of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 and must be designed to improve the survivability of the development and the occupants that are exposed to a bush fire hazard.

Bush fire prone land maps are prepared by local councils across the State of NSW and are certified by the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS).

All Development Applications (DAs) on bushfire prone land must be accompanied by a Bushfire Assessment Report. The assessment report determines the suitability of a proposal with regards to bushfire through consideration of the requirements outlined within the Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 document prepared by the Rural Fire Service.

For further information on the preparation of Bushfire Assessment Reports please refer to Appendix 4 of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006. Appendix 4 outlines the requirements for development applications and integrated development.

  • Subdivision of bushfire prone land that can be used for residential or rural residential purposes
  • The use of bushfire prone land for the following purposes:
    • a school
    • a child care centre
    • a hospital
    • a building wholly or principally used as a home or other establishment for mentally incapacitated persons
    • a hotel, motel or other tourist accommodation
    • seniors housing within the meaning of State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004
    • a group home within the meaning of Port Stephens Council LEP 2013; and
    • a retirement village.
  • Any other purpose prescribed by the Rural Fires Regulation 2008

Construction near Newcastle Airport

Restrictions are placed on the airspace surrounding Newcastle Airport to protect the aircraft flying in and out.

To ensure safety of these aircraft, and to limit restrictions, permission must be requested from the Department of Defence to erect cranes or tall structures in the vicinity of the airport.

Contact details

Phone: 02 4034 7888
Fax: 02 4034 7881
Email: WLM.ABCP@defence.gov.au


A dividing/boundary fence is a fence that separates the lands of adjoining owners.

A fence may be a structure of any material, a ditch, an embankment, or a vegetative barrier (eg hedge). It does not include a retaining wall or the wall of a building.

Local Council approval

Councils may have specific requirements for fence heights, location, or construction methods. Please refer to Council's Development Control Plan 2014 (DCP) - refer to Section C - Development types C4.35, which contains information and guidance in relation to fences.

For further information on swimming pool fencing and swimming pool safety visit our Swimming Pools page.

Boundary and Dividing Fences

Boundary fences are defined as structures that separate the lands of adjoining owners and are regulated by the Dividing Fences Act 1991. A fence may be a structure of any material, a ditch, an embankment, or a vegetative barrier, however does not include a retaining wall or the wall of a building.

Councils may have specific requirements for fence heights, location, or construction methods, as outlined within the Port Stephens Development Control Plan 2014.

Local Government, the Crown and other local authorities are exempt from fencing work in respect of dividing fences, as outlined under Clause 25 of the Dividing Fences Act 1991.

For boundary fence enquires and building requirements please refer to the Legal Answers NSW website or contact the Community Justice Centre on 1800 990 777.

Flood Information

Council is currently in the process of reviewing flooding data and policies, and endeavouring to have a greater amount of information available on our website in the near future. If you are proposing to build on land that is considered flood prone, please contact Council's Flood Engineer on 49 800 255 in order to obtain the relevant Flood Planning Level (FPL) for the property. It is recommended that this be done prior to completing the design of your proposed works. Please note that Council will only supply flood information in writing, and will not give verbal flood information about a property over the phone.

For further information in relation to Council's flooding requirements, please refer to Section B5 of the Port Stephens Council Development Control Plan 2014. Please note that the insurance industry uses its own estimates of flood risk and its own definitions for flooding, which may differ to Council's information. Council has not supplied its flood information to private insurance companies. Some of the these companies have written to Council informing that they use their own information, and advised Council that some of their customers may wish to individually obtain Council's flood information for their property.

Home Warranty Insurance

Insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund is required to be obtained where the contract price for works exceeds $20,000, or where the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials involved exceeds $20,000 (if the contract price is not known). This insurance needs to be provided by:

  • A builder or tradesperson before taking any money (including a deposit) from a home owner (including an owner-builder) under a residential building contract and before starting any work under that contract
  • A 'spec' builder before starting any residential building work on a property owned by the builder
  • A developer before entering into a contract for the sale of a property on which a builder is doing or has done residential building work for the developer.

There are some exemptions from the requirement for Home Warranty Insurance. Details are outlined on the Department of Fair Trading website.

Owner Builders

Owner-builder permits are issued by the Department of Fair Trading.

If you are an Owner Builder and the cost of building works is greater than $10,000 you may be required to gain a permit, additionally if the works are over $20,000 further training may be required. For further information on the requirement of an owner builder permits contact the Department of Fair Trading.