Navigating the New Wave: How to Get Approval for Your Relocatable Home in NSW

Home Owners
Jun 2023

Exploring Prefabricated, Manufactured, and Tiny Homes as Alternatives to Traditional Housing

Australia is currently facing significant challenges in the construction industry, including inflation, shortages of construction materials, and trade limitations. However, amidst this downturn, certain sectors are offering Australians an alternative to the traditional dream of owning a quarter-acre block.

Prefabricated, manufactured, relocatable, and tiny homes have been rapidly gaining popularity, providing individuals with options for a simpler lifestyle, additional income generation, or bringing extended families closer together.

Nonetheless, navigating the legislation and planning approval process for these types of dwellings can be complicated, as each council may have its own unique criteria for acceptance.

In such circumstances, seeking guidance from Approved can be immensely helpful.

What is a Prefabricated, Manufactured, Relocated, or Tiny Home?

To begin, let's establish the definitions of each dwelling type. The NSW Government Planning Circular aimed to clarify the confusion surrounding the terms "prefabricated," "manufactured," and "relocatable" structures under the Local Government Regulation. According to the circular:

  • "Relocatable Home" refers to either a manufactured home or any other movable dwelling, consisting of one or more major sections, including associated structures forming part of the dwelling. However, it specifically excludes tents, caravans, campervans, or any movable dwelling that can be registered under the Road Transport Act 2013.
  • The category under part b) of the definition includes manufactured or prefabricated studios, which may not be fully self-contained, lacking amenities such as kitchens and laundry facilities.

For the purposes of this blog, we will use the term "relocatable home" to encompass all fully self-contained manufactured dwellings and other prefabricated structures or major sections like studios. However, it's important to note that the definition may vary across different legislations.

Also note that we consider that these structures are being installed rather than erected or built, as they do not come under the definition of buildings in applicable legislation.

How to Obtain Approval for a Relocatable Home

When it comes to obtaining approval for installing a relocatable home in NSW, two crucial steps must be followed. Firstly, a Development Application (DA) must be submitted to the council. Secondly, an application for approval under Section 68 of the Local Government Act is necessary.

The DA should address the same considerations outlined in the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act as those required for a traditional build, ensuring that the proposed development aligns with the council's environmental impact criteria.

The submission should include supporting documentation, architectural plans, reports, and a Statement of Environmental Effects, tailored to the specific scope of the project and site constraints. If you would like more information about the DA process and how to achieve an easy approval – check out our previous blog post here which will guide you through the process.

It's worth mentioning that relocatable homes, as they are not classified as buildings under relevant legislation, do not require a BASIX Certificate to be submitted with either the DA or the Section 68 application, unless other triggers like a pool over 40kL are involved.

The Section 68 Application: Replacing Traditional Building Certificates

The Section 68 application effectively replaces the Construction Certificate and Occupation Certificate process required for traditional builds.

However, certain elements such as garages or decks may still necessitate these certificates if constructed on-site. The Section 68 application should address the criteria specified in Part 3, Division 2, Subdivision 3 of the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds & Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2021. This part outlines requirements related to the design, construction, and installation of relocatable homes, including structural specifications, setbacks, room sizes, window sizes, and ceiling heights.

Once both the DA and Section 68 have been approved, the relocatable home can be installed in accordance with the specified use outlined in the application, complying with any conditions imposed by the approvals.

What about Exempt or Complying Development? Exploring Additional Approval Pathways

While complying development through a private certifier without the need for council approval is not currently possible for relocatable homes in NSW, there are additional approval pathways and uses to consider.

For short-term rental accommodation, the use of a relocatable home is not exempt development under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021. Seeking permission from the council as part of the DA is crucial to ensure legal operation of short-term rental accommodation.

In terms of temporary accommodation for natural disaster recovery, the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds, and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2021 allows for the installation of a moveable dwelling or associated structure without approval under certain circumstances. These structures must be maintained in a safe and healthy condition and removed within two years of installation, or within a longer period specified by the relevant local approvals policy.

Regarding farm stay accommodation, newly introduced legislation related to Agritourism and Farm Stay Accommodation allows for the use of an existing, lawfully approved, and installed manufactured dwelling for this purpose. However, it is unclear whether relocatable homes that are not fully self-contained would be included in this definition. As a result, it seems that the legislation does not permit the installation of relocatable homes as exempt or complying development.

Specific Regulations for Caravans and Campervans

If you are looking to park a caravan or campervan, specific regulations apply. Generally, these vehicles can be used on land without council approval for up to two consecutive days or up to 60 days in a 12-month period.

For more permanent parking, the caravan must be associated with a dwelling, exclusively used by the landowner or existing household members, and maintained in a safe and healthy condition.

Seek Expert Guidance from Approved for a Smooth Approval Process

In summary, various legislation and regulations govern the installation of relocatable homes in NSW.

The team at Approved possesses the experience and works with reputable manufacturers in the industry, collaborating with councils throughout NSW.

No matter the scale of your project, Approved can provide assistance.

Start today and embark on your journey towards obtaining approval for your relocatable home.

Documents & Resources

No items found.