Building in the country

Things to find out before you decide to build

Ensure the property has a building entitlement by discussing the site with a Council Planning officer, in some cases where an entitlement cannot be determined over the phone or counter, a letter will be required detailing what you would like to know, with an enquiry fee applicable. Making sure the property you own or are going to buy has building entitlement is absolutely essential, nobody wants you to be stuck with land you can't build on, this may be the most important money you will ever spend!

Find out if the property has legal access and where it's located. Your application will need to detail the proposed access to the site, whether it’s existing or proposed. Access will most definitely be an issue for new dwellings wanting access off an RTA owned road such as the Great Western Highway , Jenolan Caves Road , Castlereagh Highway or Chifley Road . And, accesses should always be flood and bushfire free, so if your potential access traverses a creek or a large section of bush you really should find out what is going to be required to bring it up to standard.

Contact the electricity and telephone providers to determine the availability of electricity and telephone to your proposed house site. Extending a service can be quite costly, so the position of these services will often determine where a house can be situated.

Designing your new home

Determine if bushfire is considered to be an issue at your proposed house site. In the event that it is the Planning for Bushfire Protection guidelines established by the Rural Fire Service 2006, will need to be incorporated into the design of your building site, and in some cases, the design of your dwelling. Consultation should be arranged with the local Fire Mitigation Officer at the Rural Fire Service if you are unsure of what level of fire protection will be required on your property. Council recommends that you visit the following website:

Ensure you take BASIX into consideration when designing your new home. BASIX is a new planning requirement that affects anyone building a new home or dual occupancy in NSW. It is being introduced across NSW to improve energy and water efficiencies in homes. All applications for new dwellings will require a BASIX certificate. For further information visit

The design of your house and garden can greatly reduce the running cost of your house. In order to find out more regarding the principles of passive solar design, thermal mass and energy and water efficient appliances Council recommends you visit the following website:

Things to organise prior to submitting your application

Make sure your proposed application includes any other buildings you may wish to build, such as sheds and garages. By leaving them off the initial application you may be costing yourself more in the long run by having to submit extra applications.

Find out if Section 94 Contributions will be applicable to your development, and how much they will cost, you may be able to include this amount in any loan you might have to obtain to build your dwelling.

In areas where sewer is not available a geotechnical report will be required to be submitted with the application. A major portion of the Lithgow City Council area is within the Sydney Catchment Area. New dwellings within this area will require their application to be referred to the Sydney Catchment Authority for comment. Effluent disposal systems proposed within the Sydney Catchment cannot be located within 150 metres of the Cox’s river, 100 metres of any creek or 40 metres from a drainage depression. Effluent disposal systems proposed outside the Sydney Catchment Area will be assessed on merit.


Things to be submitted with your application

Building Plans

Any application for building to Council should include a site plan with details of distances to boundaries, elevations, section plans and floor plans. Please do not include your floor plan on your site plan, so in the event that the application is on display, your site plan can be shown to the public without the internal configuration of the house being public information.

Detailed specifications 

These should detail the proposed building works, including structural details as required. All building plans and specifications must comply with the Building Code of Australia.

Geotechnical Report 

All dwellings proposed where sewer is unavailable are required to submit a geotechnical report with their development application for any proposed effluent disposal system. Applications within the Sydney Catchment Area will need to be referred to the Sydney Catchment Authority for comment; effluent disposal systems outside this area will be assessed on merit.

Bushfire Assessment (if required) 

Dwellings proposed within a bushfire prone area are required to submit a report detailing how the development complies with Planning for Bushfire Protection guidelines established by the Rural Fire Service 2001.

Solid Fuel Heaters 

Details on any proposed solid fuel heaters should be submitted with your development application.

Termite Barriers 

Details on any proposed termite barriers should be submitted with your development application.

Septic Tank Application 

A septic Tank application can be submitted at a later stage once a plumber/drainer has been contracted. However this application must be approved prior to work commencing on the site. 

BASIX Certificate  

Must be lodged with the Development Application and can be obtained online at



Statement of Environmental Effects

Your application should include an accompanying statement which details the following:

  • What you consider to be the environmental impacts of the development
  • How you have identified the environmental impacts of the development
  • What steps you will take to protect the environment or to lessen the expected harm to the environment, and
  • How you have addressed any other matters identified by the relevant planning instruments.

If you are unsure about any of these requirements please do not hesitate to contact Council's Planning officers who are available between 8.15 am and 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday on (02) 6354 9999.


Statement of Environmental Effects
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