Wed, Aug 4, 2021

If you are constructing or renovating a structure, it is most likely that you will need approval from Sydney Water—this is known as Sydney water building plan approval. The requirement for this approval is usually in the Development Application letter from the Council or in the Complying Certificate paperwork. In order to go ahead with the construction, one would need Sydney water building plan approval.

The scope for this approval is not just limited to construction; even if you are excavating or landscaping next to a Sydney water asset, the plan must be approved for the work to begin. The Sydney water building plan approval ensures that it does not affect or limit access to the water asset. In order to place the development plan to a consent authority for their approval, getting the building plan approval is mandatory. It is only then can one get the construction certificate. 

If you do not get the approval, you will have to face the following consequences:

  • Fine levied on you for unauthorized construction
  • Recovery of the cost that is incurred by Sydney Water, for unauthorised construction. This can include restoration cost to event third party claims

The process of Sydney water building plan approval

To get the Sydney water building plan approval, the Water Tap team must see your plan first. The building plan approval process is used to get the approval proceeding started. First, place your plan at Sydney Water Tap. Once the application is placed, the applicant will be asked a few questions. Based on the answers, the inspectors will inform the applicant’s construction will affect any water asset or limit access to it. Either your plan will be approved without further delay or you will be referred to the Water Servicing Coordinator for further assessment.

In the majority of cases, once the Water Servicing Coordinator assesses the plan, approval is received. The Water Servicing Coordinators helps to: 

  • Review the building plan and recommend options to you
  • The advice you on the relevant documentation needed for the application
  • Provide you with alternatives to protect the water asset
  • Arrange for supervising of piering works, if needed 

In case Sydney Water needs to be contacted by the Water Servicing Coordinator regarding the plan, then it becomes an “out of scope” application. You can only start work once you have shown the approval to the certifying council.

Out of scope applications

If your application falls beyond the purview of the Water Servicing Officer, then they refer it to Water Tap for in-depth review. An application for Sydney water building plan approval becomes “out of scope” when:

  • It affects wastewater pipes longer than 300mm
  • Put pressure on wastewater pipes
  • Pose potential damage to water pipes or recycled water pipes
  • Affects a Sydney water property
  • It has a Sydney water easement within its boundaries
  • Damages a site that encompasses within 10 kilometres of the property boundary, a Sydney Water-owned storm-water setup 

The building plans for such applications are scrutinized in detail and then the approval is given.


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