Building plan approvals
To protect our assets, we need to approve your building plans before you start any work.
If you’re building, excavating, or landscaping over or next to our assets, we must approve your plans before you start work.
Our approval ensures your work won't damage or limit access to our assets.
Use our building plan approval process to get our approval.
To start the process, lodge your plans at Sydney Water Tap in TM.
If you need to lodge a Development Application with your consent authority for your building work, it will be a condition of their consent that you’ve had your building plans approved by us before receiving the construction certificate.
If you don’t get this approval before you do any work on our pipes, we may:
- fine you for unauthorised work
- recover any costs we incur due to the unauthorised work. This may be from restoring our pipes or third party claims.
If you’re building, excavating, or landscaping over or next to our assets, we must approve your plans before you start. You get this approval by using our building plan approval process. To start the process, lodge your plans at Sydney Water Tap in TM.
When you make the application, we’ll ask a few short questions. We’ll use this information to tell you if your works might affect or limit access to our assets. There are two outcomes from that assessment:
- We’ll approve your plans without further assessment.
- Your plans need further assessment and you'll need to submit your application to a Water Servicing Coordinator.
In most cases, the coordinator will assess and approve your proposal. They may need to refer your application to us for a detailed review. This is known as an 'Out of scope' application.
At the end of the process, we'll approve your building plans. You’ll then be able to show your approved plans to your consent authority and receive their construction certificate.
A Water Servicing Coordinator is a listed provider for Sydney Water. They can help you by:
- reviewing your building plans and discussing options and/or requirements with you
- advising what documents you need for your application
- specifying asset protection requirements or alternate options
- arranging supervision of concrete encasement and piering works (if they’re required).
The coordinator will act on your behalf in all dealings with us. You'll have to pay the coordinator, and any other provider you need to engage, for their services.
The coordinator can usually assess and approve your plans (with any requirements), without referring them to us. If your plans need a more detailed review, they’ll refer your application to us for an 'Out of scope' application.
We recommend that you contact several coordinators to ensure you find the one most appropriate for you. They’re located across greater Sydney and service all areas.
If you're a developer, coordinators can also manage applications for Section 73 Compliance certificates.
If your building plans fall outside the scope of a Water Servicing Coordinator, they'll refer your application to us for a specialised review or an 'Out of scope' application.
Coordinators must refer building plans to us if the building affects a:
- wastewater pipe and your design doesn’t conform to any diagram (except diagrams 2, 11 or 21) in our Technical guidelines - Building over and adjacent to pipe assets
- wastewater infrastructure that isn't a pipe, eg a tunnel, oviform shaped etc
- water or recycled water pipe
- property that has a Sydney Water easement within its boundaries
- property that has Sydney Water owned stormwater infrastructure within 10 m of the property boundary.
Coordinators must refer building plans to us if you're:
- constructing a retaining wall over, or within the zone of influence. To find out more, read our Technical guidelines - Building over and adjacent to pipe assets
- excavating a basement or building over, or adjacent to, one of our assets
- dewatering .
After we’ve completed our review, we’ll send our conditions for approval to the coordinator. They’ll help you meet those conditions and approve your plans.
If your application needs to be referred to a Water Servicing Coordinator, the coordinator will tell you when they can give you a response.
If the coordinator needs to refer your application to us as an 'Out of scope' application and the application isn't complex, we’ll generally send our conditions for approval within 21 days.
We may take up to 42 days for more complex applications because they need to be reviewed by one of our specialised engineers.
We've produced these guides to help you design your buildings:
- Technical guidelines - Building over and adjacent to pipe assets
- Guide to building over/adjacent to stormwater assets
- Guide to building a bridge over stormwater assets.
If one of our wastewater pipes is in your proposed building’s basement, find out how you can manage this by reading our Reticulation sewers in basements guide.
Depending on your development type, you may also need a Section 73 Compliance Certificate.
You must have our approval if you want to move, remove or replace our pipes, including replacing them with temporary pipework.
If you have a question about the Building plan approval process, contact a Water Servicing Coordinator or call us on 13 20 92 .
If you have a technical question about building plan approval, call us on 13 20 92.