Steps for first-time developers

Land developing comes in all sizes

Whether you’re developing land by building a granny flat or laying out a new suburb, you’ll need to get approvals from us. Land development includes dual occupancies or duplexes, subdivisions or boundary adjustments, commercial or industrial developments, residential apartments, townhouses or villas.

Sign up for Sydney Water Tap in
Sydney Water Tap in gives you access to convenient online Sydney Water application forms for all sorts of building and development projects, and provides step-by-step instructions on what you need to support them.


1. Start with a plan

Think about the water, wastewater and stormwater services your development will need. You might need to build something to meet our servicing requirements.

Here are some tips to help you plan:

  • Talk to a water servicing coordinator or our Sydney Water Developer Direct team.
  • Read our detailed Land development guide (618KB).
  • If you’d like to know what our requirements could be, you can lodge a feasibility application (an application fee will apply) through a water servicing coordinator. They’ll give you a copy of our feasibility letter that explains our charges, requirements and conditions for your proposed development.

2. Get consent 

You’ll need consent or approval for your development from your council or local authority.

To find out what type of consent you need, check with the council. They may have conditions that you have to meet before they give consent. They may ask you to apply for a Section 73 Compliance Certificate, which certifies that you have adequate access to water and wastewater services for your new development. 

If you’re building, we also need to approve your building plans. Your water servicing coordinator or Sydney Water Developer Direct case manager can manage our approval. 

Check out our Land development guide (618KB) for the steps you’ll need to take.

If you don’t own the neighbouring property, you’ll have to work with your coordinator or case manager to negotiate access. You may need to pay compensation or look at ways to minimise any impacts. Note that this may potentially delay your project, especially if more than one property owner is affected.


3. Apply for a Section 73 Compliance Certificate

Before you start building extra homes or subdividing your land, you need to apply for a Section 73 Compliance Certificate. This is to make sure your development has, at a minimum:

  • frontage to a drinking water main to connect a metered property service
  • a wastewater connection point for each lot at least one metre inside each lot boundary.

It’s proof for your council that your development or subdivision has access to our water, wastewater and stormwater system. It also confirms that you’ve paid any necessary contributions towards existing infrastructure.

You can apply through:

  • a water servicing coordinator for all sized developments where either minor or major works are required
  • Sydney Water Developer Direct for small to medium sized developments where only minor works are required.

Once you’ve paid your application fee, we’ll assess your application. We’ll either approve it or send a Notice of Requirements letter letting you know what else you need to do to be approved.

You may need to protect our pipes and assets before you can get your Section 73 Compliance Certificate and building plan approval, and sometimes these works can’t be built or inspected until you start building. For example, pouring concrete piers. In a case like this, we can issue a conditional building plan approval that you can take to your council.

Track your application
If you applied through Sydney Water Developer Direct, sign in to Sydney Water Tap in. If you applied through a water servicing coordinator, go to developer application progress.


4. Fulfil your Notice of Requirements

Your Notice of Requirements will be based on your development and plans, and their impact on our systems. It will let you know:

  • the construction works needed to make sure each lot has a frontage to a water main and a connection point to a wastewater main at least one metre inside your property
  • any costs and charges
  • any other requirements, which may include amplifying or adjusting our systems or pipes, or protecting our assets when you build over or next to them.

You can’t use private service lines in easements, shared service arrangements or pipes encroaching from or over your property to service your development. If you need to build works, you’ll need to use one of our listed providers at your cost.

Your water servicing coordinator gets your Notice of Requirements letter. They coordinate the design and construction of any works required using our listed providers. If construction works are required, you and your providers will need to sign a Developer Works Deed.

When all your requirements are complete, your water servicing coordinator will receive the Section 73 Certificate. They can also manage your building plan approval for you.

We’ll assign a case manager to your application, who will determine the servicing requirements for your development and assess your building plans to make sure that the building doesn’t impact our pipes and structures. We’ll also obtain quotes for any works required, and we’ll provide you with a copy of your Notice of Requirements letter.

You can either keep using Sydney Water Developer Direct or change to a water servicing coordinator to manage your water and wastewater (sewer) works. If you remain with Sydney Water Developer Direct, you’ll need to sign a minor works contract and pay for the works up front (water and wastewater works are bundled together as one quote and can’t be separated).

When you’ve met all your requirements, you’ll receive your Section 73 Compliance Certificate directly.

Read more


5. Finalise your certificates and approvals

Once your construction works are completed and we’ve inspected them, we’ll take them over and they’ll become part of our system. We won’t take over any of your private plumbing works. When you’ve met all the other requirements, we’ll issue your Section 73 Compliance Certificate either to your water servicing coordinator or directly to you if you used our Sydney Water Developer Direct service. You can provide the certificate to your council. 

There’s more information about adjusting or protecting our systems and pipes in our Asset adjustment and protection manual (578KB).

You might need to protect our pipes and assets to get your Section 73 Compliance Certificate and building plan approval. Sometimes these works can’t be built or inspected until you start building, for example, pouring concrete piers. In those cases, we can issue conditional building plan approval for you to take to your council.


6. Connect to our system

You need our approval to connect to water and wastewater systems. Your water servicing coordinator or Sydney Water Developer Direct case manager can help you.

If you’re connecting a business that produces commercial or industrial trade wastewater, you must get our permission before you discharge to our wastewater system.


Essential references

These guides will help you to plan your project: