Environmental Considerations

When planning a development there may be environmental factors that need to be taken into consideration. Different factors can apply depending on the location of the development.


BASIX stands for the Building Sustainability Index. BASIX was introduced by the NSW state government to make sure new houses or additions are more energy and water efficient.

A BASIX certificate is needed when you lodge a development application for:

  • a new home
  • alterations and additions for an existing home if the work is worth $50,000 or more
  • swimming pools with a volume of more than 40,000 litres

Where do I get a BASIX certificate?

Go to the BASIX website

On the website there’s an online assessment tool you can use.

The BASIX assessment tool calculates if your plans meet the targets for water and energy use. If they do, you’ll be issued with a BASIX certificate.

Water Sensitive Design

Water Sensitive Design considerations apply for subdivisions across MidCoast Council.  Water Sensitive Design is required for all types of development in Great Lakes region. .

We are committed to reducing the impact of stormwater on the health of our waterways by using Water Sensitive Design (WSD).  Water Sensitive Design is an approach to development and re-development that integrates the whole water cycle into the design (stormwater, groundwater, waste water and supply). This approach improves water quality and manages the volume of water leaving a development, reduces our overall demand on water sources and minimises the pollution entering our waterways.

Check lists, fact sheets, example plans, deemed to comply tables and other tools have been developed to assist with meeting the requirements of the Water Sensitive Design chapter of the Great Lakes Development Control plan (Chapter 11).

Water Sensitive Design requirements can be confusing at first. To help you understand WSD and how it is covered in Chapter 11 of the Great Lakes Development Control Plan (DCP), we've produced a Frequently Asked Questions document that you can view or download below.

Check lists to be submitted with your development application:

General WSD Fact Sheets:

Types of Raingardens

Raingardens can be constructed on both clay and sandy soils and are the most effective treatment available to meet the water quality targets in the Water Sensitive Design Chapter of the DCP. There are slight differences in the design of raingardens for sandy soils and clay soils.

Sandy Soils - Infiltrating Raingarden

A raingarden that is built on sandy soils is called an 'Infiltrating Raingarden. This type of raingarden infiltrates into the sandy sub soil and can be built by lining the sides of the raingarden with impermeable plastic and replacing in situ sands with 400mm of filter media. Example site plans and cross sections for an infiltrating raingarden can be downloaded below.

Clay Soils - Raingarden

A raingarden constructed in clay soils contains underdrains that collect and deliver the treated water into the main stormwater system. Example site plans and cross sections for a raingarden can be downloaded below.

Sizing your raingarden

The size of the raingarden is determined based on the lot size, roof and driveway areas which drain to the raingarden, and the size of the water tank.

There are two ways to work out what size raingarden you need.

1. Deemed to Comply Table

Council has developed Deemed to Comply sizing tables to help size your raingarden. This is a simplified sizing methodology that can be used for both clay and sandy soils, provided the criteria can be met. If the criteria for using the table cannot be met, then the Small Scale Stormwater Tool should be used.

2. Small Scale Stormwater Tool

The Small Scale Stormwater Tool (S3QM - www.s3qm.com.au) can be used to gain a more precise raingarden size, and also when the criteria for the Deemed to Comply Table cannot be met. A basic guide on how to use the tool can be downloaded below.

Properties with Site Constraints or non-standard options:

If you have site constraints on your block, or want to do something different to the standard options provided in the deemed to comply tables, you will need to use the Small Scale Stormwater Quality Model (S3QM) to identify the treatments that will meet the Water Quality Targets. The model can be accessed online at www.S3QM.com.au

Water Sensitive Design for Single Dwellings on Un-serviced Sites

Council have developed a guide on Water Sensitive Design for single dwellings that do not have access to town water and are fully reliant on rainwater.

These types of development may be able to meet the water quality targets in Chapter 11 of the DCP if 100% of the roof area drains directly to the rainwater tank which supplies all indoor uses.

The fact sheet below can assist with working out how to meet the Water Sensitive Design requirements.

Contaminated Land Management Policy

The Contaminated Land Management Policy consideration currently only applies to developments in the Gloucester Region.

When carrying out planning functions Council must consider the possibility that a previous land use has caused contamination of the site as well as the potential risk to health or the environment from that contamination.

The purpose of this policy is to establish ‘best practice’ for managing land contamination through the planning and development control process. Download the Contaminated Land Management Policy below.