Rules for renovating in New South Wales will be rewritten to make them easier to understand.

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced this week that the government will take the necessary steps, including rewriting the Housing Code, to make it easier for people to make alterations to home and investment properties.

“I want to make our planning laws easier to understand for everyone. You shouldn’t need a degree in planning to add an extra bedroom to your house,” Stokes said.

“Rules should be plain and simple for the basic renovations people want to make to their home or investment property.”

The changes have been welcomed by Renovating for Profit chief executive officer Cherie Barber, who said renovators in the state face constant hurdles thrown up by hard to understand legislation.

“I definitely support any thing that makes renovations easier and new rules will definitely do that in New South Wales,” Barber said.

“At the moment the development controls in the state are so confusing, they need to be written in a manner that’s practical so normal people can actually understand them.”

With the state government looking at their regulations, Barber believes council’s should also simplify things for prospective renovators.

“I’d like to see councils list what you need approval for and what work you don’t,” she said.

“At the moment you go to council and they say look at what the SEPP documents say, but it doesn’t actually say what is and isn’t compliant and if you do or don’t need and DA.

“And it all varies from council to council, in Leichhardt council you need a DA to render your house, but then somewhere like Blacktown you don’t, why can’t they just have document that says that?”

Barber also supports another part of the re-write process, a NSW government campaign, including an online video, to encourage renovators to better communicate with people affected by their works.

“That’s something I absolutely recommend, before any renovation I always drop a note in people’s letter boxes outlining what’s planned and though it seems simple it can save a lot of time and money.

“If you do it before you submit your plans to council you can get an idea of what people might object to and work to a solution without having to spend the money on reworking plans and re submitting them.

“The other thing it does is reduce the likelihood of work being stopped by a ranger, a lot of the time when people see and hear something going on they think it’s illegal work and ring the council and then range comes out to inspect, but that doesn’t happen if people know you have approval."