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What Defines Development & Why Apply for Approval?

There are about 50,000 development applications lodged in South Australia every year (Planning SA:Online). These applications range from simple extensions to residential homes through to major projects. Development is important for the economic growth of South Australia and our immediate community.

No development can be taken without the appropriate development approval being obtained by the relevant authority.

Fines of up to $120,000 for illegal development can be incurred and prosecution can be taken.

It is wise to seek advice from the appropriate authority as to whether approval is required to be obtained before you develop any land or property.

Definition of Development

'Development' is defined in the Development Act to include:

  • a change in the use of land or buildings
  • the creation of new allotments through land division (including Strata and Community Title division)
  • building work (including construction, demolition, alteration and associated excavation/fill)
  • cutting, damaging or felling of significant trees
  • specific work in relation to State and Local Heritage Places
  • prescribed mining operations
  • other acts or activities in relation to land as declared by the Development Regulations

The Development Act and Regulations detail the processes for making and assessing development applications.

No development can be undertaken without an appropriate Development Approval being obtained from the relevant authority.

Primary Function of the Development Act

One of the primary functions of the Development Act is to regulate development in order to:

  • enhance the conservation, use, and management of land and buildings
  • enhance the amenity of buildings
  • provide for the health and safety of people who use buildings
  • protect the environment
  • ensure efficient and uniform technical requirements for building
  • advance the public interest

Development Plan Consent

All forms of development require Development Plan consent. Each proposal is assessed by the relevant Development Plan, Development Act and Development Regulations 1993.

The Development Plan sets out provisions dealing with the design and location of development and includes matters such as zoning and design criteria.

In the assessment of an application for Development Plan Consent the following is determined:

  • the kind of development (complying, non-complying and development on consideration of merit)
  • the relevant authority for the application
  • whether the application needs to be referred to prescribed bodies or other Government agencies
  • whether the public needs to be notified of the application

For more information please click the following links for the information guides
Development Approval Development%20Approval (175 kb)
Development Application Decision Process Development%20Application%20Decision%20Process (173 kb)

Building Rules Consent

Building Rules consent is applicable to all development where building work is involved unless exempted by the Regulations. Each proposal is assessed with regard to its conformity with the technical requirements of the Building Rules by either the relevant authority or private certifier.

An application for building consent is assessed against the technical requirements of the Building Code of Australia, South Australian Housing Code, Development Act, Development Regulations 1993 and other relevant standards to ensure structural adequacy.

When granting Building Rules consent the Building Department may assess an application on the following but is not limited to:

  • structural adequacy
  • fire Safety
  • health and safety of the building
  • disabled access

For more information please click the following links for the information guides
Development Approval Development%20Approval (175 kb)
Development Application Decision Process Development%20Application%20Decision%20Process (173 kb)

Fines for Illegal Development

In accordance with Section 44 of the Development Act 1993, maximum penalties can be received of up to $120,000 for the following:

  • failure to obtain development approval
  • undertaking development contrary to a development authorisation
  • failing to comply with a condition of consent imposed
  • failure to perform building work in accordance with technical details, particulars, plans, drawings and specification approved