The Development Process

Development Approval Process
> Public Notification
> Development/Building information required
Planning Reforms
Council Development Plan

When you undertake development the law requires that you first obtain Development Approval from the Council (or the State Commission Assessment Panel in some cases).

Development Approval is a three stage process:

  1. Development Plan Consent
  2. Building Rules Consent
  3. Development Approval

Development Plan Consent
Development Plan Consent is the assessment of the development against the Council Development Plan and whether the land is suitable for the intended use. The process may involve public notification and referral of the application to State Agencies, such as the Country Fire Service, the Environment Protection Authority, or the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

Development Plan Consent may be issued by the Council, the Council Assessment Panel, the State Commission Assessment Panel (State Government), or a planning consultant (planning private certifier) in some cases. The Development Plan Consent may be issued subject to conditions and is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Certain types of development are exempt from planning controls but still require building rules consent.

Building Rules Consent
Building Rules Consent is the assessment of the structural components of the development against the Building Code of Australia. Building Rules Consent may include building fire safety matters and may be issued subject to conditions. It may be issued by the Council or a private certifier. It must be issued within 12 months of the date of the Development Plan Consent.

Development Approval
Development Approval is granted once Building Rules Consent is received by the Council or the State Commission Assessment Panel. It is the written authorisation to commence building work. The approved development must be substantially commenced within 12 months of the date of Development Approval, and fully completed within three years.

Click here to download a flowchart that explains the different steps for Development Approval.

For more information about the process, visit the State Planning Commission website.

Category 1, 2 or 3 Developments
There are three categories of public notification. Types of Category 1 and Category 2 developments are listed in the Development Regulations (2008) and may also be listed in individual zones within the Council's Development Plan.

If an application is categorised as either Category 2 or Category 3 development there exists an opportunity to lodge a representation on the appropriate form within the specified time. Representations received after the stipulated deadline are deemed invalid and are not considered by the Council.

Category 1 Developments
Category 1 covers 'development' which is exempt from public notification, and usually relates to uses that could be reasonably expected and are not on a zone boundary where a conflict may arise. Examples might include:

  • Detached dwellings in residential zones
  • Retail shops within a centre zone 

Category 2 Developments
Category 2 covers 'development' which requires limited public notification to owners or occupiers of land adjacent to a proposal. Representations can be made against the application, but a person who lodges a representation does not have a right of appeal against the final decision. Examples include:

  • Development on land which abuts a different zone boundary
  • Regulated trees (if Council is undertaking the development)

Category 3 Developments
Category 3 developments include those kinds of development not listed as either Category 1 or Category 2 in Schedule 9 of the Development Regulations (2008). In this case, a public notice is placed in a newspaper and any person can make a representation on the application. Persons who make representations in relation to Category 3 may request to be heard by the Council Assessment Panel (CAP) as part of their submission. A representation to a Category 3 publicly notified proposal also has an appeal right against the final decision.

Category 3 Development Applications in the Adelaide Hills Council district are printed on Fridays in the Adelaide Advertiser when applicable.

Development Application Appeals
Appeals against decisions on development applications are heard by a specialist Environment, Resources and Development Court.

The following is a general guide to assist applicants with compiling the information required to enable development application assessment to be undertaken for compliance with the Building Code. Other information may be required depending on the type of development proposed.

Quick Links (or scroll down to read all topics)
Site Plan
Plans and elevations of proposed building work
Specification of works
Energy efficiency details of compliance
Bushfire construction standards
Private certification
Other information
Useful links


  • Development Application Form
  • Waste Water Works Application (if plumbing work/alteration is to be undertaken), unless located in SA Water sewered area
  • Certificate of Indemnity Insurance (domestic work over $12,000)
  • Construction Industry Training Levy payment receipt (required to enable approval to be issued if value exceeds $40,000)
    • Pay online or request a paper form and pay by cheque in return post.
  • Two duplicate sets of all plans and technical details
  • A copy of the Certificate of Title for the subject land

Site Plan
An aerial view of the allotment and site, drawn at a scale of 1:500. The plan is required to show all natural and improved features on the site and should also show:

  • North
  • Boundaries and dimensions of the site, adjoining roads (including kerb gutter and footpath or formed roadway), rivers, reserves and the like
  • The location of the proposed development (building or land use) in relation to boundaries and other features of the site
  • Existing features of the site such as plantings, watercourses, fences, road easements etc
  • Existing structures on the site, including their distance from boundaries
  • Site levels and contours including temporary bench mark, bench leel, finished floor level, and site levels
  • Site levelling and/or cut and fill proposals for development including angle of batter or fill or location of proposed retaining walls
  • The location of existing septic tanks and soakage/effluent connection points
  • The location of any trees that may affect the building on the subject or neighbouring site
  • The stormwater disposal system.

And for commercial/business developments:

  • The location of any signage
  • The location and dimensions of onsite car parks
  • Materials of construction
  • Method of marking driveways and car parks
  • Method of collection treatment and discharge of stormwater (to conform with stormwater pollution prevention details)
  • The location and type of lighting and light poles including wattage luminesce, direction of lighting, and shielding to prevent nuisance by light spill.

Plans and elevations of proposed building work
Plans should be drawn at a scale of 1:100. Specific details of construction may clarify construction design and should be drawn at a scale of 1:20. The plans should show:

  • Dimensioned, overall plan view of each storey showing all existing and proposed rooms, walls, doors, windows, fixtures, fittings (kitchen, bathroom, smoke detectors and the like), control joints, brick piers, verandahs, carports, hot water service, and any other relevant feature of the building
    • For renovations, two plans (one of the existing and of of the proposed) will be very helpful
  • Elevations of each side of the building and any relevant sections or details showing walls, roof, windows, doors, claddings, control joints, roof pitch, and any other relevant details
  • Timber (or steel) framing design construction details showing floor, wall, and roof member framing layout, all member sizes and spacings, wall and roof bracing design and details (location and type of bracing), wall and roof tie down details (location and type of connectors), lintel sizes, wind speed design, timber type and stress grades
  • For trussed roofs, the truss design calculations, truss layout plan showing bracing, tie down, individual members, top and bottom cord restraint, hip end framing, web tie or bracing (if relevant), girder trusses, location of hot water service loads and the like
  • Independent plans specifying construction details for pre-manufactured garages, verandahs, carports, pergolas and the like
  • For commercial business and industrial developments, detail universal access and egress details and essential safety provisions for the building, including car parking facilities and a path of travel to the building.

An engineer's soil report is required for concrete footings.  The design of the footings may be by the engineer or by a competent person, in accordance with the engineer's site soil classification as per AS 2870 residential slabs and footings.

Specification of works
Construction specifications detailing all works and trades to be undertaken in association with the building work, detailing quality of works, compliance with Australian Standards and the Building Codes, site sanitation and management etc.  Specifications may be standardised type such as the Master Builders Association, Housing Industry Association, Nat spec or similar (provided by the builder affiliated with the organization) or independently catered to specify how the development will be undertaken to comply with the Building Code of Australia and all relevant Australian Standards.

Energy efficiency details of compliance
Details confirming the compliance of the proposed building, including additions, with the energy efficiency requirements of the Building Code. This may be by an independent assessment of the building against the provisions of the Code or by an accredited assessor.

Details regarding rainwater storage (minimum 1,000 litres) and the method of interconnection into the dwelling to comply with the Building Code of Australia (all laundry cold taps, a heated water unit, or a toilet).

Bushfire construction standards
Details of the standard of construction being met for bushfire protection of the building. This will vary depending on the location of the building and the Bushfire Attack Level required to be met.

Fees are listed on the back of the Development Application Form. Council's staff will assist with determining the appropriate fee for each application.

Fees are required to be paid at lodgement of the application. An application may be lodged with the relevant lodgment fee only. The remaining fees will then be calculated and sought separately. The application may not be processed until Council has received payment of all relevant fees.

Private certification
Applicants may employ the services of a Private Certifier in lieu of Council to undertake the Building Rules Assessment section of their application.

A certifier cannot issue Building Rules Consent in most cases unless the relevant Development Plan Consent has first been issued by Council. In this regard you will need to seek Development Plan Consent from Council.

Other information
Applicants are advised to seek the assistance of suitably qualified persons to prepare and document development applications. Inadequate or insufficient information can delay the processing of applications.

Please note the building owner is required to provide notification to adjoining owners (section 60 and regulation 75 of the development act and regulations) when filling or excavating near boundaries. Refer to extracts:

Building Rules Assessment
The Development Act defines development and building work and requires assessment of the building aspects as related to the National Construction Code known as the Building Code of Australia. 

Generally the Building Code classifies buildings into their different types of uses and sets minimum construction standards as related to the type of building.  The information needed to assess an application will vary according to its proposed use.

The latest edition of the Building Code of Australia in the National Construction Code series was adopted on 1 May 2019. Click here for a summary of the changesThe National Construction Code can be accessed free of charge by registering with the Australian Building Codes Board.

Development Applications for buildings require the completion by an applicant of a Power Line Declaration Form to advise Council in relation to power lines adjacent to proposed buildings. The Declaration Form is listed below and further information is contained in the document Energy SA guide to building safely near power lines.

Boundary fences usually require neighbour agreements to be achieved. A useful guide to this process is contained in the Legal Services Commission pamphlet "Fences and the Law"   It contains the relevant information and forms required to assist fencing negotiations and/or disputes.

Useful links
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Levy.  Payment is required to the board when the development Cost Exceeds $40,000. Payment available online

Ministers specifications are State Government documents providing separate and additional requirements or concessions for certain developments. They relate to farm buildings, bushfire construction, grain bunkers, essential safety provisions, fire safety in caravan parks, and other matters.

South Australia's new planning system is on the way.

The passage of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 began the biggest modernisation of South Australia's planning system in over 20 years, and builds upon the important recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Planning Reform in 2014. To read more about the State Government's approach to creating a better South Australian planning system, please visit Strategic Context

The new laws - passed by parliament in April 2016 and brought into effect on 1 April 2017 - have paved the way for a host of improvements to the planning system which will be fully up and running by 2020. To track the progress towards our new planning system, please visit Implementation or contact the State Planning Commission at

Council acknowledges that we conduct our business on the traditional lands and waters of the Peramangk and Kaurna people. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging as the Custodians of this ancient and beautiful land.
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