Development Assessment

The assessment of your application begins with us first checking that your application requires approval and all the required information is included. If not, then you will be advised of what further information is needed. Next, depending on the type of development and/or its location, we may undertake public notification of the proposal (see separate information sheet) and refer the application to other government agencies as necessary. The Development Regulations specify the circumstances when this consultation is necessary. Agencies are given a time frame within which to respond with a report. The reports may contain mandatory directions (to the council) or advice only and once they have been considered a decision can be made.

Either the council or the State Commission Assessment Panel is responsible for undertaking development assessment. In certain cases, the Minister for Planning (in the case of Crown developments) or the Governor (when an environmental impact statement or a major project is declared under the Development Act) may also become involved in the decision.

Refer to our information sheet about making an application for more information on when the Commission is the authority.

There are time limits within which planning decisions need to be made depending on the nature of the development. Applications for routine developments can generally be dealt with in a short period of time, approximately within eight weeks (two weeks for complying developments). If an application is required to be referred to a government agency, the time limit increases to 14 weeks and for land divisions the time is 12 weeks.

Decisions are made on the basis of the planning policies contained in the Development Plan, and a decision is made accordingly. Consent cannot be granted if the authority believes that the proposal seriously varies from the plan’s policies. We determine the suitability or otherwise of development proposals in terms of what the plan says. The Building Code requirements must be fulfilled in respect to the Building Rules assessment. 

Please note that the South Australian government is currently introducing numerous changes to the state planning system. This includes the Development Act 1993 and Development Regulations 2008 transitioning to the new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and associated Regulations. During this phase, some of the information currently on our website will become outdated. The SA Planning Portal is the best reference point for up to date information on the state planning system.