The Planning & building process


South Australia's planning and development system recently underwent its biggest reform in over 20 years. From the 19 March 2021 the new system went 'live' introducing the new 24/7 digital ePlanning system. The new planning and development system affects how development policies are formed and amended, and how applications are lodged and assessed. You can find further information about the new planning system on the State Government Planning Portal

A building development or renovation project can be an exciting but stressful time. If you are considering doing any building works, want to change the way your property is used, or erect an advertising sign it is likely you will require development approval.

You obtain approval by completing the Development Application (DA) process. 

We have made a simple guide to help step you through the process.

What is a Development Approval?

Development approval consists of one or more types of consent granted during the assessment process. The consents required for your development depend on what is being proposed and where it is located.

Development approval is set out by the new Planning, Development and infrastructure Act 2016 and may require

  • Planning consent
  • Building consent
  • Land division consent

Planning Consent

This is the concept. What is it that you want to do? Where will any buildings or additions be located? What will it look like? Will your project/development create any impacts or issues? 

Planning consent is granted by assessing the development against the planning rules to minimise any negative impacts on the surrounding area. A negative impact may be overlooking, overshadowing, increased noise or poor access.

Building Rules Consent

This is where we consider the physical construction details. The specifications (what materials you're using), the footing details and/or engineer's report (how you'll make your building stand up), working drawings (how your building will be constructed) etc.

Building consent is granted by assessing the development against the building rules to ensure building work will be undertaken in a safe and compliant way.

Land Division Consent

Required for development that involves the creation, movement or deletion of land boundaries, for example:

  • moving the boundary between two allotments
  • subdividing land into two
  • amalgamating multiple allotments into one allotment.

Land division consent is granted by assessing the development against infrastructure requirements set out by legislation. This ensures the resulting land is appropriately serviced for land use development.

If land division consent is required, the development approval must also include a planning consent.

Land division consent is usually granted by a planner in either state or local government.




You can apply for Planning Consent and Building Rules Consent at the same time if you wish. However it is likely that you will need BOTH Planning Consent AND Building Rules Consent to get Development Approval.

The Development Application Process

Here is an overview of the steps within the Development Application process.

Process overview

Step 1.Check if development approval is required

•How to determine if approval is required
•Check your zoning and overlays
•Pre-application discussion


Read more about approval and requirements >

Step 2.Prepare and lodge your Application at PlanSA

•Application information
•Application fees
•Submitting your application

Read more about preparing and submitting your DA >

Step 3.Application is verified and assessed 

•The different assessment pathways


Read more about Council assessment >

Step 4.Application decision

•Notification of decision
•Checking your Application status


Read more about Council decision >

Step 5.Mandatory notifications

  • Notifications required during building work
  • Online notifications

Development Application process >


The approval time for applications differs depending on the complexity of your application. If we need to notify your application, it may take up to two months for approval. This time frame may increase if we need to;

  • ask for more information,
  • if we receive representations from notified parties,
  • or if the application needs to be assessed by the Council Assessment Panel.