Building & Renovating

Application Forms & Resources

Unley Development Plan


  • What is the difference between planning and building?

    Planning Consent is the first step in the Development Application Process. Planning is the concept - what do you want to do? Where will your house, addition or garage etc be located on your block of land? What will it look like? Where in relation to all of the other buildings, structures and trees on your land and on your neighbours'? Will there be overshadowing or overlooking issues? How much private open area will you have?

    Building Rules Consent is the second step in the Development Application Process. 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.

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

    For further information or assistance please contact Council's Development team on 8372 5111 or view the State Government Guide to Development Assessment.

  • What is the zoning of my property?

    To find out the zoning of your property, please refer to the Planning Development Map or State Government Map Viewer.

  • How long will it take to get development approval?

    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.

  • What details do I need to provide for development approval?

    You need to supply two copies of your plans and all other documentation (which includes footing and engineer's reports, specifications, copy of Certificate of Title etc). You will also need to complete an application form and pay the appropriate fees.

    To find out what you need to provide for Planning Consent and Building Consent go to the Resources & Guidelines menu tab above. More information can be found in the Guide for Applicants published by Planning SA.

  • What is a Development Plan?
    Each Council has a Development Plan, which sets out planning and development objectives or principles relating to:
    • The constructed environment and environmentally sustainable development
    • Social or socio-economic issues
    • Urban or regional planning issues
    • The management or conservation of land
    • Buildings, heritage places and heritage areas
    • The management, conservation and use of natural and other resources
    • Economic issues.

    Unley's Development Plan sets out planning zones, lists complying and non-complying land uses within each zone, and determines development techniques and criteria.
    Every Development Plan and Development Plan Amendment requires the relevant Minister's, and ultimately Parliament's, approval. To read more about Development Plans, Zones and DPA's visit our Development Plan page.
  • Does demolition need development approval?

    Before you can demolish any building, you need development approval. To find out more about demolition and what you need to do to apply for development approval, download the Demolition Application Form and Fact Sheet including the Details of Demolition Form.

  • Do I need development approval to build a fence?

    In some cases you will need development approval to build a fence.

  • Do I need approval to undertake work on a Public Road and Footpath?

    An application to Alter Public Road Form is required to be submitted to Councils for any works being undertaken on Council land / Public Road and Footpath as part of your development. A separate application form is required for an Underground Electrical Service installation.  Visit our Forms & Applications webpage for to download any required forms.

    Forms required:

    • Opening, Closing and the Extending of a Crossover / Driveway
    • Installation of new or replacement of stormwater pipe crossing the footpath or other stormwater installation across council land. (Note a specified class pipe is required across Council footpath. ( Refer to specifications )
    • Any alterations to Council land / roads and footpath
    • Installation for Underground Electrical Service (Underground Electrical service Form)
  • Who is responsible for Damage to Council Infrastructure caused as part of a development?
    • The responsibility to repair any damage to council infrastructure at the completion of a development is that of the applicant / owner
    •  All repairs to damage footpaths and roads caused due to the construction of an approved development should be repaired before hand over or soon after to avoid any extra cost to repair damaged Council infrastructure. All work is to be done in accordance to Council specifications and guild lines.
    • If there is damage that has not been repaired Council will assess and send a notice to repair the damaged infrastructure. If Council are to conduct the required repairs, ainvoice will be attached for the cost of repairs requiring payment. 
    • Costs to repair damaged infrastructure would be at the cost of the applicant/ owner. 
  • When do I require Building Indemnity Insurance?

    All residential development with more than $12,000 in estimated cost needs "Building Indemnity Insurance" unless the developer is an owner/builder or the builder is not known when the application is lodged. In the latter case, a condition requesting submission of the Building Indemnity Insurance is placed on the approval. If you intend to be an owner/builder, by law you must engage a registered site supervisor.

    If the developer has a Builder's Licence then he/she is required to take out Building Indemnity Insurance even if the developer is the owner of the property (unless the licence is a Supervisor's Licence).

    Building Indemnity Insurance lapses after five years.

  • Are there any special requirements if I am an owner builder?

    If you are going to be responsible for undertaking building work as an owner/builder, you must engage a registered Building Work Supervisor and provide the details to us by completing a Registered Building Work Supervisor Details form.

  • After I get my approval, when can I start work?
    You have 12 months from the date of your Development Approval to start work (this usually means laying the footings) and three years from the date of your Development Approval to substantially finish the work.

    There are certain steps you have to take to ensure that your consent or approval remains valid. For further information view the How Long is my Approval Valid factsheet. 
  • What is a significant tree?
    A regulated tree is any tree in metropolitan Adelaide, Adelaide Hills Council townships and parts of the Mount Barker Council with a trunk circumference of 2m or more (measured at a point 1m above natural ground level). In the case of trees with multiple trunks, regulated trees are those with trunks having a total circumference of 2m or more and an average circumference of 625mm or more (measured at a point 1m above natural ground level).

    A significant tree is a regulated tree in metropolitan Adelaide, Adelaide Hills Council townships and parts of the Mount Barker Council with a trunk circumference of 3m or more (measured at a point 1m above natural ground level). In the case of trees with multiple trunks, signficant trrees are those with trunks having a total circumference of 3m or more and an average circumference of 625mm or more (measured at a point 1m above natural ground level).

    A significant tree may be listed in a local council development plan.

    Some trees may be exempt from regulated and significant tree controls either because of their location or their species.

    It is recommended you contact your local council to find out if the regulated tree legislation applies in your area or if a tree is listed in the development plan or exempt from controls.

    For more information view the SA Government’s Community Information Sheet and Council’s Fact Sheet on Regulated and Significant Trees.
  • What is CAP?

    CAP is the abbreviation for Council Assessment Panel (formerly known as the Development Assessment Panel or DAP). The CAP is a body of people who consider and make decisions on some development applications in their Council area. The role of the CAP is to make impartial and transparent development assessment decisions based on the policies in the Development Plan.

Development Approvals

No development can commence without written Development Approval from Council. If you are intending to undertake any of the following activities, you will need to obtain Development Approval from Council before commencing the work:

  • Demolish, construct, add or alter a building
  • Erect a sign
  • Change the use of a property
  • Any tree damaging activity to a regulated or significant tree
  • Any external alteration (and in some case also internal alterations) of a listed heritage item
  • Divide or alter the boundary of an allotment

Your application will be assessed against the objectives and principles of the City of Unley Development Plan, with the application process determined by the Development Act 1993 and Development Regulations 2008. The Development Plan divides the Council area into Zones and Policy Areas, with different policies applicable to each.

  • Planning Assessment Considerations

    A planning assessment involves assessing the impact of development, including:

    • Potential impact of development upon adjoining buildings, properties and people (e.g. overshadowing, overlooking, and visual dominance)
    • Size, shape, orientation and layout of new allotments
    • Impacts to heritage buildings – this involves building work to a heritage building as well as works adjacent to a heritage building
    • Impact to the character of existing buildings in an existing street or locality
    • Appropriateness of certain land uses, dependant on the relevant zoning

    Examples of other criteria considered during assessment are environmental sustainability, access and traffic, and public safety.

    This assessment is undertaken against the principles and polices in Council's Development Plan with different requirements based upon what you wish to do and what area of the City you are located in.

  • Building Assessments

    After receiving a planning approval, a building approval is typically required. This involves an appraisal of the design of buildings to ensure the proposed works are in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards; this includes items such as disabled access and fire and life safety systems.

  • Preparing Your Application
    Providing Council with all of the plans and documents required for the type of development you propose is the quickest way to have your application assessed.

    Development applications submitted without the correct information will face significant processing delays.

    A pre-application discussion with a Council Planning Officer by phoning 8372 5111 will ensure you have considered the relevant issues.

    At a minimum, all Development Applications must contain each of the following:

    Development Application Form
    This form is to be completely filled out and signed.

    Certificate of Title (2 copies)
    To confirm ownership of the affected property and check boundaries.

    Powerline Clearance Declaration (2 copies)
    To confirm that your proposal satisfies the necessary setbacks from powerlines. Page 2 of the Development Application Form

    Construction Industry Training Levy Receipt (2 copies)
    Required for all development applications with a value of work in excess of $40,000. Find out more about the Construction Industry Training Levy.

    Plans & Drawings (2 copies)
    Site plans and drawings will need to be provided for every Development Application. All plans should be numbered and dated accordingly.

    Generally this is sufficient information for planning approval only. If full development approval including building approval is sought, further information such as specifications and engineering will be required.

    • Site plan of a scale no less than 1:500 (1:100 or 1:200 is preferred)
    • Dimensioned Floor Plans, showing both existing and proposed development if applicable
    • Dimensioned Elevations of all sides of the building
    • Various other plans dependent on the type of development you are proposing.

    Appropriate Fees
    All development applications attract fees based on the type of development being proposed. To understand the cost of your proposed development, please view the Development Application Fees.

    You may also be asked to provide additional information alongside the minimum information listed above. Please read through the General Information guidelines and resources prior to submitting your application to avoid processing delays.

    Each proposal is slightly different and may require many factors to be considered before lodging an application. We encourage you to read the information provided and contact a Council Planning Officer to discuss your specific requirements on 8372 5111.

  • Lodging Your Application

    Your application can be lodged by post, by email, and in person.

    City of Unley
    Development Assessment Team
    PO Box 1
    Unley SA 5061

    To enable large files to be sent and received, please email us using the City of Unley File Transfer Service

    In Person
    Development Applications can be lodged in person at the Unley Civic Centre from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The Civic Centre is located at 181 Unley Road, Unley SA 5061.

  • Assessment of Your Application
    Council plays an active role in assessing all applications. The time taken to process development applications varies depending on the type of proposal.

    The assessment process may involve some or all of the following processes, depending on the nature of the proposal.

    Step 1
    Assessment of Plans against the Development Plan, Building Code and relevant standards.

    Step 2
    Site Visit/Inspection

    The Officer assessing the application may need to visit the site for a better understanding of the proposal. If this is the case and access into a building or site is required, the Council Officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time.

    Step 3

    Your application may be referred internally within Council for expert advice.

    If appropriate, your application may also be referred externally for advice – such as to the State Heritage Unit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for proposals that affect State Heritage listed properties, or to the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Expert advice received will be taken into consideration by the Planning Officer.

    Step 4
    Public Notification Process

    Some forms of development will require public notification. Public notification allows adjoining or nearby property owners the opportunity to look at a proposed development, consider the likely impacts the proposal may have on them, and provide comments about the proposal prior to a decision being made.

    In these instances, Council will write to each property owner and allow 10 business days for comments to be made.

    Step 5
    Report and Decision/Council Assessment Panel

    A detailed report will be developed by a Planning Officer taking into consideration the outcomes of all of the above steps. This report will outline the recommended decision.

    Over 90% of development applications are delegated to the administration for decisions. The remaining applications are determined by the Council Assessment Panel.

    Step 6
    Building Rules Assessment

    The Building Rules Assessment can be undertaken by either Council or a Private Certifier. The assessing officers ensure the proposed works are in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards; this includes items such as disabled access and fire and life safety systems.

    When the building officer is satisfied that the proposed works have been designed in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and are consistent with the approved planning documents, the officer is able to finalise the application and grant Building Rules Consent and in turn Development Approval.

  • Tracking Your Application

    Track your application and view all City of Unley applications by visiting the Development Register.

  • Building & Compliance

    Before commencing work Once Development Approval is granted you are permitted to commence works. This must occur within 12 months of the date of the approval.

    You are required to notify council at a minimum of 24 hours prior to work commencing. 

    If you are not going to commence works within the 12 month period you should apply for an extension of time to your approval by completing the below application form.

    Council have a team of officers responsible for inspecting sites to ensure works are undertaken in accordance with the Development Act 1993, Building Code of Australia and appropriate Australian Standards. Officers may, at any time, request access to your site to ensure works are being undertaken in accordance with approved plans.

    Completing works
    Once your development is complete you are required to notify council. This will allow officers to undertake a final inspection, if necessary. A Builder’s Statement may be required to be submitted to Council at the completion of work.

    Certificate of Occupancy
    Prior to occupation a condition of the approval may be that a Certificate of Occupancy is required. A Council Officer can issue this certificate if Council has granted the approval Building Rules Consent.

    Please contact Council to arrange for a site inspection to issue to Certificate of Occupancy.

Mandatory Notifications

The Development Act requires people to notify us at certain stages during building work.

The notification of stages of building work (as specified on the mandatory notification notice issued at the time of development approval) requires one business day's notice.

The name of the licensed building work contractor, or the name of the person who is in charge of carrying out the building work, must also be provided to us at the time of each specified notification stage.

If construction commences and we have not received the mandatory notifications and details of the licensed building work contractor or supervisor as required, we're empowered to stop building work while the matter is rectified and could also issue fines or other orders as warranted against the person responsible for the work.

Notifying Council

Notification during building work can be provided in any of the following ways:

  • In person - Unley Civic Centre, 181 Unley Road, Unley
  • By post - PO Box 1, Unley SA 5061
  • By fax - (08) 8271 4886
  • By telephone - (08) 8372 5111
  • By email -
  • Online - using the below online notification forms
Mandatory Notification Form - Class 1 - 9 Building
Mandatory Notification Form - Class 10 Buildings
Mandatory Notification Form - Swimming Pools

Development Register

New development applications are received and considered by Council on a regular basis. View the interactive Development Register below to find out about current applications for development in the City of Unley. Alternatively, use the online Development Application Tracker.

Please note, this interactive Register is not suited for mobile phone screens, we recommend using a desktop or tablet device.

Development Applications on Notice

Lodging a Written Representation
Before you lodge a representation, please read the Factsheet Preparing a Representation.

Any representation lodged shall state with reasonable particularity the reasons for the representation and whether the person making the representation wishes to be heard by the Council Assessment Panel.

Please note: pursuant to Section 38(8) of the Development Act a copy of each representation received will be forwarded to the applicant for a written response and will become a public document. All comments (including contact numbers and email addresses) will become public documents.

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) website provides information in regards to the development assessment process.
Current applications

Pursuant to Section 38(5) of the Development Act, 1993, notice is hereby given of the following development application(s):

    There is no development applications

Conservation Grants

The City of Unley Conservation Fund assists owners of Significant and Regulated Trees, Local Heritage Items or Contributory Buildings in a Conservation Zone to preserve them in a 'safe and aesthetically pleasing condition'.

Grants may be allocated for up to 50% of the total cost of a single conservation treatment.
For details visit our Grants and Sponsorship page.

Guidelines for Development

Duty Planner

A Duty Planner is available at Council to provide advice on technical planning matters. The Planner is available office hours Monday to Friday with the exception of Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. Visit the Civic Centre during these times, phone 8372 5111 or email with your planning enquiry.