Bushfire recovery - planning and building assessment

People affected by bushfires may access faster approvals to help repair or rebuild buildings damaged in bushfires.

Planning approval

Approvals are not always needed if buildings on your land have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfires.

Approval not required

Approval required

Building approval

Approvals are not always needed if buildings on your land have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfires.

Approval not required

  • work to fix minor damage, such as smoke damage
  • temporary structures to store goods and equipment
  • temporary accommodation (caravan) that is not fixed to the land.

Approval required

Building approval is required for other building work, including:

Repairing your current house

Have your house inspected by a professional to check it is structurally sound following the fire. You might need to repair to a higher standard of bushfire protection if your house is older.

You might need building approval if the damage is significant.

Building a new house

Building a new house requires planning and building assessment. You might need to meet extra safety requirements, depending on the bushfire risk.

Planning assessment

Planning assessment considers things like:

  • the siting of your house
  • clearance from vegetation
  • access to and from your property
  • how close the house is to activities like farming or industry.

You must comply with the planning rules relevant to the bushfire hazard in your area. These rules are set out in overlays of the Planning and Design Code.

Levels of bushfire risk

Use the South Australian Property and Planning Atlas (SAPPA) to view maps showing each area’s level of risk. Start by searching a location then add the Planning and Design Code Overlay 'Hazards Overlays'.

In high bushfire risk areas, new houses must undergo a Bushfire attack level assessment.

Under certain circumstances, planning approval is given within 10 business days if you are rebuilding a ‘replacement building’ - the same house in the same location. Applications will need to be ‘performance assessed’ if you rebuild a substantially different house or in a different location.

Once your designer or builder has completed your plans, building approval can be sought from either your council or a private certifier.

Free services

South Australia’s Recovery website provides advice and access to current free resources.

Contact Planning and Land Use Services or your local council for assistance and free preliminary advice.


For bushfire rebuilding, planning, and building application advice contact :

Planning and Land Use Services (PLUS)
Level 10, 83 Flinders Street, Adelaide 
Phone: 1800 752 664
Email: PlanSA@sa.gov.au

SA Country Fire Service
37 Richmond Road, Keswick
Phone: 8115 3300

Related information

Other websites

PlanSA portal

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Page last updated 26 April 2023

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