Submitting development applications

From 31 July 2020 development applications lodged in Rural councils and for development on land not within a council area must be lodged under the new planning legislation.
Visit PlanSA portal for more information.
Developments in Urban and metropolitan councils will continue to be assessed under current legislation.

An application must be lodged every time you wish to undertake development.

Development refers to a wide range of activities associated with:

  • changes in land use
  • advertising displays
  • land division and community title division
  • building work.

The standard requirements for any development application include:

Some councils have their own development application forms - contact the local council where the proposed development is located for information about their application processes.

Preparing an application

Preparing a good quality application will result in a better outcome. Preparing all the information at the start of the process can help you to resolve any possible problems with the proposal before you lodge your application. This may save you time and money, prevent having to amend your plans later on.

It is a good idea to speak to planning staff at your local council when you are preparing your application.

If your proposal is complicated, or you are not confident about preparing an application yourself, you could employ a planning consultant. Planning consultants are qualified professionals who understand council development plans and processes. They will be able to advise and assist you throughout the process - from helping you to design your proposal and putting your application together, to liaising with the council and responding to any issues raised during public notification.

You can find planning consultants under Town Planning in the Yellow Pages or through the Planning Institute of Australia.


The cost of a development application varies depending on the type of development and the use of professional advice. In addition to the relevant authority's development assessment fees, costs may include:

  • planning consultant fees
  • building consultant fees
  • land surveyor
  • draftsperson.

While using professional advice is an additional cost, the resulting application is typically of a higher standard and generally assists with the assessment process. Professional advice can also help to shorten decision time-frames.

The following links provide information on the fees and charges:

Fees are reviewed annually. They may also vary from time to time. If you want to be absolutely certain of the cost - check with your local council prior to lodgement of your application.

How fees can be paid

If the State Commission Assessment Panel is the authority, fees are to be paid to them and likewise for the relevant council.


The secure government payment site allows you to pay land division application fees using a credit card.

Pay now


Send cheques or money orders to:

Land Services Office
Planning and Land Use Services
GPO Box 1815
Adelaide SA 5001

Phone - 7109 7018

In person

Planning and Land Use Services
Land Services Group
Ground Floor, 101 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000

The role of the local council

The majority of development application decisions are made by local councils in their role as assessment authorities. Their main functions include:

  • planning at the local and regional level for the development and future requirements of their area
  • providing for the welfare, well-being and interests of individuals and groups within their communities
  • managing, developing, protecting, restoring, enhancing and conserving the environment in an ecologically sustainable manner, and to improve amenity
  • providing infrastructure for their communities and for development within their area
  • managing, and if appropriate developing, public areas vested in or occupied by a council
  • managing, improving and developing resources available to a council.

Supporting documents for applications

Specific documents are required to support the assessment of applications, depending on the nature of the development. The assessment can occur in a number of stages prior to a full development approval being issued. Information describing the project and its design must be provided before consents can be granted.

Plans must be prepared and submitted in accordance with Schedule 5 of the Development Regulations 2008.

For development plan consent at least three copies of the following should be provided:

  • site plan
  • additional plans
  • description of the surrounding area
  • description of the proposed development.

For building rules consent the following should be provided:

  • roof, wall and floor layouts of any buildings, including dimensions and calculations
  • details of construction materials and design
  • engineering details - eg significant excavations, service or infrastructure lines.

Some development applications are relatively simple - eg a minor addition to an existing development, such as a carport or pergola. In such cases the description of the proposed development may be evident in the site plan, or the main issues could be covered in a simple letter. The description of the surrounding area will only need to address the immediate environment.

More complex proposals, such as those that may have impacts more widely than the development site, for example noise, visual or traffic impacts may require a more detailed report to fully describe the proposed development and should include a description of the surrounding area such as adjoining and nearby development and landforms.

Where to lodge your application

Most development applications must be lodged with the council for the area in which the proposed development is located. If there is no council for that area, they must be lodged with the State Commission Assessment Panel.

Land division applications must be lodged with the Planning and Land Use Services on behalf of the State Commission Assessment Panel.

For more information on the requirements of each consent see Development applications - guide for applicants.

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Page last updated 18 August 2020

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Attorney-General's Department - PLUS
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