Development applications

Submitting development applications

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 see The role of the local council.

Preparing an application

Preparing a good quality application will result in a better outcome. Preparing all of 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 will save you time and possibly money, as it may stop you 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 of your application, 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 fee charges as at 1 July 2017:

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


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


Cheques or money orders can be sent to:

Land Services Office
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
GPO Box 1815
Adelaide SA 5001
Phone - 7109 7018

In person

Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
Land Services Group
Ground Floor, 101 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000

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

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

  • 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 for example, 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.

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 Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure 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 26 March 2018

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Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
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