Building or developing in bushfire prone areas

A Planning and building assessment bushfire recovery unit and Bushfire recovery - planning and building assessment information and downloadable fact sheet are available to support the recovery and rebuilding efforts of communities affected by bushfires across South Australia.

South Australia has been mapped for three categories of bushfire protection areas depending on the level of risk from bushfires:

  • general
  • medium
  • high.

For a full listing of bushfire protection areas see About bushfire protection areas.

The map based online bushfire risk assessment tool will also help you find out if you are in a bushfire protection area.

How bushfire protection areas affect building and development

Bushfire protection areas are subject to bushfire-related planning and building requirements. Applicants wanting to develop in bushfire protection areas and professionals who assess their development applications need to comply with specific planning and building construction requirements.

The level of bushfire risk determined for the site affects the number of requirements that may apply.

Planning requirements

The planning requirements in bushfire protection areas include:

  • whether the application needs to be referred to the Fire Service
  • having dedicated water supplies for fire fighting
  • buffer zones between homes and flammable or combustible vegetation
  • appropriate access roads.

Some areas in bushfire protection zones are excluded from planning requirements if enhanced protection measures are not required because there are adequate water supply and fire-fighting services. However, they may not be excluded from building requirements.

Bushfire recovery - planning and building approvals

New building and planning processes have been put in place to support recovery in communities affected by bushfires across South Australia.

This information is also available in a Bushfire Recovery - Planning and Building Assessment Fact Sheet (5.6 MB PDF) available through local recovery centres and councils.

The new exemptions and streamlined assessment processes apply to:

  • demolition
  • temporary storage
  • temporary accommodation
  • rebuild

Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit

Phone 7109 7060 or email for a free professional advisory service.

Complying with the bushfire code

The bushfire code (298.6 KB PDF) sets out the planning requirements related to development in bushfire protection areas and includes a checklist of information required when lodging a development application for:

  • land division
  • new dwellings
  • tourist accommodation or other habitable buildings, including additions or alterations to any of these buildings.

In addition to the information provided in the code, several bushfire protection measures must be assessed as part of a development application, including:

  • public road design in respect to a land division proposal
  • the location and design of private roads and driveways
  • access to dedicated water supplies
  • the location of buildings away from existing and proposed trees and vegetation.

NOTE: The bushfire code references a superseded website link in which to purchase a topographic map. To purchase a map, please visit the Adelaide Natural Resource Centre.

Building and construction requirements

The construction requirements for building in bushfire protection areas are detailed in the Building Code of Australia and Minister's Specification SA 78 Additional requirements in designated bushfire prone areas - (26.2 KB PDF).

For alternative versions (including historical) of any of these documents, contact Assessment of development proposals environmental impact assessments and major developments.

Was this page useful?

Page last updated 18 August 2020

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
Last Updated:
Printed on:
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2021