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What is Development

Development can affect you, your neighbour and the community now and in years to come.

What is development

Development can include any construction, alteration, addition to or demolition of a building or structure, a change in the current use of land or anything that modifies a designated heritage item.

Development activities are defined in the Planning Development & Infrastructure Act 2016

Examples of development include:

  • building or extending a house
  • construction of a shed, garage, verandah, carport or other building
  • dependant accommodation/'granny' flat
  • demolition of a structure in certain circumstances
  • retaining walls exceeding 1.0 metre high
  • construction of non-masonry fences over 2.1m high, masonry fences over 1m high and some fencing within Historic Area Overlays or adjacent heritage places
  • erection of signs
  • construction of swimming pools
  • regulated tree removal
  • the division of land
  • changing the use of land - some examples include:
    - retail shop to café
    - residential to office
    - office to consulting rooms
    - renting rooms in a house to students, if more than five people will live there independently
    - private residential to tourist accommodation.

In certain circumstances (mainly relating to the size and location of a structure), the Planning Development & Infrastructure Act 2016 exempts some of these activities from the definition of 'development', which means that development approval is not required.

What is development approval

Development approval is a legal document that allows a development to occur and can only be issued by the relevant authority, which is usually the Council. In some cases, the relevant authority may be the State Government's development assessment body, known as the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP)

Development approvals specify the design and other documents that the development must follow (i.e. plans for the location and design of the buildings and the structural details for the building such as the depth of footings).

The development approval will also specify the timeframe that the development should occur within (ie. how long you have to start work on the development and how long you have to finish the development).

Check if you need development approval

Before you undertake development you will need to lodge a development application.

To find out if your proposed activity requires development approval, visit:

PlanSA: Development Wizard

Please note: South Australia’s new planning system and ePlanning Portal came into effect on 19 March 2021.

For enquiries relating to applications lodged prior to 19 March 2021, please contact the Council’s Planning Department on 08 8366 4530.


Council’s Urban Planning & Environment Department
T: 08 8366 4530