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Delegated development assessment

This policy sets out 18 principles in relation to the manner in which HIA believes a building dispute between an owner and a builder should be adjudicated to ensure fairness to all parties and minimise delays in the process.

HIA's Position statement

  1. HIA supports the introduction of delegated development assessment in planning to ease the burden on planning authorities and see improved performance of planning systems.
  2. Suitable models of delegated development assessment could include but are not be limited to:
    • Pre Lodgment Endorsement – whereby a private sector planner would sign off on certain essential key elements of the planning application such as that the application complies with the planning scheme requirements, is complete and that affected parties have notified.
    • Assessment to Report Stage – whereby a private sector planner undertakes pre-lodgment endorsement and adds the notification procedure and undertakes to make a formal assessment and drafting of a report to Council officers or Council.
    • Full Approval Process – whereby a private sector planner undertakes the full planning process including full report writing and being empowered to make a decision and simply lodge the determined application (similar to the manner in which building certification occurs) with the local authority. Items which are able to be ‘code assessed’ are ideal for a full approval process.
  3. All jurisdictions should ensure delegated development assessment is available to a planning authority (i.e. local councils) for any planning matters, including engineering works, requiring planning approval that are able or required to be code assessed. That is, any matter that is able to be code assessed by a Planning Authority should also be eligible for a suitably qualified planning, engineering or building professional to ‘sign off’ and issue the appropriate approval or report.
  4. A request to amend a matter that has been code assessed using delegated development assessment should also be able to be assessed in the same manner.
  5. State Governments should maintain a suitable list of private planning consultants that meet the requirements for undertaking delegated development assessment. Any consultant not acceptable to a council should be entitled to appeal that decision to either the State Planning Minister or the relevant State Appeals Tribunal.


This policy was previously titled Certification in Planning.

Rather than a threat private sector or third party involvement in development assessment should be seen as a means of improving a Council’s development assessment performance.

Local Governments particularly those struggling with heavy workloads, in regional locations, or those unable to attract qualified staff should facilitate a process whereby suitably qualified professionals could assist the council to assess and potentially approve low risk development applications on behalf of the council.

Access to a pool of additional appropriately qualified professionals to undertake routine assessments of applications that meet codified requirements set by that council should allow more time for key staff to undertake more strategic activities such as policy development and assessment of more complex merit based development applications.

The introduction of ‘code assess’ measures by many state governments has led to a more objective approach to many simple applications.

It is this area of planning which could logically lend itself to the further introduction of delegated development assessment in planning – due to the simple nature of the applications with technical assessment measures.

Delegated Development Assessment could be easily integrated into applications for routine items that still require planning permission (fences, single dwellings and so forth) leaving authorities better placed to deal with applications that require more detailed assessment and strategic consideration.

Delegated Development Assessment is a process that enables suitably qualified persons to determine compliance of a matter with regulatory controls or standards.

Whilst there is wide scope for the private sector to assist with all aspects of the planning process, authorities are reluctant to introduce it as a valid part of the planning assessment process.

Policy endorsed by HIA National Policy Congress: May 2013; Re-endorsed with amendments 2018 (title change)

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