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Planning and Design Code for South Australia explained

The Planning and Design Code is a single document that outlines planning requirements for all types of building work in South Australia.

In 2016 the South Australian government introduced the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (PDI) Act for the purpose of superseding the Development Act 1993. Within the PDI Act, the Planning and Design Code was established to govern planning law. The code is a single document that outlines planning requirements for all types of building work in South Australia.

Guidelines are provided on land use, amenity, setback requirements and height restrictions against policy provisions listed within mapped areas. Replacing 72 Development Plans statewide, the code is accessible through the state government’s ePlanning Development Application Processing (DAP) system.

Four categories of Planning Assessment

Exempt development

Building work that does not require any form of approval.

Accepted development

Building work that is considered appropriate without the need for a planning assessment, building consent is still required. 

Code assessed development 

Building work that requires a planning assessment and is consistent with the objectives stipulated in the code. There are two subsections for this type of development:

  • Deemed-to-satisfy - judgement is made against minimum benchmarks. Previously, these type of developments were referred to as complying development.
  • Performance assessed – similar to merit assessment, elements of building work that do not comply with minimum benchmarks but can still be assessed on its own merits.

Impact assessed development

Building work that requires a planning assessment and is at major variance with the objectives stipulated in the code. There are two subsections for this type of development:

  • Restricted - similar to what was previously known as non-complying, needs approval from higher levels of governance.
  • Impact assessed – similar to a minister's referral, can only be approved at the highest level of governance.
Planning and Design Code explained

Index of the code

The code is separated into 13 sections:

  • Part 1 - Rules for interpretation - is an introduction to the code
  • Part 2 – Zones and Sub Zones - lists setbacks, building heights and more
  • Part 3 – Overlays – stipulates requirements for particular areas in addition to zones
  • Part 4 – General Development Provisions – stipulates “specific use” requirements
  • Part 5 – Designated Areas – similar to overlays, stipulates requirements within zones
  • Part 6 – Index of Technical and Numeric Variations – provides all numeric values in the code
  • Part 7 – Land Use Definitions - common planning terminology defined
  • Part 8 – Administrative Definitions - common administrative terminology defined
  • Part 9 – Referrals - listing of referral agencies
  • Part 10 – Significant Trees – clarifies trees that are considered significant
  • Part 11 – Local Heritage Places – listing of heritage properties
  • Part 12 – Concept Plans – designated for specific councils
  • Part 13 – Table of Amendments - utilised only when amendments are created.

To find out more, contact HIA’s Building Services team.

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