Do I Need Approval?

This page contains information on whether Development Approval is required for certain types of development.

For additional information please contact Council’s Duty Planner on 8522 9211 or via email on

Structures Not Requiring Approval

Virtual House

Pre-Application Planning and Building Advice

What is Development Approval?

South Australia’s Planning System is established by the State Parliament through the Development Act (1993). In lay terms, it is a State system, not a Council system. Development is defined within the Act, and can include (among other things), building work, a change in the use of land, any work affecting a State Heritage Place, any works affecting a regulated or significant tree, or the division of an allotment.

Building Work is defined within the Act as work or activity in the nature of: construction, demolition or removal of a building; filling or excavating for the construction, demolition or removal of a building; any other prescribed work or activity.

Development Approval

In most cases, Development Assessment incorporates both Planning and Building assessment. To obtain a Development Approval, both a Development Plan Consent and a Building Rules Consent are required to be obtained. Once both consents have been granted a Development Approval can be issued.

Apart from all new structures and buildings, Development Approval is also required for alterations such as removing an internal wall or building a new wall, altering the size of any door or window openings or other prescribed work or activity. If in doubt, check with Council. Development Approval is also required for the demolition of any structures or buildings.

Development Plan Consent (DPC)

Applications are assessed against the Development Act 1993, Development Regulations 2008 and the Town of Gawler Development Plan. Council’s planning staff aims to ensure that the proposal will be suitable for the area it is proposed and that the impact on the amenity of the locality will be minimised. Part of this assessment may also require a site visit or referrals to government agencies such as the State Heritage Unit, DPTI or the Environment Protection Agency.

Building Rules Consent (BRC)

When required, applications are assessed against the Development Act 1993, Development Regulations 2008, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the South Australian Housing Code. Council’s Building staff ensure that any proposed building work is structurally sound and ensures the health and safety of occupants (eg fire safety equipment installed, adequate light and ventilation to rooms etc). It should be noted that Building Rules Consent may be undertaken by the Council or a Private Certifier. Where a Private Certifier has issued the BRC, the Certifier must send 2 copies of their approved documents with details of their Consent to the Council. Council then issue the Development Approval.

Residential Development Code

In 2009 the State Government introduced legislation intended to speed up the approval process for certain developments. If a development complies with certain criteria the Development Plan Consent may not be required.