You will require a development approval if you intend to propose a development that will require you to:
- carry out building work, plumbing or drainage work, or operational work - building a house, garage or extending an existing building, structure or making changes to the land itself (e.g. earthworks, vegetation clearing, building a pontoon)
- reconfigure a lot - subdividing land or carrying out other actions such as amalgamating lots or rearranging boundaries
- make a material change to use of premises - a new use of a building, structure or land, or intensifying an existing use (e.g. expanding a shopping centre, or developing a new hotel on land that was previously occupied by an office).
There are three categories of development:
- prohibited development - approval will not be given
- assessable development - approval is required
- accepted development - approval is not required.
Prohibited development is not allowed under any circumstances. Only the State has the ability to prohibit developments.
You can assess which category your development falls into by using a categorising instrument, which includes the state legislation and local categorising instrument (such as a local government's planning scheme). A categorising instrument can specify the categories of assessment that apply to development (and other matters, such as assessment benchmarks). If no categorising instrument categorises your particular development, the development falls under the accepted development category.
If you are undertaking assessable development, it may be either a code assessable development or an impact assessable development. Code assessable developments do not require public consultation, while impact assessable developments do.
If your development involves variations from the allowed standards, you will need to have those variations assessed by the referral agency. Variations could include distance from property boundaries or the height of the building. The referral agency is likely to be the council or local authority.