Steffan Harries

Development Assessment Process

The DA Rules guide and control the development assessment process in Queensland.

Development applications in Queensland undergo a standard assessment process, ensuring equitable evaluation. Each application is reviewed with accurate information, by the right people, following a consistent procedure. This process is guided by the “DA Rules”. Here, we’ve put together a summary of that process.

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The DA Rules

The Development Assessment Rules (DA Rules) govern the assessment process for development applications in Queensland. These rules apply to the applicant, assessment manager, and referral agency involved. You can find detailed information about the DA Rules on the state government website.

The formal DA process consists of five key parts: application, referral, information request, public notification, and decision. It’s important to note that not all steps in the process will apply to every development application. The specific requirements may vary depending on the type of development proposed.

It’s worth mentioning that pre-lodgement discussions and the process of appealing a decision fall outside the formal process outlined in the DA Rules. To provide a quick overview, here at Steffan Harries, we have summarised each part of the DA process below.

Pre-lodgement meeting process

Pre-lodgement discussions, although not part of the formal development assessment (DA) process, can greatly facilitate the application process, particularly for complex developments. It’s recommended to reach out to the assessment manager and any referral agencies before submitting your application. This proactive step helps identify potential issues and additional information requirements.

Typically, the assessment manager is the relevant local government. Many local governments offer pre-lodgement advice or services for applicants. Contact your local government office to inquire about available pre-lodgement services and any associated fees.

Part 1: Application

To ensure a “properly made application” for a development application, the applicant must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Using the correct form
  • Providing the necessary information
  • Obtaining owner consent
  • Paying the required fees.

The state government maintains development assessment (DA) forms that outline the minimum information needed for the application.

If crucial information is missing, the applicant will be asked to provide it before the assessment begins. An action notice may be issued by the assessment manager to address any deficiencies in the application.

Once the application is properly made, the assessment process begins. For impact assessable applications, the assessment manager will send a confirmation notice indicating the need for public notification or referral. Code assessable applications may not require a confirmation notice, but it may still be sent at the assessment manager’s discretion.

Depending on the submission location, applicants may have the option to electronically prepare and lodge their application directly through the local government’s website. If SARA or a referral agency is the assessment manager, the state’s electronic lodgement system, MyDAS2, can be utilised.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A private consultant town planner plays a crucial role in understanding the rules and regulations set by the Council. Their primary objective is to optimise the chances of success for your development while minimising time and costs. Whether you are planning a modest carport or an extensive 100-lot subdivision, the absence of a town planner significantly raises the risk of facing refusals or expensive delays.

The complexity of town planning issues is constantly increasing. An illustrative example is the Brisbane City Plan 2014, which spans a staggering 5500 pages. Within those pages lie legislation that could have either negative or positive implications for your project’s outcome. Our team possesses a direct line of communication with experienced and influential Council personnel, allowing us to obtain swift answers to queries. With over 30 years of experience in navigating these extensive documents, our profound understanding guarantees efficient service and optimal outcomes for our clients. By engaging our services, you can expect reduced project costs, expedited commencement, and maximised returns.

town planning application documentation and paperwork

Frequently Asked Questions

You can search the DAMS map to see if your property is affected by a state-interest. Our planners can then investigate Schedule 10 of the Planning Regulation 2017 to see if a referral is required.

SARA is the ‘State Assessment and Referral Agency’. Learn more about SARA on our website here.

To submit a development application that requires code assessment or impact assessment, DA Form 1 must be provided to the relevant assessment authority (e.g. Local Council). However, if your application solely pertains to development involving building work, you may only need DA Form 2 – Building work instead.

Part 2: Referral

In some cases, a development application may undergo additional assessment by a referral agency, typically a state government department or authority like SARA. This allows state government departments to evaluate the potential impact of the proposal on state interests. The requirement for referral agencies is outlined in the Planning Regulation 2017.

The DA Rules outline the process and requirements for how a referral agency receives, assesses, and provides their response regarding a development application. The assessment manager must consider all responses from referral agencies when making their decision.

There are two types of referral agencies:

  • Concurrence agencies: These agencies provide their agreement or disagreement with the proposed development.
  • Advice agencies: These agencies offer advice and recommendations regarding the development application.

The involvement of referral agencies ensures comprehensive evaluation and consideration of various perspectives in the decision-making process.

Part 3: Information Request

Throughout the development assessment process, the assessment manager and referral agency may request additional information from the applicant if it is deemed beneficial for evaluating the development application.

The DA Rules provide guidelines regarding the timeframe for information requests by the assessment manager. The applicant has three months to respond to such requests, with the possibility of an extension through mutual agreement.

Applicants who are confident that they have provided all necessary information with their initial application can inform the assessment manager, using the DA form during lodgement, that they do not wish to receive an information request. This ensures efficient processing for applications where comprehensive information has already been provided.

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town planning permit surveyor

Frequently Asked Questions

RFI means ‘Request For Information’. This is when an assessment manager will generally have issues and raise any issues or concerns they have with a development application. Commonly called an ‘Information Request’.

If Council doesn’t have any issues to raise, they do not need to issue an information request and can proceed straight to making a decision.

Yes. In the event you are time poor, we can opt out of receiving an information request to save 10 business days of assessment time. That said, we may miss integral moments to be able to negotiate the development application so it is generally not recommended.

proposed development public notice

Frequently Asked Questions

In most circumstances, we will not be able to assist you in writing an objection to a development application. If in doubt, send us more details about your objection for consideration from our team.

Generally, 15 business days. In some instances (e.g. for Variation requests), 30 business days may be required.

No. The public notice land sign must be erected and stay in place without removal for the full period. This includes any non-business days (e.g. Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays).

Depending on where you are located, and the number of adjoining land owners, public consultation will cost between $1000-2500+GST including the cost of the notice in the local paper and printing.

Yes, but it is not recommended due to the technical level that the consultation must comply with. If you miss one requirement, you may need to do the whole consultation period again.

Part 4: Public Notification

Public notification serves the purpose of informing the local community about certain development applications and allowing them to provide their input on the proposals.

Not all development assessment processes require public notification. It is mandatory for impact assessable applications and development applications that involve a variation request.

During the public notification period, community members have the opportunity to submit their comments on a development application to the assessment manager. These submissions must meet specific criteria, including being in writing, relevant to the topic, signed, and submitted within the given timeframe. Further information on participating in the feedback process for development applications is available.

For impact assessable applications and other change applications, submitters who make a “properly made submission” have the right to appeal the decision in the Planning and Environment Court.

The responsibility of fulfilling the public notification requirements lies with the applicant for the development application.

Part 5: Decision

The DA Rules outline the timeframe within which the assessment manager must make a decision on the development application. The assessment manager considers responses from referral agencies and may also take into account “properly made submissions” received during public notification.

The assessment manager has four options for their decision: to approve, approve in part, approve with conditions, or refuse the application. The decision is communicated to the applicant through a decision notice.

For approved applications, the decision notice specifies the terms, appeal rights, and any conditions. In the case of a refusal, the reasons for the refusal are provided. Individuals who made “properly made submissions” also receive a copy of the decision notice.

Development approvals typically have a defined currency period, ranging from two to six years, depending on the type of development.

The assessment manager, whether it’s the local government or the state government, is required to publish the reasons for their decision. However, for certain operational works and some building works, publication of reasons is not mandatory but can be chosen to be done. This transparency helps the community understand the rationale behind the decisions. To access the reasons for decision, visit the relevant local government’s website if they were the assessment manager, or refer to the SARA application material or SARA archived decisions if the state government was the assessment manager.

Town planning approval extension application

Frequently Asked Questions

The assessment manager is the designated body entrusted with the task of evaluating and making decisions on development applications. Typically, this responsibility lies with the appropriate local government authority. As per the provisions of the Planning Regulation 2017, the assessment manager for different types of developments is determined. In cases where a development application necessitates public notification, the assessment manager assumes the additional responsibility of reviewing and considering any submissions received concerning the application throughout the notification period.

In accordance with the Planning Act 2016:

Material Change of Use: 6 years

Reconfiguring a lot: 4 years

Building Works: 2 years.

That said, Council can opt to set a different timeframe should they choose.

Yes. So long as you lodge your request before the approval lapses. Get in touch with one of our town planners who can assist immediately.

Need some assistance from one of our town planners? Get in touch today!

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