Design review

Design review enables design advice from an independent panel of professionals at the state and local level.

The service is available to development proposals before lodgement.

Design Review is an independent evaluation process, where built environment experts consider the merits of a development proposal and identify opportunities to encourage high quality design.

Design quality relates to:

  • the look and feel of buildings and places
  • how successfully development meets the needs of people who use and experience it
  • making building and places better for people, the environment and economy.

Design Review is most effective when undertaken early in the planning and design process, prior to a development application being lodged, where the opportunities to effect positive change are greatest.

State design review

State Design Review has operated successfully in South Australia since 2011.

It is currently available to development proposals that will be assessed by the State Planning Commission and referred to the Government Architect.

Eligible developments are:

  • $10 million or more in value in the City of Adelaide
  • Five storeys or more in the:
    • Inner Metropolitan Adelaide Urban Corridor Zones
    • District Centre (Norwood) Zone (City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters)
    • District Centre (Jetty Road) Zone and Residential High Density Zone (City of Holdfast Bay)
  • $3 million or more in value in the Port Adelaide Regional Centre Zone (City of Port Adelaide Enfield)
  • Major projects and projects of state significance
  • Located within the Design Overlay of the Planning and Design Code

Local design review

The Local Design Review Scheme for South Australia (the Scheme) came into effect on 1 July 2021.

The Scheme provides a consistent state-wide approach for councils to provide Design Review for locally assessed development proposals with the aim of:

  • supporting high-quality design
  • improving access to independent and expert advice early in the planning and design process
  • supporting consistent and informed planning decisions
  • facilitating collaboration between allied professionals
  • supporting the State’s planning system to meet objects and principles in the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

The Scheme was prepared by the Office for Design and Architecture SA (ODASA) in close collaboration with council staff from across the state, representatives from peak industry bodies, the State Planning Commission (the Commission) and interstate government agencies with experience in Local Design Review. You can learn more about the consultation process for the Scheme and read the feedback in the Engagement Summary Report below.

Before the Scheme becomes operational, the Planning and Design Code must be amended to enable councils to specify which types of development will be eligible for Local Design Review. The Commission initiated this Code Amendment in May 2021 and our team has collaborated with council staff and industry stakeholders to prepare the draft content.

The Local Design Review Code Amendment is now open for public consultation until 27 September 2021. To learn more and have your say on the proposed Amendment, please visit the Code Amendment page or the YourSAy website.

All submissions will be considered by the State Planning Commission to determine if the proposed Amendment is suitable for adoption, or if changes should be made. Each submission will published on the PlanSA Portal after this consultation closes and be summarised in an Engagement Report.