Assessment pathways

In this guide

An assessment pathway determines the authority, timeframe and rigour of a development’s assessment.

The assessment pathway for a development depends on the potential impact of the development and its complexity.

Which assessment pathways apply

Assessment pathways are set out by the new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Development can be either:

  • exempt
  • accepted
  • Code assessed
  • impact assessed

Exempt development

Exempt development are minor projects that don't require any approval, for example a new fence or a garden shed.

PlanSA's approval wizard helps determine which developments are exempt at your property.

Use the wizard to find out if you need approval

Accepted development

Accepted developments are minor projects that need to be structurally sound, for example a carport or a shop fit-out.

Accepted development only requires building consent as part of its approval. No planning consent is required.

Flow chart of Exempt and Accepted development (PDF, 181 KB)

Code assessed development

Development that is assessed against policies within the Planning and Design Code. There are two possible pathways for development.

Flow chart of Code assessed development (PDF, 165 KB)


Deemed-to-satisfy developments are straightforward and envisaged for their proposed location. For example, a new house in a residential zone

For a development to be Deemed-to-satisfy, it must meet all criteria set out by the Planning and Design Code.

These developments are fast-tracked through the assessment process and cannot be refused approval. The decision-maker also must grant approval after five business days of assessment.

Performance assessed

Performance assessed developments are generally more complex in nature but envisaged for their proposed location. For example, a multi storey building with ground floor retail in a mixed use zone.

Performance assessed developments are assessed on their merit against the policies within the Planning and Design Code.

These developments may involve public notification or referrals as part of their assessment.

Impact assessed development

Impact assessed developments require thorough assessment to ensure that their potential impacts are well understood and considered. There are two possible pathways for development.

Flow chart of impact assessed development (PDF, 172 KB)


Restricted developments are generally proposed in areas where they are not expected and require assessment to determine whether this is appropriate.

For example, a cemetery in a residential zone or a childcare centre in an industrial area.

Restricted developments are defined by the Planning and Design Code and are always assessed by the State Planning Commission instead of a local council.

Impact assessed

Impact assessed developments are declared as major projects by the Minister for Planning (the Minister) and are considered to be of state significance.

For example, a new marina in a coastal town or a foundry.

These developments require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which analyses possible environmental, social or economic impacts and how they will be managed.

All impact assessed developments are assessed by the Department on behalf of the Minister.