About the scheme
The Accredited Professionals Scheme provides reliability, flexibility and accountability of decision-makers in the planning system. The scheme gives development applicants greater confidence in the way their submissions are assessed.
The Accredited Professionals Scheme began on 1 April 2019. All planning and building professionals can apply to become accredited.
Under the scheme, planning and building professionals who assess development applications must maintain minimum standards of professional practice and produce evidence that they are sufficiently qualified to make key decisions at certain levels.
Applicants for accreditation must lodge their application accompanied by evidence that supports their eligibility to become accredited in the class that they request.
The Chief Executive of the Attorney-General's Department (the Department), is the Accreditation Authority and offers accreditation for planning and building professionals.
Once accredited, they are registered in a central database managed by the Department.
All Accredited Professionals must:
- hold professional indemnity insurance
- comply with an Accredited Professionals code of conduct
- participate in annual compliance checks
- complete specified units of continuing professional development.
The Accredited Professionals Scheme is part of the new planning system created under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.
Land surveyors, planning and building professionals can apply for accreditation now.
Council building officers
Under the Accredited Professionals Scheme, all building professionals who are involved in assessing development applications will now need to be accredited. There are four classes of building accreditation applicable to building professionals under the Scheme, each with different levels of decision making power.
Council planning officers
Existing council planning officers may not need to be accredited at all if they are operating under the delegation of an assessment manager, who will be accredited at Accredited Professional Level 1. However, some assessment managers may want their council planning officers to be independently accredited at Planning Level 3 or 4 (this will be at the discretion of the assessment manager).
Assessment managers and assessment panel members
All Assessment Managers and Assessment Panel Members are required to be accredited from 19 March 2021. However, there are some exceptions, see below.
All Private Certifiers should now have accreditation under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.
The following groups will not require accreditation:
- elected members or former elected members who sit on a Council or Joint Planning Board assessment panel 
- planning professionals who are assessing development applications under delegation for an Assessment Manager or Assessment Panel at a council
- planning professionals who are not acting as relevant authority for planning consent
- building professionals who are not acting as relevant authority for building consent
- surveyors who are not acting as relevant authorities for land division applications seeking planning consent.
 Council and Joint Planning Board assessment panels can include an elected member or former elected members who are not accredited professionals. The council needs to be satisfied that a person is appropriately qualified to act as a member of the assessment panel based on the person's experience in local government.
To become an Accredited Professional, practitioners will need to be accredited by the Chief Executive of the Attorney-General's Department (the Department), known as the Accreditation Authority.
An application for accreditation will need to be lodged and accompanied by evidence that supports practitioners’ eligibility to become accredited in the class that they request.
Evaluation of applications
All applications for accreditation under the Scheme will be evaluated by either the Department or a selected service provider (such as those named below) on behalf of the Department. However, only the Chief Executive of the Department will have the authority to officially offer accreditation to applicants.
Conditions of accreditation
As an ongoing condition of accreditation under the Scheme, practitioners will be expected to demonstrate that they have maintained suitable skills, knowledge and qualifications, be required to maintain an appropriate level of insurance; comply with the Accredited Professionals Scheme Code of Conduct; and notify the Chief Executive of the Department of any change to their professional circumstances.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Regulation 17(1)(a) requires accredited professionals to hold a policy for Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) that is reasonable and adequate taking into account the amount and nature of work undertaken by the accredited professional unless a Regulation 17(2) exemption applies. The accreditation authority has determined that the minimum levels of insurance considered reasonable and adequate are:
- Accredited Professional – Building level 1 - $5,000,000;
- Accredited Professional – Building level 2 - $2,000,000;
- Accredited Professional – Building level 3 - $1,000,000; and
- Accredited Professional – Building level 4 - $1,000,000
The onus is on each individual accredited professional to assess their own circumstances and ensure that their level of PII cover is adequate taking into account the nature and amount of work undertaken or you may be liable for claims above the level of your insurance cover.
Recognition of equivalent schemes
Under the Accredited Professionals Scheme Regulations, those practitioners who are registered and certified with a professional body under a recognised equivalent scheme may receive automatic accreditation under the new Scheme at a reduced fee. They must still apply for accreditation but their existing certification may be taken as evidence that they meet the requirements of the accreditation class in which they wish to operate.
There will be several classes of accreditation available under the Scheme and each will require a different level of qualification, skill and experience. The accreditation classes are not dissimilar to the accreditation levels identified by the Planning Institute of Australia, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute
Planning professionals and surveys
There are four classes of planning accreditation available as well as a class for surveyors under the Scheme. Each class requires different qualifications, skills and experience, and each level is able to assess different types of proposals.
Planning Level 1
Planning Level 2
Assessment Panel Member
Planning Level 3
Planning Level 4
*All approved activities are subject to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) (Development Assessment) Variation Regulations 2019
There are four classes of building accreditation available. Each class requires different qualifications, skills and experience, and each class is able to assess different types of proposals.
Becoming accredited at Building Level 2 also includes Building Level 3 and Building Level 4 accreditation. This is the only higher level accreditation that includes accreditation at the lower levels.
Building Level 1
Building Level 2
Building Surveyor Limited
Building Level 3
Assistant Building Surveyor
Building Level 4
* All approved activities are subject to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) (Development Assessment) Variation Regulations 2019
The Accredited Professionals Scheme will help to facilitate the following:
- Better decision making
The Scheme will ensure that planning and building professionals are suitably qualified and experienced to assess development applications and that they adhere to relevant planning requirements and a strict code of conduct.
- Improved recognition of professionals
The Scheme will publicly recognise the skills and experience of planning and building professionals and the value they bring to the decision-making process.
- Faster processing for applicants
Development applicants will have the choice to engage accredited professionals in the public or private sectors, resulting in faster and more responsive turnaround times on applications.
- Better management of complaints
The Scheme will provide a clear auditing and compliance process to ensure that all decisions are transparent and that issues and complaints can be investigated swiftly and fairly.
- Centralised public register for all accredited professionals
All Accredited Professionals will be registered on a central directory on the PlanSA website, making it easier for users to access up-to-date information on all planning and building decision-makers, including their areas of expertise.
There are a number of significant benefits to becoming accredited as a decision-maker in South Australia’s planning system:
- As an Accredited Professional, your skills and experience in the development assessment process will be formally recognised and the importance of your role in the planning and development profession will be elevated sector-wide.
- You will also be part of a high-profile community of practice that leads the nation in professional standards and conduct and values ongoing professional development.
- Accredited professionals will also benefit from applicants having greater confidence in the development assessment process and the people who administer it through enhanced accountability and flexibility.
- Importantly, clearer auditing and compliance processes will be available to all accredited professionals to ensure that all issues and complaints are investigated swiftly and fairly and practitioners can continue to do their work without unwarranted or prolonged disruption.
If you can't find a document, try searching PlanSA's resources library.
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD) (PDF, 198 KB)
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Accredited Professionals Scheme (PDF, 93 KB)
- How we have developed the Accredited Professionals Scheme (PDF, 64 KB)
- Transitioning to the Accredited Professionals Scheme for Building Professionals (PDF, 800 KB)
- Transitioning to the Accredited Professionals Scheme for Council Employees (PDF, 791 KB)
- Transitioning to the Accredited Professionals Scheme for Planning Professionals (PDF, 765 KB)
- Building Advisory Notice 07/19 - Accreditation under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 – building professionals operating under the Development Act 1993 and holding the appropriate qualification (PDF, 214 KB)
- Building Advisory Notice 06/19 - Regulation 17 of the PDI (Accredited Professionals) Regulations 2019 - An Accredited Professional’s responsibility to hold “reasonable and adequate insurance” (PDF, 218 KB)