Development Approval Categories in Queensland

Development Approval Categories in Queensland

Exempt, self-assessable, assessable, compliance, prohibited. All these words refer to development approval categories in Queensland, and it is essential to know which category your project belongs to before you begin planning. So how do you determine which category, and how will the result affect your proposed development? Here is The Oil Stone’s brief explanation.

These levels of assessment are legislated by the Sustainable Planning Act’s Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) and, they will determine if you will need to apply for a development permit and also, the type of application that you will need to make. Each category of development will have different assessment criteria and processes and therefore can greatly impact your project’s outcome.

Here is our simple description of each Level of Assessment category, and what application may be required:

•     Exempt – is when no application or assessment is required.
     Self-assessable – No application is required, however, an assessment criterion applies and non-compliance with this may force the development to require an application.
     Assessable – This category of development requires a development permit. This may fall under either Code Assessment or Impact Assessment.
     Compliance – This category of assessment requires a compliance permit to be obtained.
     Prohibited – An application cannot be made for the development if it is determined to be prohibited development.

There are various elements for each development project and town planning developments, which will trigger a different assessment level result.

For example, an ‘Assessable’ development requiring Impact Assessment will require a public notification period within the assessment process. This means you would have to place a development sign on your property, a public notice in the local newspaper, as well as provide written advice to your neighbours detailing what you are proposing to construct on site.


So how do you determine your project’s category?

The general rule is that all building work is assessable, unless stated so in Chapter 2 of the Building Act 1975 and Schedules 1 and 2 of the Building Regulation 2006.

For example, Schedule 1 of the Building Regulation states that building work for a fence may be considered as self-assessable building work when:

it is no more than 2m above the natural ground surface, and
is not a pool fence.

To determine if your proposed building work will require a development permit, contact your building certifier. However, to determine if your development will require a planning application, you will need to first consult your local council planning scheme. You should then discuss your development project with your town planner and they will be able to inform you of the level of assessment applicable against the planning scheme. However, there are other legislative triggers that must be considered.

The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 may prescribe development to be of a certain category and, should there be any inconsistencies between the regulation and a planning scheme, the regulation will prevail.

It is important to understand your level of assessment before full design of your development is carried out. The most proactive way to ensure you understand what types of approval you will need for your development is to contact one or our building certifier or town planner at Development Certification for preliminary discussions.



Note: the Queensland State Government is currently reviewing the state planning system and has just completed public consultation on the draft Planning and Development Bill and draft Planning and Environment Court Bill. The draft bills will see a complete reform on the categories of development and overhaul of the IDAS process. Keep an eye out for more posts regarding this reform and what it means for you.

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I am a Director of Devcert and have been a Building Surveyor since 1989. I have a bachelor degree in building surveying and I am a qualified carpenter. I have been in the construction industry since 1981. I have a real passion for the building certification profession as I believe building certifiers are the general practitioners of the construction industry. Our role is not only to know building law and apply it, our role includes assisting in the development of the knowledge of all in the industry by sharing our knowledge and experience.