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Exempt Development Types

Common types of development at home that don't require approval.


Learn about development types that are exempt from requiring approval under the Development Act 1993, and the areas in which these exemptions do and don't apply.

You can also type in your address to see if your development is exempt by using the Virtual House


Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Respect of a state or local heritage place.
  • A bushfire prone area under regulation 78(1) of the Development Regulations 2008.
  • One or more of the following zones or policy areas identified in the relevant Development Plan: Coastal Zone, Coastal Conservation Zone, the Hills Face Zone, Historic (Conservation) Zone, Historic (Conservation) Policy Area, Residential Historic (Conservation) Zone, Historic Conservation Area, Historic Township Zone.
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Decks do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The deck is used (or to be used) in association with an existing dwelling.
  • The total deck height does not exceed 500 millimetres above the natural surface of the ground (refer below image); andDeck - Height
  • No part of the deck will be situated within 900 millimetres of a boundary of the land (refer below image).Deck - Boundary

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Masonry fences do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The total fence height does not exceed 1 metre (measured from the lower of the two adjoining finished ground levels) (refer below image).Fences - Masonry Height

Brush, timber, Colorbond, aluminium, wrought iron or post and wire fences do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The fence height does not exceed 2.1 metres (measured from the lower of the two adjoining finished ground levels) (refer below image).Fence - Height
  • The fence height does not exceed 1 metre within 6 metres of the intersection of two boundaries of the land where those boundaries face a road, other than where a 4 x 4 metre corner cut-off has already been provided (and is to be preserved). This is to maintain sighting for road users at intersections (refer below image).Fences - Corner Cut-Off

A chain mesh fence does not require an approval except where it is located

  • in a Watercourse Zone, Flood Zone or Flood Plain delineated by the relevant Development Plan

Swimming pool fences and post and wire (chain mesh, tennis court-style) fences require approval in all situations.


Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Respect of a state or local heritage place.
  • City of Tea Tree Gully – one or more of the following zones or policy areas identified in the Development Plan: Golden Grove Residential Zone, Golden Grove Residential D Zone, Golden Grove Residential Policy Area.
  • City of Charles Sturt – one or more of the following zones or policy areas identified in the Development Plan: West Lakes General Policy Area 18, West Lakes Medium Density Policy Area 19.
  • One or more of the following zones or policy areas identified in the relevant Development Plan: the Hills Face Zone, a Watercourse Zone, Flood Zone or Flood Plain (or in any other zone or area delineated as such a zone or area in a map in the relevant Development Plan, or otherwise indicated by requirements in the relevant Development Plan for minimum finished floor levels expressed by reference to ARI or AHD).
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Outbuildings do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The total floor area does not exceed 15 square metres (refer below image).
  • NOTE: If the outbuilding is situated within one or more of the following zones or policy areas, the floor area of the outbuilding must not exceed 10 square metres: Historic (Conservation) Zone; Historic (Conservation) Policy Area; Residential Historic (Conservation) Zone; Historic Conservation Area; Historic Township Zone.Outbuilding - Total Floor Area
  • No span exceeds 3 metres (refer below image).Outbuilding - Span
  • The outbuilding is not in front of any part of the building line of the existing building (to which it is ancillary) that faces the primary street (refer below image).Outbuilding - Primary Street and Building Line
  • The outbuilding is at least 900 millimetres from a boundary of the land with a secondary street (refer below image).Outbuilding - Secondary Street
  • The outbuilding is not located within 6 metres of the intersection of two boundaries of the land where those boundaries face a road, other than where a 4 x 4 metre corner cut-off has already been provided (and is to be preserved). This is to maintain sighting for road users at intersections (refer below image).Outbuilding - Corner Cut-Off

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Respect of a state or local heritage place.
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Pergolas do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The pergola is associated with an existing dwelling (whether attached to the building or freestanding) (refer below image).Pergola - Attached or Detached
  • The pergola has a permeable roof material (shade cloth is acceptable) (refer below image).Pergola - Roof
  • Each freestanding side of the pergola is open with no enclosed walls (refer below image).Pergola - Walls
  • No part of the pergola is higher than 4 metres above the ground (refer below image).Pergola - Height
  • No part of the pergola will be in front of any part of the building line of the dwelling to which it is ancillary that faces the primary street (refer below image).Pergola - Building Line

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • A location within 100 metres of a coastline (measured from mean high water mark on the sea shore at spring tide).
  • Respect of a state heritage place (including State Heritage Areas).
  • One or more of the following zones or policy areas identified in the relevant Development Plan: a Watercourse Zone, Flood Zone or Flood Plain (or in any other zone or area delineated as such a zone or area in a map in the relevant Development Plan, or otherwise indicated by requirements in the relevant Development Plan for minimum finished floor levels expressed by reference to ARI or AHD).
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Retaining walls do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The retaining wall does not retain a difference in ground levels exceeding 1 metre (refer below image).Retaining Walls - Height

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Respect of a state or local heritage place.
  • One or more of the following zones or policy areas identified in the relevant Development Plan: Historic (Conservation) Zone, a Historic (Conservation) Policy Area, Residential Historic (Conservation) Zone, a Historic Conservation Area, Historic Township Zone.
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Shade sails do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The shade sail is made of permeable material.
  • The area of the sail will not exceed 20 square metres (refer below image).Shade Sail - Area
  • No part of the sail will be more than 3 metres above ground (if situated above bare ground) or floor level (if built above an existing structure) (refer below image).Shade Sail - Height
  • No part of the sail will be in front of any part of the building line of the building to which it is ancillary that faces the primary street (refer below image).Shade Sail - Primary Street

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Respect of a state heritage place (including State Heritage Areas).
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Solar Panels do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • Their total weight does not exceed 100 kilograms; or
  • If their total weight exceeds 100 kilograms:
    • The weight load is distributed so it does not exceed 100 kilograms at any single point of attachment to the roof; and
    • The panels (and any associated components) do not overhang any part of the roof; and
    • The panels are fitted parallel to the roof with the underside surface of the panels being not more than 100 millimetres above the surface of the roof. (refer below image).Solar Panels - Roof
  • The panels are being installed by an accredited person recognised by the Minister.
  • If the solar panels are to be connected to the state electricity grid, the total generating capacity will not exceed 5 megawatts.
  • If the property is a local heritage place, the solar photovoltaic system must not be able to be seen from a public street at ground level.

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Respect of a state or local heritage place.
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Spas do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The spa is constructed ancillary to a dwelling and intended primarily for use by the occupants of that dwelling.
  • The spa does not have a maximum capacity exceeding 680 litres

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • One or more of the following zones or policy areas identified in the relevant Development Plan: the Hills Face Zone, a Watercourse Zone, Flood Zone or Flood Plain (or in any other zone or area delineated as such a zone or area in a map in the relevant Development Plan, or otherwise indicated by requirements in the relevant Development Plan for minimum finished floor levels expressed by reference to ARI or AHD).
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Swimming pools do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The swimming pool is constructed ancillary to a dwelling for use primarily by only the dwelling occupants.
  • The pool structure does not have a depth exceeding 300 millimetres.
  • In the case of an above-ground or inflatable swimming pool, it does not incorporate a filtration system (refer below image).Swimming Pool - Above Ground


*Native trees located outside metropolitan Adelaide and/or townships in the Adelaide Hills or parts of the Mount Barker Council area are protected in accordance to the legislation of the Native Vegetation Act 1991 and any enquiries regarding their removal should be directed to the Native Vegetation Council.


Tree removal does not require approval where it satisfies all of the following criteria:

  • The tree to be removed has a trunk with a circumference of less than 2 metres (refer below image).
  • Trees - Circumference

  • In the case of trees with multiple trunks, the trees to be removed must have a combined trunk circumference of less than 2 metres and an average circumference of less than 625 millimetres (refer below image).

Trees - Multiple Trunks

  • GUIDE: Trunk circumference should be measured 1 metre above the natural ground level (refer below image).

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • A state or local heritage place.
  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.


Water tanks (and any supporting structure) do not require approval where they satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The water tank is part of an existing roof-drainage system.
  • The main tank has a total floor area not exceeding 10 square metres (refer below image).Water Tank - Area
  • The water tank is located wholly above the natural surface of the ground.
  • The water tank has no part higher than 4 metres above the natural surface of the ground (refer below image).Water Tank - Height

Except where the development is to occur in:

  • Land where the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 is operational.

Approval may be required for the following development types:


Check with your local council whether approval is required for the following development:

  • Advertising Displays
  • Aerials or towers
  • Air conditioning Units
  • Carports or garages
  • External painting of a heritage-listed property
  • Home activity
  • Internal alterations and maintenance
  • Flagpole
  • Temporary building e.g., an office, shed, store
  • Windmills

Page last modified Tuesday, 2 July 2019