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Design Review

A pre-lodgement service that supports high-quality design outcomes, improves access to independent design expertise and assists with informed decision-making during development assessment


Design quality of our built environment not only relates to the ‘look and feel’ of buildings and places, but how successfully they meet the needs of the people who use and experience them. High-quality design helps make our buildings and places better for people, the environment and economy.

Our new planning system enables greater emphasis to be placed on design quality, including how future developments contribute to the public realm, respect the surrounding built form and increase the availability of independent design expertise through the planning process.

One of the ways our new planning system will support high-quality design is by creating more opportunities to participate in Design Review.

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 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.


Completed In progress Pending
  • Local Design Review Scheme operational

  • Minister endorses final Local Design Review Scheme

  • Update Local Design Review Scheme based on consultation feedback

  • Consultation on draft Local Design Review Scheme

  • Office for Design and Architecture South Australia (ODASA) draft the Local Design Review Scheme in collaboration with local governments and industry bodies

    Feb 2020

  • State Design Review criteria included in draft Planning and Design Code (via the Design Overlay) for public consultation

    Completed October 2019

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 Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) and referred to the Government Architect:

  • developments with a value of $10 million or more within the City of Adelaide
  • developments of 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)
  • developments with a value of $3 million or more in Port Adelaide Regional Centre Zone (City of Port Adelaide Enfield)
  • major projects and projects of state significance.

State Design Review will continue to be available to these development proposals in the new planning system, which are identified in the Design Overlay within the Planning and Design Code.

To learn more about State Design Review, visit the Office for Design and Architecture South Australia’s website.

State Design Review, Office for Design and Architecture South Australia

State Design Review, Office for Design and Architecture South Australia (image: Sam Noonan)

Our new planning system presents an opportunity to expand the availability of Design Review to a greater range of development proposals that will be assessed by local relevant authorities under a new Local Design Review Scheme.

Local governments in South Australia are increasingly offering design advisory services to proponents in varying formats. A new Local Design Review Scheme will encourage consistency across the State and provide support to local governments who would like to offer independent design advice to proponents.

Local Design Review under this new scheme will only be available to development proposals before they are lodged for assessment. The service will also be voluntary, providing proponents with a choice to participate and receive independent design advice. The relevant authority must also have regard to the design advice when undertaking their assessment. If a proponent chooses not to participate in Local Design Review, no design advice will be generated for the proponent or the relevant authority.

The Office for Design and Architecture South Australia is currently drafting the Local Design Review Scheme in collaboration with local government staff from across the State and peak industry bodies. It is anticipated that the draft Local Design Review Scheme will be available for public comment in the first half of 2020.

Illustration of how Local Design Review could operate in the new planning system

Illustration of how Local Design Review could operate in the new planning system

Page last modified Thursday, 20 February 2020