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Building Reform

Improved building controls to deliver a safe, high quality built environment


The new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act) will introduce a number of changes to the way that building and construction is undertaken in South Australia.

These changes are designed to support the implementation of South Australia’s new planning and development system, and to respond to areas of emerging need in the building industry, such as ensuring Building Rules compliance.

These reforms will primarily affect building professionals who are responsible for applying South Australia’s Building Rules, namely certifiers, building surveyors and council officers.

The ultimate aim of these changes is to ensure higher standards of assessment and compliance in the building sector to create a safe, durable, high quality built environment for the community.

A fact sheet on the building reform program and an explanatory video is now available (please note that one-time registration is required to watch the video).

Interested parties can also stay up-to-date on changes to the building sector by signing up for the Building Standard eNews.

Have your say on new council inspection policies

As a result of the new Act, a state-wide set of council inspection policies will be created to foster a more consistent and greater level of building compliance across council regions.

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure has engaged a consultant to engage councils in the early development of these policies and all councils will soon have the opportunity to have their say via an online survey. More information on this survey will be published here shortly.


Completed In progress Pending
  • Ministerial Building Standards

    Completed July 2020

  • New council inspection policies

    Completed July 2020

  • Updated building regulations

    Completed July 2019

The new PDI Act will affect the building industry in South Australia via seven key reforms:

The Accredited Professionals Scheme aims to ensure that decision-makers in the development assessment process are appropriately qualified to make key decisions and that a high standard of ethical conduct and professionalism is met.

As part of the scheme, all certifiers, surveyors and council officers will need to be registered and accredited within defined levels and meet Continuing Professional Development standards.

The new scheme will also include revised procedures for complaints; investigations; compliance and enforcement; and auditing.

More information is available on the Accredited Professionals Scheme page.

Current building regulations will be reviewed to improve consistency and useability.

This process will involve the preparation of new building regulations to better support improved performance, integrity and accountability in the building system, and to address any gaps or areas of emerging need in the building sector.

It will also involve the revision of existing regulations to improve clarity, relevance and effectiveness.

A Building Reform Working Group was formed in August 2018 to provide initial advice to the Department to inform the drafting of these regulations, which will be out for consultation in early 2019.

The Ministerial Building Standards will be derived from (and replace) existing Minister’s Specifications, but will be amended and consolidated as required to provide clearer building rules related to South Australian variations under the National Construction Code.

These Standards will continue to address issues such as adaptive re-use and maintenance of essential safety provisions.

A state-wide set of council inspection policies will be created to foster a more consistent and greater level of compliance across council regions. These will be tailored to meet a range of council requirements. This is a change from the current system whereby councils determine many of their own inspection policies based on set criteria.

The Department has engaged a consultant to engage councils in the early development of these policies and all councils will soon have the opportunity to have their say via an online survey. More information on this survey will be published here shortly.

The creation of the new council inspection policies is being overseen by the Building Committee, a sub-committee of the State Planning Commission.

Modernising South Australia’s building system has involved identifying local issues that require stand-alone regulations. This includes swimming pool compliance and safety which has been recognised as a regulatory area requiring improved management in our state.

As such, stand-alone regulations for swimming pools will be prepared separately to the General Regulations of the PDI Act.

A revised fee structure will be prepared for the new planning system to consolidate and simplify existing development fees and ensure that they more accurately reflect the level of services delivered.

The revised fee structure will incorporate all fees associated with development assessment in South Australia under the Act, including the Accredited Professionals Scheme.

South Australia’s paper-based planning system will soon migrate to a state-wide ePlanning platform. As part of this change, all development applications across the state will be lodged via the SA Planning Portal.

In this future state, the portal will become the ‘one-stop-shop’ for building practitioner registration, building approvals and building inspection records. All Ministerial Building Standards, building regulations and council inspection policies will also be housed on the SA Planning Portal.

Consultation on the new council inspection policies has commenced and will continue through the early part of 2019. The Department has engaged a consultant to engage councils in the early development of these policies and all councils will soon have the opportunity to have their say via an online survey. More information on this survey will be published here shortly and via Council Connect.

Consultation on the Ministerial Building Standards and the updated building regulations will take place in early 2019 and building professionals can stay up-to-date through Planning Ahead eNews and the Building Standard eNews.

Consultation on the Accredited Professionals Scheme closed on 7 October 2018 and a What We Have Heard Report is available now via the Accredited Professionals Scheme page.

Other elements, such as the General Regulations, will be consulted on in early 2019.

Page last modified Monday, 10 December 2018