Building work

This page offers information on the assessment of activities that, may be categorised as building work, as specified in the Planning Act 2016.

What is building work?

In addition to erecting a structure (e.g. a residential house, tourist accommodation, a shed, or a roadside shop) building work can include:

  • repairing, changing, moving or demolishing a structure
  • supporting premises for building activities.

Your development proposal may also involve other development activities, e.g.:

  • material change of use, if it creates a new use for a property, re-establishes a previous use, or changes the scale or intensity of the use of the property
  • operational work such as excavating or placing fill, or clearing vegetation.

Your development will need to meet the requirements under the Building Act 1975.

Where to start your application

If your development is complex, or if there are on-site issues, you may need to find a qualified consultant to develop your application.

Your local council

Generally, your first step would be to contact your local council to discuss any requirements under the planning scheme.

If your development is assessable, your local council will let you know if they will be the assessment manager for your application, or if you need to contact the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) through your regional SARA office.

Categorising your development

Your local council will help you determine the category of your proposed development. Your development may be categorised as one of the following:

  • prohibited
  • assessable
  • accepted under the relevant planning scheme.

Despite the category of your proposed development, the proposal may also require:

  • assessment against interests that the state may have under the Planning Act 2016. This may mean that you need to lodge your application with, or refer it toSARA .
  • assessment against a state interest that does not fall under the Planning Act or the SARA process, e.g. if your proposed development falls within a regional interest area under the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014.
  • assessment by other entities such as the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (refer Planning Regulation 2017).
  • assessment against Commonwealth legislation such as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) (e.g. if land-use activities could potentially impact on threatened species).

Working with SARA

If your proposed development is assessable development, the assessment manager may be your local council or SARA.

If your local council has advised you to speak with SARA, we recommend that you contact SARA to ask for pre-lodgement advice, or a pre-lodgement meeting. This will help you understand the constraints, opportunities, potential alternatives and also the costs associated with the assessment process.

The role of the SARA

SARA works with technical agencies, such as Department of Transport and Main Roads, DNRME, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Department of Environment and Science, to ensure all technical aspects are appropriately assessed against Queensland legislation.

It's important to channel your questions about interests the state may have through SARA in the first instance, rather than direct to a technical agency. SARA’s role is to deliver a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to the state's assessment of development applications. Find further information on SARA or contact your regional SARA office.

Costs involved in development assessments

The Planning Regulation sets out the assessment fees for SARA. In addition to paying the assessment fees, the applicant is also responsible for the costs involved with developing appropriate plans, and complying with legal requirements. Local government will have a separate fee schedule for assessing applications.

Further information