Check if you need planning approval

If you want to build, renovate or change the use of your land, you may need planning approval.

This depends on where you live and what you want to do.

It is your responsibility to check if you need planning approval before you begin any work.

When you need planning approval

You may need planning approval when you want to:

  • build something - eg apartments or office blocks
  • change the use of land or a building eg:
    • turn a warehouse into a gym
    • start a new use
    • change the intensity or scale of the use
  • carry out works - eg earthworks involving excavation or fill
  • change the layout of a lot - eg subdivision or consolidation.

Types of planning approval

Usually, you need to apply for a development permit to get planning approval.

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to apply for another type of planning approval.

For example:

  • planning scheme amendment
  • exceptional development permit
  • concurrent application
  • variation of conditions
  • certificate of compliance or
  • other application type.

If you are unsure, contact a planner from Development Assessment Services to discuss your plans.

They can give you advice on whether you need planning approval and what application to make.

Find out if you need a development permit

To find out if you need a development permit, follow the steps below.

You will need to find out how your development is defined.

Defined uses can be found in schedule 2.1 of the NT Planning Scheme PDF (352.7 KB).

If you are unsure which definition to use, contact a planner from Development Assessment Services.

You will need to know:

You can find this information by:

Your development will fall under an assessment category.

There are 4 types:

  • permitted
  • merit assessable
  • impact assessable
  • prohibited.

Find out the meaning of the assessment categories.

Your assessment category will tell you whether you need a development permit.

Even if your development is permitted, you may also need a building permit if your land is within a building control area. Read more about establishing a permitted use.

Find assessment categories by zone

Assessment categories for all defined uses except subdivision and consolidation can be found in part 4 of the NT Planning Scheme PDF (1.2 MB).

To find your assessment category, follow these steps:

Step 1. Find the assessment table for your zone.

Step 2. Look for your defined use in the table.

Step 3. Note the assessment category in the table.

Step 4. Check each of the following that are listed next to your defined use in the table:

  • overlays
  • general development requirements
  • specific development requirements.

These can change the assessment category.

Find out what other factors can change your need for planning approval.

Find assessment categories for land subdivision or consolidation

The assessment categories for subdivision or consolidation are set, regardless of the zone.

Consolidation is merit assessable.

Unit title scheme subdivision is merit assessable if land has already been developed in line with a permit.

All other subdivision is impact assessable.

If your land is affected by an overlay, this may change the assessment category.

Find out what other factors can change your need for planning approval.

Last updated: 17 November 2022

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