Believe it or not, what is defined as development may not be consistent across different contexts. There are many occasions where landowners may not consider what they are proposing as development. In the planning context, development has a clear definition. The Planning and Development Act 2005 defines development in the following way:

development means the development or use of any land, including —

(a) any demolition, erection, construction, alteration of or addition to any building or structure on the land;

(b) the carrying out on the land of any excavation or other works;

(c) in the case of a place to which a Conservation Order made under section 59 of the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 applies, any act or thing that —
(i) is likely to change the character of that place or the external appearance of any building; or
(ii) would constitute an irreversible alteration of the fabric of any building;


Basically, all proposed works would be considered development under this definition, including demolition and excavation.

An important thing to note in the above definition is the inclusion term “use”. This means that a change of use of a building (i.e a shop to a restaurant) is also considered development even if no actual works are being done on an existing building. This means that if you are intending to change or create an additional use for your building, you will require development approval. Many local councils include uses that do not require planning approval in their local planning schemes (some home offices for example), so it is always important to consult a local planning officer early to see if development approval is required.

For more information on what is required for your next project, contact us on (08) 6114 9356 or click here!