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Accredited Professionals Scheme

Introducing rigorous standards of professional practice in planning and development


The Accredited Professionals Scheme aims to enhance the reliability, flexibility and accountability of decision-makers in the planning system and give development applicants greater confidence in the way that their development applications are assessed.

The Accredited Professionals Scheme became operational on 1 April 2019.

Any decision-maker in the planning system who is involved in assessing development applications can now apply online to become accredited under the new scheme.

Apply to become an Accredited Professional

View the Accredited Professionals Register


Completed In progress Pending

The Accredited Professionals Scheme is a key arm of the new planning system created under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Under the new Scheme, planning and building professionals who are involved in assessing development applications will be expected to maintain minimum standards of professional practice and produce evidence that they are sufficiently qualified to make key decisions at certain levels.

Once accredited, planning and building professionals will be registered in a central database managed by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

In addition, all Accredited Professionals will be required to hold all necessary insurance, comply with an Accredited Professionals Code of Conduct, participate in annual compliance checks and undertake specified units of Continuing Professional Development.

The Accredited Professionals Scheme is now operational under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016. Although planning professionals, building professionals and land surveyors may apply for accreditation at this time, they will not need to do so straight away.

Different practitioners will need to become accredited at different times:

Existing council building officers

Existing council building officers will not need to become accredited until the Planning and Design Code (the Code) becomes effective in the council area in which they operate. From this point council will need to ensure that they obtain advice from an appropriately accredited building professional before issuing building consent.

Existing council planning officers

Existing council planning officers may not need to be accredited at all if they are operating under the delegation of an assessment manager, who will be accredited at Accredited Professional Level 1. However, some assessment managers may want their council planning officers to be independently accredited at Planning Level 3 or 4 (this will be at the discretion of the assessment manager).

Assessment managers and assessment panel members

Assessment managers and assessment panel members will not need to become accredited until the ‘designated day’ declared by the Governor. This date is not yet known but is anticipated to be in late 2019.

Private certifiers already registered with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure

For private certifiers, transitional provisions will apply from 1 July 2019. These provisions will allow them to continue practicing at their current level until the anniversary of their existing professional registration, at which point their registration will expire, and they will need to be accredited under the new Scheme. For the interim period from 1 July 2019 until the expiry of current registration, private certifiers will be deemed to be accredited within the class that most closely corresponds to their current activities, as determined by the Accreditation Authority.

The Accredited Professionals Scheme will help to facilitate the following:

  • Better decision making
    The Scheme will ensure that planning and building professionals are suitably qualified and experienced to assess development applications and that they adhere to relevant planning requirements and a strict code of conduct.
  • Improved recognition of professionals
    The Scheme will publicly recognise the skills and experience of planning and building professionals and the value they bring to the decision-making process.
  • Faster processing for applicants
    Development applicants will have the choice to engage accredited professionals in the public or private sectors, resulting in faster and more responsive turnaround times on applications.
  • Better management of complaints
    The Scheme will provide a clear auditing and compliance process to ensure that all decisions are transparent and that issues and complaints can be investigated swiftly and fairly.
  • Centralised public register for all accredited professionals
    All Accredited Professionals will be registered on a central directory on the SA Planning Portal, making it easier for users to access up-to-date information on all planning and building decision-makers, including their areas of expertise.

There are a number of significant benefits to becoming accredited as a decision-maker in South Australia’s planning system:

  • As an Accredited Professional, your skills and experience in the development assessment process will be formally recognised and the importance of your role in the planning and development profession will be elevated sector-wide.
  • You will also be part of a high-profile community of practice that leads the nation in professional standards and conduct and values ongoing professional development.
  • Accredited professionals will also benefit from applicants having greater confidence in the development assessment process and the people who administer it through enhanced accountability and flexibility.
  • Importantly, clearer auditing and compliance processes will be available to all accredited professionals to ensure that all issues and complaints are investigated swiftly and fairly and practitioners can continue to do their work without unwarranted or prolonged disruption.

To become an Accredited Professional, practitioners will need to be accredited by the Chief Executive of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), known as the Accreditation Authority.

An application for accreditation will need to be lodged and accompanied by evidence that supports practitioners’ eligibility to become accredited in the class that they request.

There will be several classes of accreditation available under the Scheme and each will require a different level of qualification and experience. The accreditation classes are not dissimilar to the accreditation levels identified by the Planning Institute of Australia, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute

Accreditation classes for planning professionals and surveyors

There are four classes of planning accreditation available as well as a class for surveyors under the Scheme. Each class requires different qualifications and experience, and each level is able to assess different types of proposals.

Accreditation Class

Approved Activities

Planning Level 1

Assessment Manager

  • Assess 'deemed-to-satisfy' developments
  • Includes the assessment of one or more minor variations to the deemed-to-satisfy criteria
  • Assess 'performance-assessed' developments not assigned to Assessment Panels
  • Assess and approve land division consent, including community titles and strata titles*

Planning Level 2

Assessment Panel Member

  • Assess 'performance-assessed' development applications that are publicly notified

Planning Level 3

Accredited Professional

  • Assess 'deemed-to-satisfy' developments
  • Includes the assessment of one or more minor variations to the deemed-to-satisfy criteria

Planning Level 4

Accredited Professional

  • Assess 'deemed-to-satisfy' developments
  • Excludes the assessment of one or more minor variations to the deemed-to-satisfy criteria

Surveyor

Accredited Professional

  • Assess 'deemed-to-satisfy' land divisions (planning consent only)

*All approved activities are subject to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) (Development Assessment) Variation Regulations 2019

Accreditation classes for building professionals

There are four classes of building accreditation available. Each class requires different qualifications and experience, and each class is able to assess different types of proposals.

Becoming accredited at Building Level 2 also includes Building Level 3 and Building Level 4 accreditation. This is the only higher level accreditation that includes accreditation at the lower levels.

Accreditation Level

Approved Activities

Building Level 1

Building Surveyor

  • Assess against the Building Rules and provide building consent, with no limitations
  • Undertake building inspections on behalf of a council
  • Provide planning consent to 'Residential Code equivalent’* development applications, to be determined by the Minister

Building Level 2

Building Surveyor Limited

  • Assess against the Building Rules and provide building consent, limited to buildings that are no more than three storeys in height or have a floor area of no more than 2,000m2
  • Undertake building inspections (for buildings they are accredited to assess) on behalf of council
  • Includes Building Level 3 and Building Level 4 accreditation

Building Level 3

Assistant Building Surveyor

  • Assess against the Building Rules and provide building consent, limited to Class 1 and Class 10 buildings that are no more than two storeys in height or have a floor area of no more than 500m2
  • Undertake building inspections (for buildings they are accredited to assess) on behalf of council

Building Level 4

Building Inspector

  • Carry out inspections as provided for under the practice direction on inspection policies

* All approved activities are subject to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) (Development Assessment) Variation Regulations 2019

All applications for accreditation under the Scheme will be evaluated by either DPTI or a selected service provider (such as those named above) on behalf of DPTI. However, only the Chief Executive of DPTI will have the authority to officially offer accreditation to applicants.

As an ongoing condition of accreditation under the Scheme, practitioners will not only be expected to demonstrate that they have maintained suitable skills, knowledge and qualifications, but will also be required to maintain an appropriate level of insurance; comply with the Accredited Professionals Scheme Code of Conduct (PDF, 524 KB); and notify the Chief Executive of DPTI of any change to their professional circumstances.

Under the Accredited Professionals Scheme regulations, those practitioners who are registered and certified with a professional body under a recognised equivalent scheme may receive automatic accreditation under the new Scheme at a reduced fee. They must still apply for accreditation but their existing certification may be taken as evidence that they meet the requirements of the accreditation class in which they wish to operate.

The process for developing the Accredited Professionals Scheme can be viewed at-a-glance in the Infographic: How we have developed the Accredited Professionals Scheme (PDF, 96 KB). Each of the steps involved are described in more detail, below:

The Accredited Professionals Scheme Discussion Paper (PDF, 2167 KB) was on public consultation between February to April 2018. It proposed the operational framework for the Scheme. The Scheme has since evolved to address the feedback received and to support other elements of the planning reform program.

Two workshops were held with key stakeholders to refine and strengthen the Scheme. The first workshop took place on 14 March 2018 and addressed the themes of the Accredited Professionals Scheme Discussion Paper. The second workshop was held on 11 April 2018 and explored the Continuing Professional Development requirements for the Scheme.

The Accredited Professionals Scheme Draft (PDF, 916 KB) was released for consultation on 23 August 2018 and submissions were invited until 17 October 2018. The draft Scheme included the Accredited Professionals Scheme Regulations, the Accredited Professionals Skills and Experience Requirements, and the Accredited Professionals Scheme Code of Conduct.

The Accredited Professionals Code of Conduct (PDF, 524 KB) will require all Accredited Professionals to act with integrity and be subject to a high degree of accountability.

The administrative procedures for the Scheme are forthcoming and will set parameters for all elements of the Scheme so that it operates smoothly.

The Accredited Professionals Scheme became operational on 1 April 2019.

Although planning professionals, building professionals and land surveyors may apply for accreditation at this time, they will not need to do so straight away. Read more aboout how different practitioners will need to become accredited at different times.

A record of public consultation relating to the Accredited Professionals Scheme is listed below.

CLOSED: Accredited Professionals Scheme Code of Conduct

Consultation closed on 1 March 2019


The Accredited Professionals Scheme Code of Conduct went on targeted consultation with the Environment, Resources and Development Committee, the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs and the Local Government Association, as required by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Your input was used to develop the final Code of Conduct.

CLOSED: Accredited Professionals Scheme Draft

Consultation closed on 17 October 2018


The Accredited Professionals Scheme Draft (PDF, 916 KB) comprised of the Accredited Professionals Regulations (the Regulations), the Accredited Professionals Skills and Experience Requirements, and the Accredited Professionals Code of Conduct.

Your input was used to develop the Accredited Professionals Scheme via Regulations to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

It is anticipated that planning and building practitioners will be able to apply for accreditation in mid-2019

A What We Have Heard report was prepared summarising the key messages that were communicated to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (the Department) throughout the consultation process. It also offers some clarification in response to common queries that were received in submissions.

This report has been published on the SA Planning portal and distributed to all engagement participants.

Listed below are links to the submissions for the Accredited Professionals Scheme Draft:

CLOSED: Accredited Professionals Scheme Discussion Paper

Consultation closed on 30 April 2018


The discussion paper on the Accredited Professionals Scheme was made available for public consultation from 4 February – 30 April 2018.

The scheme will create consistency in decisions made, more transparent accountability and more choice for professionals and applicants when engaging with the development process in South Australia.

Accredited professionals under the scheme will need to meet prescribed requirements for qualifications, experience and specialist knowledge relevant to the type of work they are performing.

Your input has been used to develop the Draft Accredited Professionals Scheme via Regulations to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and released for consultation in August of 2018.

A What We Have Heard report based on feedback received has been circulated to all engagement participants and published on the SA Planning Portal.

Workshop with planning practitioners on the Accredited Professionals Scheme discussion paper

  • Part 1: Introduction and Presentation
  • Part 2: Workshopping and Discussion Paper

    Workshop with planning practitioners on the CPD educational program

  • Part 1: The CPD Program
  • Part 2: Q&A Session
  • Part 3: Workshopping the CPD Methods of Training
  • Page last modified Wednesday, 12 June 2019