Design Standards incoming
Until now, the State Planning Commission (Commission) had not prepared any design standards, as contemplated under section 69 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) (PDI Act). This is set to change.
The Commission has recently released its “Proposal to Initiate a Design Standard” (Proposal) in accordance with section 73(1)(a) of the PDI Act. The Proposal sets out the anticipated purpose of scope of the proposed design standard, to be called “Design Standard 1 – Driveway Crossovers for Residential Development” (Design Standard).
The Proposal is available to read here.
If adopted, this will be the first design standard under the PDI Act.
What are Design Standards?
Section 69 of the PDI Act establishes that –
- The Commission may prepare design standards that relate to the public realm or infrastructure for the purposes of [the PDI Act].
- A design standard may supplement the Planning and Design Code by –
- specifying design principles; and
- specifying design standards for the public realm or infrastructure; and
- providing design guidance with respect to any relevant matter.
- A design standard may –
- be linked to any spatial layer in the Planning and Design Code; and
- apply to any location specified in the Planning and Design Code, an infrastructure delivery scheme under Part 13 Division 1 [of the PDI Act], or a scheme established under Part 15 Division 2 [of the PDI Act].
- A design standard may be accompanied by advisory material in the form of design manuals or guidelines.
Design standards are also included within the definition of statutory instruments and form part of the Planning Rules under section 3(1) of the PDI Act. Design standards are also designated instruments for the purposes of sections 70 to 77 of the PDI Act.
The intended purpose of a design standard is generally to supplement the operation of the Planning and Design Code in the assessment of development in the public realm or that relates to infrastructure.
Assessment of proposed development against the Planning Rules under section 102(1)(a) mandates an assessment against relevant design standards prior to the grant of planning consent. The Proposal also specifically contemplates an amendment to the Planning and Design Code to further require assessment against the proposed Design Standard in the assessment of an application for planning consent where a new crossover is intended.
Additionally, sections 102(1)(c)(ii) and 102(1)(d)(ii) call for the relevant authority, when assessing an application for land division consent, to determine that the relevant requirements of any design standard have been satisfied, or otherwise can be satisfied by the imposition of a condition. This assessment is specifically in addition to an assessment against the Planning and Design Code.
Likely impact of the Design Standard
The details of the Design Standard are still to be determined.
According to the Proposal, the Commission’s intention is for the Design Standard to specify:
- appropriate locations for driveway crossovers;
- circumstances in which a driveway crossover must accommodate simultaneous two-way movement;
- separation distances between any driveway crossover and roadside infrastructure and/or street furniture; and
- how driveway crossovers should interact with footpaths.
The Design Standard is proposed to have a general application to all proposed residential development incorporating new driveway crossovers. In this way, it is anticipated to provide a minimum design “baseline” when assessing the impacts of proposed driveway crossovers, particularly with reference to consideration of existing infrastructure and street trees, as well as safety outcomes.
The main purpose of the Design Standard, however, appears to be to provide a mechanism for the approval of crossovers within council road reserves without needing to obtain a separate authorisation under section 221 of the Local Government Act 1999 (SA) (LG Act) (as proposed to be varied by the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Act 2021 (SA)). This is reflected in section 107(4) of the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Act 2021 (SA) which prescribes that an alteration to a public road that complies with any relevant design standard under the PDI Act will not need to be subject to consultation with the chief executive officer of the council.
A period of public consultation is expected to commence at some point this month. Presumably, more details as to the draft content of the Design Standard will be released ahead of consultation.
Given the intended state-wide application of the Design Standard, we encourage councils to make any submissions as to how the Design Standard, if adopted, may affect their existing practices or guidelines, and what aspects should be specifically incorporated within the Design Standard.
We also encourage councils to seek advice if they have any questions about how the Design Standard, and any future design standards, may directly affect them or the assessment of development applications by their assessment managers and/or assessment panels.
For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Dale Mazzachi on +61 8 8210 1221 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Nicholas Munday on +61 8 8217 1381 or email@example.com.
 Proposal to Initiate a Design Standard: Driveway Crossovers for Residential Development
Design Standard (State Planning Commission, 31 March 2023), paragraph 1.2.
 See the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) ss 102(1)(c)(i) and 102(1)(d)(i).
 See Proposal to Initiate a Design Standard: Driveway Crossovers for Residential Development
Design Standard (State Planning Commission, 31 March 2023), paragraph 2.3.
 See the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Act 2021 (SA) ss 107(1) and 107(2). See also the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) Schedule 6 clauses 21 and 22. As far as we are aware, no commencement date has been set for these provisions.