Planning

General

A planning application is the first step in the property development process. There are rules around planning that will affect how you can use the land, where you can build and what you can build.

A Planning Scheme defines zones and codes that determine how land can be used or developed in a particular area, and what rules, requirements and limitations may apply. The planning scheme in effect at a property location will affect the rules that apply to a proposed project.

The Tasmanian Planning Scheme is a single, state-wide planning scheme which will deliver consistent planning rules across Tasmania. The Tasmanian Planning Scheme is being rolled out across the state and will replace current planning schemes operating in councils in Tasmania. Each council in Tasmania is required to adopt the Tasmanian Planning Scheme. Until then, a council will have an Interim Planning Scheme in place. Read more about planning schemes.

Your proposed project will be assessed by a Planning Authority, which is the local council. A Council Planner will determine what planning approvals you require, if any.

You can find out in which council a property is located with PlanBuild Tasmania. Select the Start Enquiry button to get started.

Who is involved

As the owner/developer for a project you may need to talk to:

  • your local Council Planner
  • a Building Designer or Architect
  • a Bushfire Hazard Practitioner
  • other professionals.

Learn more about the roles involved in the planning process.

Planning approval

For those properties that fall under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, you can use the Guided Enquiry service to help identify which approvals may be required for your proposed project.

Learn more about what may happen if you don't apply for approval.

Planning approval will fall into one of five planning classification types as listed below.

Exempt

Some uses and development are exempt from planning approval if it meets certain criteria. The planning scheme will outline what is exempt based on specific requirements.

An example of an ‘exempt use’ is where the land is used for bee-keeping. No planning approval is required to do this.

An example of ‘exempt development’ could be where the development is undertaken in a certain position on the property, is of a certain size and is in an allowed zone.

A use or development that is exempt from planning approval does not mean it is necessarily exempt from building or plumbing approval. Before undertaking any project you should complete a Guided Enquiry, or if your proposed project is not included, consult your local council.

Certificates of ‘No Planning Approval Required’ (NPAR)

Before building work commences, an owner may seek assurance that the work falls into the category of ‘Exempt’.

Certificate of 'No Planning Approval Required' provides an optional pathway to demonstrate to a building surveyor that the proposed building work does not require consent from the council as planning authority, as the work is exempt or ‘no permit required’. This means that a building surveyor may rely, under section 321 of the Building Act 2016, on a certificate issued by a person licensed as a planning consultant under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005.

Certificates can be issued by a licensed Planning Consultant. The Certificate will be a ‘Certificate of Qualified Person – Assessable Item’.

You can search for a licensed Planning Consultant through the Occupational Licensing portal.

This service can also be provided by the relevant council and an owner may still seek this service from that council if they choose to do so.

No Planning Permit Required (NPR)

Certain uses and development may fall into the category of ‘No Permit Required’ under the relevant planning scheme. Work in this category will still require certain standards to be met, and these are identified in the relevant planning scheme.

A use or development that falls into the ‘No Permit Required’ category from a planning approval perspective does not automatically mean that building or plumbing approval is not required.

Before undertaking any project you should complete a Guided Enquiry, or if your proposed project is not included, consult your local council.

Certificates of ‘No Planning Approval Required’ (NPAR)

Before building work commences, an owner may seek assurance that the work falls into the category of ‘No Permit Required’.

Certificate of 'No Planning Approval Required' provides an optional pathway to demonstrate to a building surveyor that the proposed building work does not require consent from the council as planning authority, as the work is exempt or ‘no permit required’. This means that a building surveyor may rely, under section 321 of the Building Act 2016, on a certificate issued by a person licensed as a planning consultant under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005.

Certificates can be issued by a licensed Planning Consultant. The Certificate will be a ‘Certificate of Qualified Person – Assessable Item’.

You can search for a licensed Planning Consultant through the Occupational Licensing portal.

This service can also be provided by the relevant council and an owner may still seek this service from that council if they choose to do so.

Permitted (no public notification)

Certain uses and development require a planning permit to be granted from the local council before you can start the project.

‘Permitted’ use or development requires certain acceptable solutions to be met, these are defined under the relevant planning scheme. Providing these and all other relevant requirements are met, a permit must be granted.

Applications for planning permits that fall into this category do not need to be publicly advertised.

A council may grant the permit with or without conditions.

Discretionary (public notification required)

Certain uses and development that fall into this category require a planning permit from the local council and the council has the discretion to refuse to grant a permit that falls into this category.

Applications for these permits are assessed by the local council as a ‘discretionary’ application.

These applications require a 14 day public notification period during which time a person may make a submission, known as a ‘representation’, to the council in support or opposition of the proposal.

Public notification includes:

  • a sign on the property boundary
  • an advertisement in the relevant newspaper.

Any decision made may be appealed to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Prohibited (council must refuse the application)

Certain uses and development are prohibited and cannot be undertaken. The relevant planning scheme states what falls into this category. A permit cannot be granted.

Planning tools

Planning considerations

A list of considerations is shown below that may be relevant to your project. Some of these considerations are relevant to how land is used or developed and if there are any issues with the land use. These can be identified through planning zones and codes.

Zones and codes

A council will have the Tasmanian Planning Scheme or an Interim Planning Scheme in effect. The planning scheme that applies to a council area, divides the land into zones. Each zone has a particular use for the land (purpose) and sets out the primary controls for the use or development of that land. This information describes if a planning permit is required and the matters that the council must consider before deciding to grant a permit. Examples of zones are General Residential, Open Space and Central Business.

The planning scheme that applies to a council area includes a list of codes that apply in that area. A code provides controls and clear pathways for dealing with land use issues. Examples of codes are bushfire prone area and local heritage.

You can use the Enquiry service to see what planning zones and codes apply to a property. Select the Start enquiry button at the top of the page to get started. Read more definitions of common terms.

Read more about planning considerations below.

I don’t own the land

If you don't own the land, you can still submit a planning application for that land, but you must first notify the owner of your intention to do so.

In some cases, the use or development of land may impact on Crown land or Council land and permission must be obtained from the correct managing authority before proceeding with any application.

Crown Land

Crown land is public land that is owned and managed by the Tasmanian Government.

In most cases, Departments and Agencies will manage land that falls directly under its control, for example parks, reserves and State roads.

Parks and Wildlife Service

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) within the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (NRE Tas) is responsible for Crown land that is reserved under the Nature Conservation Act 2002.  This can include public reserves, school and hospital sites, verges of roads, land along river banks and coastal areas, sporting grounds, parks and picnic facilities.

If your proposed use or development will impact on Crown land that is managed by the PWS, you must get consent from the Parks and Wildlife Service before you submit your development application to your local council.

Department of State Growth

If your proposed use or development will impact on Crown Land managed by the Department of State Growth under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993, for example State road and rail land, you must submit an application for Crown Landowner Consent form with the Department.

You may lodge this application online using the Department of State Growth website.

You must not undertake any works until a written permit has been issued by the Department of State Growth.

Crown land managed by other authorities

Where Crown land is not the responsibility of a Department or Agency it is managed under the Crown Lands Act 1976 and you must contact your local council to identify the correct management authority before making any applications against the property affected by Crown land.

You can use the PlanBuild Tasmania Enquiry service to find out if the property is on or near Crown Land. Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Council land

Council land is land that is owned and managed by the relevant council.

If your proposed development or event will impact council land, you must get consent from the relevant council before you submit your development application.

You can use the PlanBuild Tasmania Enquiry service to find out if the property is on or near council land. Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Find the contact details for any local council through the Local Government Association Tasmania website.

I do own the land

Certificate of Titles

A Certificate of Title must be submitted with all planning applications.

A Certificate of Title is the official record of land ownership. The Title shows important information about your property, including any rights that affect the land.

A Certificate of Title is made up of three parts:

  • a description of the land
  • schedule 1, which lists the name(s) of the owner (who is guaranteed by the state)
  • schedule 2, which lists all the registered interests that affect the land, including covenants, caveats and easements.

Covenants

A covenant is a signed agreement between the seller and buyer, setting terms and conditions, on how the land can be used in the future. The covenant can guide or restrain how you build or alter your property. Restrictions may include how the land is not to be used or that buildings conform to certain requirements. For example, the materials used for the exterior of the property.

Caveats

A caveat is a document that any person with a legal interest in a property can lodge. Once lodged a caveat note appears on the property title giving anyone with an interest notice that a third-party claims rights over the property. This caveat must be resolved before any legal dealings to do with the property can take place.

Easements

Easements are a legal allowance to someone who is not an owner of the land, to use it for a certain purpose, such as access. For example, your neighbour may have a right-of-way access to enable them to access their property through yours if it doesn’t front onto a street or other road access.

Tasmanian Certificates of Titles are managed by the Land Titles Office.

Hazardous areas

A hazardous area is land that may be at risk of:

  • bushfire, landslip or flooding
  • slope instability
  • erosion or coastal flooding
  • sea level rises or storm surges.

You can use the PlanBuild Tasmania Enquiry service to find out if the property is within a hazardous area. Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Bushfire-prone areas

If the property IS within a bushfire-prone area

If the property is located in a bushfire-prone area you may need to demonstrate that risks to both people and property can be minimised in your proposed development. You may need a bushfire hazard management plan prepared by an accredited Bushfire Hazard Practitioner.

You can use the PlanBuild Tasmania Enquiry service to identify if the property is located within a bushfire-prone area or if any other hazardous areas apply to the property. Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Whether a bushfire hazard management plan is required will depend on the type of work you are looking to do at the property. For example,  if you are building a shed within 6 metres of a habitable building you may require an assessment by a bushfire hazard practitioner, however if the shed is not within 6 metres of a habitable building it may not be required.

The Council or a Building Surveyor will be able to advise you whether a bushfire hazard management plan is required based on what you plan to do.

If you need a bushfire hazard assessment, you will need to engage an accredited Bushfire Hazard Practitioner.

Generally, as part of a bushfire assessment a Bushfire Hazard Practitioner will:

  • Inspect the site and determine the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL);
  • Determine suitable bushfire protection measures;
  • Prepare a bushfire hazard report; and
  • Prepare a bushfire hazard management plan (BHMP).

If you already know that you need a plan, you can search for an accredited Bushfire Hazard Practitioner here. Find out more about the role of a Bushfire Hazard Practitioner.

If the property is NOT within a bushfire-prone area

If the property is not located within a bushfire-prone area, you will not need a bushfire hazard assessment.

To find out if the property is within a bushfire-prone area, you can use the PlanBuild Tasmania Enquiry service.

Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Heritage listed properties

If the property is listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register or located within a heritage precinct, your project may require approval from the relevant council and/or the Heritage Council. You can use the PlanBuild Tasmania Enquiry service to identify if the property is affected by heritage requirements.

Tasmania's historic heritage places are recorded in many different heritage lists: world, national, commonwealth, state and local. Places can be entered in more than one list. The places entered on some lists are protected by legislation. Other lists offer no protection but are maintained as useful sources of information. And there are some places that may not be included on any lists, but it can still be important to recognise and protect their heritage values.

In Tasmania the main two lists are the Tasmanian Heritage Register and the Historic Heritage Codes in local planning schemes. The places entered on these lists are protected by legislation.

Tasmanian Heritage Register

The Tasmanian Heritage Register identifies Tasmanian places of historic heritage significance to Tasmania. It is managed by the Tasmanian Heritage Council with assistance from Heritage Tasmania in the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania, through the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995.

Historic Heritage Codes (Local heritage)

Local Historic Heritage Codes are part of local government planning schemes and are used to identify places of local significance within a local municipality. The codes are managed by the relevant local council through the planning scheme and the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.

Read more about the approval process with the Heritage Council.

Aboriginal heritage

It is important to check the Aboriginal Heritage Property Search website before undertaking activities that may impact Aboriginal heritage.

The Aboriginal Heritage Property Search website provides the first step for land owners to determine whether there is a need to seek further advice about the presence of Aboriginal heritage in an area. This website undertakes a preliminary search of the Aboriginal Heritage Register and provides a result on whether there is registered Aboriginal heritage in an area or a risk of impacting Aboriginal heritage. It is an offence to destroy, damage, deface, conceal or otherwise interfere with Aboriginal heritage without a permit granted by the Minister.

Business

Different rules may apply when starting a new business or changing the operation of an existing business in particular zones under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

Hours of operation

The permitted hours of operation will vary according to the Planning Zone. Changing operating hours of a business may require planning approval.

Area of operation

Changing the internal and/or external operating floor area of an existing business may require a planning assessment.

Signage

If you install new signage, or change the location, shape or size of signage for a new or existing business you may require planning approval to do so.

Generally, changes that you make to an existing approved sign are exempt from planning approval. However, if you intend to change the size, dimensions or location planning approval for the amended sign may be required. Signs must comply with the Tasmanian Planning Scheme C1.0 Signs Code.

Parking

Changes to parking capacity or arrangements for customers, staff and deliveries may require planning approval.

It is your responsibility as a business owner to ensure that an appropriate level of parking facilities are provided to service your use or development.

You must also ensure that cycling, walking and public transport are encouraged, that there is appropriate safe and adequate access, parking does not cause unreasonable loss of amenity to the surrounding area, parking spaces and accesses meet appropriate standards and to provide for parking precincts and pedestrian priority streets.

The Enquiry service is available for councils who have the Tasmanian Planning Scheme in operation. If the business is located in a municipality where the Tasmanian Planning Scheme is not in effect, contact the relevant Council to find out what approvals you may need to apply for.

Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Food business

The safety and quality of food is regulated and monitored by the Department of Health in conjunction with local councils. Under the requirements of the Tasmanian Food Act 2003, food premises are required to be registered by the relevant council.

A food business is a business that involves the handling or production of food intended for sale or the sale of food (e.g. cafe, restaurant, bakery, food manufacturer, etc).

A temporary food business is a food business run from a temporary structure for a limited period, such as at a market, festival, fair, community event or street stall.

The sale of food in Tasmania requires a licence, whether you have a fixed premises, a business that moves around (e.g. a mobile food truck) or a temporary food business.

To determine what approvals are required, the risk to public health and safety of the food business is assessed.

There are five risk classifications with P1 being the highest risk category, to the lowest risk category of P4. The risk category assigned determines the types of approvals required.

The questions in the Enquiry Service will provide a guide towards understanding the risk classification of your business. The risk classification system will determine the type of application, fees and your engagement level with your council.

The Enquiry service is available for councils who have the Tasmanian Planning Scheme in operation. If the business is located in a municipality where the Tasmanian Planning Scheme is not in effect, contact the relevant Council to find out what approvals you may need to apply for.

Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Woman in front of food market stall

Public health

You will need to apply for a licence for the premises and an operator licence for each person conducting the activity, if you are undertaking a public health risk activity such as tattooing or piercing.

Tattoo and Piercing activities are regulated under the Public Health Act 1997.

If you are buying an existing business, adding any of these services to your business, or starting a new business you can find out what licenses may be required by answering the questions in the Guided Enquiry service.

The Guided Enquiry service is only available for councils who have the Tasmanian Planning Scheme in operation. Contact the council where the business will be located to find out what approvals you may need to apply for.

When phase two of PlanBuild Tasmania is released you will be able to lodge a public health permit or license application through the portal.

Select the Start enquiry button to get started.

Events

If you are planning an event you may need a Place of Assembly permit or licence.

A permit or licence may be required when an event will include over 1000 people and the event will run for more than two hours.

You will need to apply for a Place of Assembly permit through the council responsible for the location of the planned event.

When phase two of PlanBuild Tasmania is released you will be able to lodge a Place of Assembly application through the portal.

Strata

A Strata Scheme is a development which divides a property into lots and common property. Strata title or Unit title allows individual ownership of part of a property, combined with shared ownership in the common property through a legal entity.

  • Part of a property is called a ‘lot or unit’ and is generally an apartment, townhouse or commercial/retail unit.
  • Common property includes foyers, driveways and gardens.
  • The legal entity can be referred to as a body corporate, owners corporation, strata company or community association, depending on the type of scheme.
  • The common property is managed by the Body Corporate which is all the lot owners acting as a single body.

The Strata Titles Act 1998 regulates the development and planning of strata titles developments and day-to-day living in a strata titles development in Tasmania.

For more information about Strata Titles, visit the Land Tasmania website.

Subdivision

Subdivision typically means dividing a larger block of land into smaller lots which can then be sold separately. Each block of land will have its own Title. A development application is required to subdivide land.

Contact the local council to learn more about the requirements to subdivide land.

Find the contact details for any local council through the Local Government Association Tasmania website.

Ready to start an enquiry? Select the Start enquiry button at the top of the page to get started.

Updated: 25th July 2022