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Planning and building

The Gold Coast is a vibrant and attractive city. We are working hard to maintain our enviable lifestyle and ensure our city continues to thrive in a sustainable way.

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Lodge a development application

Please see the sections below for details about the different options available for submitting development applications. 

Online

Applications can be submitted using the online forms available within the sections below and on the relevant application pages.

If you don’t require additional information about the various application types, you can use the button below to go directly to our full list of online application forms.

Submit a development application

Once an application has been submitted electronically using the online form, all future application correspondence must be submitted in PDF format without password protection.

Please note the online lodgement process is only be available for new (initial) applications. Any additional application correspondence (e.g. information responses) should be emailed to mail@goldcoast.qld.gov.au.

Application documentation is to be submitted as follows:

  • Forms - combined as one single PDF
  • Supporting documents - combined as one single PDF
  • Plans - combined as one single PDF
  • Specialist reports - combined as one single PDF

Register for My Account

The City has a new information technology system for major customer, property and revenue functions. As part of this new system, you can register for My Account – a secure online portal to lodge applications, access your information, request services and manage your accounts from one location.

You will need to sign in to My Account to use our ‘pay later’ option when submitting an application and requesting an invoice for payment. With My Account, you will also have 24/7 convenience to:

  • pay bills and manage your sundry debtor account
  • make service requests and track progress
  • perform property searches
  • update your details
  • lodge and track licence and permit applications
  • lodge and track development applications.

As a registered user of My Account, you have the additional benefit of personal details pre-filled in your service requests and application forms.

For more information and to register, visit My Account.

By mail or in person

By mail

Send completed relevant application forms along with a cheque* for payment of fees to:

Chief Executive Officer
City of Gold Coast
PO Box 5042
GCMC 9726

*Please make cheques payable to City of Gold Coast.

In person

You can submit completed applications forms and make payment at any of our customer service centres.

Application types

The following sections provide a brief summary of each application type with links to application pages where you can find more specific information and links to the forms.

Material change of use

A material change of use application is generally required when there is:

  • the start of a new use of a building or on the land
  • the re-establishment of a use that has been abandoned
  • a material change in the intensity or scale of the use of the land.

See Material change of use for more information and to submit an application online.

Reconfiguring a lot

Reconfiguring a lot means:

See Subdividing land for more information and to submit an application online.

Operational works

An operational works application is generally required when:

  • excavating or filling of land (i.e. earthworks, change of ground level, construction of a dam)
  • undertaking civil works for new subdivisions (i.e. connection to City infrastructure) and other works associated with a Material change of use or reconfiguring a lot
  • undertaking road works on City roads
  • clearing vegetation
  • undertaking landscape works
  • undertaking coastal works (e.g. prescribed tidal works, boat ramps, boulder sea walls, pontoon)
  • undertaking non-standard vehicle crossovers.

See Operational works for more details about the different types of operational works applications and to submit an application online.

Temporary ground anchors

The interference with a road for the installation of temporary ground anchors is an application associated with the proposed installation of temporary ground anchors used to anchor shoring when deep excavation works are undertaken for basements and the like. The only area of jurisdiction for City of Gold Coast is land under its ownership or control which includes the road reserve.

See Temporary ground anchors for more information and to submit an application online.

Non-tidal development works

This type of application is applicable to the construction of jetties, pontoons and boat ramps within non tidal waters. Non-tidal is taken to mean land (public and freehold) inundated with water. In some cases, it is behind lock and weir structures, for example, Monterey Keys.

See Non-tidal development works for more information and to submit an application online

RiskSmart

RiskSmart is a streamlined process to assess and decide low risk development applications submitted to the City of Gold Coast. For RiskSmart applications submitted electronically, the assessment will be undertaken and a decision made within five (5) business days from the date of a ‘properly made’ application under the Planning Act 2016.

RiskSmart's standard development applications are based on land use and designed for low risk code assessable developments listed under the City Plan.

See RiskSmart development applications for more information about the types of development proposals that may be eligible for ‘fast track’ assessment, and to submit an application online.

Building

Whether you are building a house, duplex, garage, shed, carport, retaining wall or some other structure, you will most likely require building approval (certification). This is also known as a building permit and must be obtained prior to commencing construction on most types of domestic or commercial building works. Building approvals can be sought from a private building certifier. See Private building certifier for more information about their role and which types of building works require approval.

Referral agency assessment may also be required in relation to assessing whether proposed buildings and/or structures comply with boundary setbacks, site cover, amenity and aesthetics.

See Building setbacks and plan of development for more information and to submit an application online.

Private certifiers can visit our Private certifier information page to submit/archive building applications and other required documentation.

Plumbing and drainage

If you are planning, or engaged in, building or planning works involving plumbing and drainage including on site sewerage facilities or backflow devices, visit Plumbing and drainage for more information and to lodge your application online.

Tree works (public and private)

If work is to be carried out on protected vegetation on a land owner's property, an application to City of Gold Coast may be required. There are a number of checks to be conducted in regards to the size, condition and location of trees before any vegetation can be removed.

See Tree removal – private land for more information and to submit an application online.

If you are requesting a tree on public land to be removed which is dead/dying, dangerous or diseased, or you are requesting tree removal in relation to a development/vehicle cross over, an application to the City is required.

Please see Tree removal – public land for more information and to submit an application online.

Driveways and vehicle cross overs

City of Gold Coast has an assessment and approval process that ensures driveway and vehicular crossings are effectively regulated and match the City standards.

See Driveways and vehicular crossings for more information and to submit an application online.

Priority development area

A priority development area is declared by the Queensland State Government to facilitate the development of land for economic or community purposes. Currently there are only two priority development areas within the Gold Coast. These are the Southport Priority Development Area, which facilitates the development of the Gold Coast CBD; and the Parklands Priority Development Area, to facilitate development associated with the Commonwealth Games.

Management plans

A management plan may be required to satisfy conditions imposed on a development approval issued under either the:

  • Planning and Environment Act 1993
  • Integrated Planning Act 1997
  • Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (compliance assessment); or
  • Planning Act 2016.

The types of management plans the City may require include but are not limited to:

  • Construction management plan
  • Vegetation management plan
  • Bushfire management plan.

See Management plans for more information and to submit online.

Environmental offsets

In accordance with the Environmental Offset Act 2014, our City Plan contains an Environmental Offset Policy, which is designed to ensure that environmental offsets are used to counterbalance unavoidable impacts on environmental values resulting from a development.

The Environmental Offset Policy ensures any unavoidable loss of key local and state environmental values, such as koala habitat, can be offset through a requirement for compensatory works or financial settlements.

See the application forms below:

Request to apply superseded planning scheme

Under the provisions of the Planning Act 2016, a person may request that a proposed development be assessed and decided under a superseded planning scheme.

See Superseded and historic planning schemes for further information relating to superseded and historic versions of the City Plan and Gold Coast Planning Scheme 2003 and to submit a request online.

Infrastructure charges

Infrastructure contributions levied on approved developments are determined by the applicable charging regime in place at the date the approval is granted. For more information about the different charging regimes in recent years that may apply to existing approved developments, and to submit infrastructure charge applications online, see Infrastructure contributions.

Please note that the required infrastructure charge forms are also included on the relevant application pages.

Plan sealing (plan of subdivision)

If your development requires subdivision, you will need to submit a request for the City to approve the plan of subdivision.

See Plan sealing for more information about the plan of subdivision application requirements and process, and to submit an application online.

Road closure

A road is any area of land that has been set aside by legislation for the present or future use of the travelling public. This definition does include footpaths.

Not all roads are currently being used by vehicles or pedestrians, and some may never end up being used for that purpose. A road can be closed permanently or temporarily.

See the Application for Road Closure (Referral Agency) application below to apply.

Other applications

The following application types may be required to change an existing approval or the timeframes an approval has effect; or to check whether the development you are undertaking is in accordance with the City's requirements.

More information

For information about application submission requirements, please see the Frequently asked questions below or call the Planning Enquiries Centre on 07 5582 8708.

Development application fees vary depending on the type of application. Refer to the Register of fees and charges for more information or do an online application fee enquiry.

Related information

Jump to key information
  • How should I prepare my attachments for submitting online?

    The attachments you prepare for online lodgement should include a maximum of four (4) attached PDF files – Forms, Supporting documents, Plans and Specialist Reports. (If lodging a hard copy application, these should be saved to a disc or USB.)

    Combine each attachment as one single PDF document and name the PDF file. See example as follows:

    • Forms 24 Black Street Nerang.pdf
    • Supporting documents 24 Black Street Nerang.pdf
    • Plans 24 Black Street Nerang.pdf
    • Specialist reports 24 Black Street Nerang.pdf

    Do not password protect the PDF documents for lodgement.

    Depending on the application type, not all four sections may need to be provided.

    In addition to the digital copy of the submission, for hard copy lodgement only you may also provide the City with:

    • One (1) hard copy of planning documentation
    • Two (2) sets of plans – scaled in A3.

    Please note: There is a total 20mb size limit for all attachments that can be uploaded via the online form. If your documents exceed this limit, they can be lodged separately by requesting a dropbox link from DART@goldcoast.qld.gov.au.

  • What are the requirements for a properly made application?

    Your application must meet the requirements of the Planning Act 2016 for it to be considered properly made. If the application does not meet these criteria, assessment cannot proceed.

    The development application must be:

    • made in the approved form to the assessment manager   
    • accompanied by:
      • the documents required under the form to be attached to, or given with, the application; and
      • the required fee - refer to the Register of fees and charges for more details.

    The application must be accompanied by the written consent of the owner of the premises to the application.

    • Please note: the State Government has an applicant template with the information required for obtaining owner's consent from an individual and/or company.
  • What happens if my application is not properly made?

    Where the assessment manager considers that an applicant has not provided a development application that satisfies the requirements of the Planning Act 2016, the assessment manager must issue an action notice before the end of the confirmation period. This notice must state what actions the applicant must take for the development application to meet the properly made requirements.

  • What makes a good application?

    • use of the correct forms
    • provision of plans and drawings that clearly illustrate the proposed development, that are formatted to be able to be measured at A3 scale, that include a north point and suitable references (i.e. title, date, version and draftsperson)
    • a proper assessment of the proposal details, consideration of adjoining owners and justification against the relevant criteria (i.e. planning scheme or policy)
    • payment of the required fee.
  • What are common issues that can cause processing delays?

    Common issues include:

    • incomplete sections on the application form
    • poorly drafted, unclear plan or drawings (i.e. no dimensions, no scale, no height of buildings indicated, no setbacks from boundaries shown)
    • no proper assessment against the applicable performance criteria of the City Plan codes or policy
    • conflicting report and plan information
    • incorrect application type for the proposal (i.e. referral agency assessment vs generally in accordance).
  • What will happen to an application that has processing issues?

    Where applicable, an applicant can be given an information request which is an opportunity to rectify a matter within the assessment, before the decision is made.

    Upon receipt of the request, an applicant can choose to provide all of the information requested; provide part of the information requested; or not provide any of the information requested.

    Notwithstanding the above, as the City's assessment of the proposed application will be based on the information provided, it is recommended that you provide all of the information requested.

    If a response to the information requested is not received within the stated timeframe, the City will continue with the assessment of the application without the information requested.

  • What are the owner’s consent requirements?

    All current registered owners must provide written consent.

    Advisory notes:

    • Where a change of ownership of the premises has occurred within the last six months, a copy of the solicitor’s letter or title documentation advising the transfer date is recommended to be submitted with the application.
    • Where a power of attorney has been granted authority to sign for an owner, a certified/signed copy of the power of attorney documentation including dealing numbers is recommended to be submitted with the application.

    Where the owner is a company or corporation, written consent is required as follows:

    1. the ACN number; and
    2. the names, titles and signature(s) of:
      • two directors of the company, or
      • a director and the company secretary, or
      • the sole director plus written confirmation that the company has only one director.

    Where the owner includes a body corporate, written consent is required as follows:

    1. the body corporate seal; and
    2. body corporate
      • resolution providing written consent to the making of the application, including the names, titles and signature(s) of the chairperson and one member, or
      • letter of written consent to the making of the application including the names, titles and signature(s) of the chairperson and the secretary, or
      • letter of written consent to the making of the application from each lot/unit owner included in the body corporate.

    Other ownership arrangements

    • Leased land – the lessors of the land must give owner’s consent.
    • Dedicated parkland – the owner or the trustee, within the terms of the trust or reserve, must give owner’s consent.

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