Development assessment and the urban design trigger

The urban design trigger (State code 24) is part of the Planning Regulation 2017. It allows the Queensland Government to advise applicants and local governments on the quality of urban design outcomes of significant projects. This helps to support development that contributes positively to the liveability, sustainability, health and economic viability of places across Queensland.

The code differs from other state development assessment provision codes because the referral is triggered for advice only.

Projects affected by the trigger

Significant projects are determined on the basis of:

  • location
  • use
  • zoning
  • gross floor area.

You can read more about this in Schedule 10, Part 18 of the Planning Regulation 2017.

The state as an advice agency

Development applications meeting the criteria of the trigger are referred to the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA), who then seek technical advice from the Office of the Queensland Government Architect (OQGA) before issuing advice to the assessment manager. The OQGA will review the proposal against the principles outlined in State code 24.

Exemption process

An application is not triggered for referral if written urban design advice is received prior to lodging the application and is given to the assessment manager (usually local government) as part of the application material. This exemption is intended to encourage applicants to incorporate best-practice urban design principles prior to an application being lodged with the assessment manager. Written urban design advice can be provided by the Office of the Queensland Government Architect or an urban design review entity established by a local government and stated in a gazette notice. The 2023/24 fee for written urban design advice is $2,364 (GST included).

Brisbane City Council's Independent Design Advisory Panel (IDAP) has now been established as an urban design review entity. Initially, IDAP was established as an urban design review entity from 4 September 2020 until 30 June 2021. IDAP has now been re-established as an urban design review entity from 7 January 2022 until 8 December 2025. View details about the gazettal of IDAP.

Urban design statement

Applicants should prepare an urban design statement including a description of the overarching project vision and summary outlining how the proposal responds to the urban design principles outlined in the State Development Assessment Provisions.

More information

For more information on the trigger, State code 24, assessment pathways, exemptions and the urban design statement, email the Office of the Queensland Government Architect at