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Arranging Consultations Made Easy: Pre-Application Consultation System (PACS)

  Published: 26 May 2020
  Theme: Instil (DC Services & Good Practices)

What is PACS, and when can I make use of this service? 

PACS is a Pre-Application Consultation Service for Qualified Persons (QPs) who wish to seek URA’s guidance on a development proposal before submitting a formal development application. QPs may pre-consult URA on conservation and urban design guidelines, as well as development control parameters such as earthworks, plot size/width and setback requirements (a full list of guidelines that can be discussed under PACS can be found in this circular).

PACS is a platform for QPs to discuss proposals that may depart from the usual guidelines and address certain planning issues upfront. It aims to help QPs save costs and time by potentially reducing the number of resubmissions at the formal development application stage. QPs who have used the service have given positive reviews on receiving clear and prompt guidance on their proposals. The fees payable for a PACS submission differ based on development type and the site’s location within or outside Designated Areas (see the full fee schedule here).

Upon making a PACS submission via the URA website, URA will set up a meeting with the QP/Applicant and a Director-level representative from URA to discuss the issues raised, generally within 10 working days from the date of application. Following which, an Advice that can be used to guide the revision of the development proposal in preparation for its formal submission will be issued. This Advice is valid for six months, and is not to be taken as a formal approval of the development proposal, which will be evaluated at the formal development application stage.

Good Practices for PACS Submissions

For the PACS to be helpful, URA is committed to pre-evaluate the PACS submission prior to a scheduled meeting with the QP/Applicant. QPs are asked to submit supporting documents (e.g. schematics, drawings, photos or other materials) to better illustrate the issue(s) to be discussed. Please ensure that these documents are sufficiently detailed. Planners may ask for more information on the scheme to be provided ahead of the meeting, if necessary.

Channels to Submit Outline Applications, Waivers and Baseline Enquiries

Proposals involving departures from the Master Plan planning parameters (i.e. land use, gross plot ratio, building and storey height) will need to be evaluated via an Outline Application, and should not be submitted via PACS.

QPs seeking waivers on certain development control guidelines either prior to a formal development application or in response to a planning condition imposed by URA (e.g. as part of the Provisional Permission) should submit a formal written waiver request via the URA Written Request e-Service.

Queries pertaining to the development charge and the development baseline for a site can be submitted through a baseline enquiry to determine the development baseline for a specific site, for the purpose of working out if development charge is payable. Find out how to submit the enquiry on our Development Charge page.

Note: All DC.Connect articles are only for general information. We strongly advise readers to read the relevant circulars we issue to professional institutes for full and accurate information on development control matters as these will continue to take precedence.