The expanded scope of the territory's design review panel risks causing further delays to projects, the ACT Property Council has warned.
The National Capital Design Review Panel will operate on a permanent basis from October 1, providing input on all proposed developments of five storeys and above.
The ACT government had initially intended for the panel to only provide feedback on projects in certain locations, but agreed to expand its scope before laws to establish the advisory body were passed on August 1.
That spark alarm at the ACT Property Council, which was concerned that the panel would be swamped with applications, leading to delays in their assessment.
In a letter to ACT Chief Planner Ben Ponton on August 22, the industry group's executive director, Adina Cirson, said her members were already experiencing "significant delays" in the assessment of their projects.
In her letter, Ms Cirson suggested the government delay the implementation of the new system until January 1 to avoid a situation in which developers rushed to lodge applications before the slated October start date.
"We are very concerned that given the short time frame for commencement, and the broad remit for projects which now must go through the panel, we are concerned this will cause further delays," she said in the letter.
On Tuesday, Ms Cirson said some of her concerns had been allayed by the release of independent panel's terms of reference, which showed that not all development proposals would have to be presented, in-person, to the advisory body.
Instead, proposals could be subjected to a "desktop review" or "internal document review".
Ms Cirson strongly supported the review panel concept, but said it must be used as a "carrot [to developers] rather than a stick".
She said the South Australian-model had shown that the panel process could ultimately reduce assessment times by giving developers clear, early guidance on their proposal.
An ACT government spokesman said the planning directorate had analysed previous years' development application data and was confident the new system would "work efficiently and secure good planning outcomes for Canberra".
The spokesman said the panel would help developers identify major design issues at an early stage, when it was cheaper and easier to make changes.
It's reviews would also give the ACT Planning and Land Authority "greater assurances" that a proposal was of a high standard, which the spokesman said could speed up the assessment process.
"Developers and architects are encouraged to actively engage with design review panel and consider feedback early for the best results," the spokesman said.