On this page
- Find out common planning and building permit applications
- Know what steps to take to increase your chances of getting approved
The best starting point: speak to your local council
Contact your local council's building or planning department to check which permits and approvals you'll need when you want to set up or make fit-out changes to your retail shop, office, commercial or business premises.
Local councils often have specific requirements. Most will want you speak to them before you make any decisions. They'll also be able to tell you if you need a building or planning permit. Speaking to your council is an important step in the process — even if you've been through it before.
Use the Find your Local Council map to find your council’s website and contact details.
Common planning and building permit applications
Situations where you'll probably need a planning or building permit for a shop or commercial premises are:
- setting up your store, food premises or other business
- changing the existing shop front
- attaching signage to the building
- updating the internal fit-out of your premises
- putting outdoor seating or heaters on a footpath.
The Department of Planning and Community Development website explains the steps involved in applying for a planning permit if you need one.
What you can do early on
Before you sign your lease or buy your property, it's a good idea to:
- find out which planning zones and overlays apply to the properties you are considering by getting a free Basic Property Report at Land.vic.gov.au
- see if your premises has heritage listing on the Victorian Heritage Database. If it does, it may mean extra planning and approvals for modifications
- contact a builder or surveyor using the Building Commission's Practitioner Search to answer your questions before making too many plans
- arrange a pre-application meeting with your council planner to highlight any concerns early. Talking with your potential neighbours about your plans can help too
- see the Checklist: Location and set up premises for a detailed list of steps recommended to make changes to your retail or commercial premises
- use the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to work our which licences, registrations and permits your business will need.