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Checklist: Setting up your premises

Get your business premises approved.

On this page

  • Necessary planning steps
  • Steps for changing a leased premise
  • Submit your application

Start planning your changes

When you first take over a new premises, you will probably want to make some changes to make the place your own. To ensure you do this correctly, you will need to:

  1. know your local council's planning permit process. A good first step is contacting the Council Planning Department to ensure you comply with the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The Department of Planning and Community Development has a Planning Applications guide to assist you in the planning process
  2. check if you need a planning permit, building permit or any other local, state or federal licence, permit or registration by searching Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS)
  3. organise a pre-application meeting with a council planner. This helps ensure your plans will be processed by council and avoid delays. You can use this meeting to discuss likely issues with the current plans 
  4. contract a private registered building surveyor or a builder/registered building practitioner (RBP) in your area.  Use the Victorian Building Commission's Building Commission's Practitioner Search for a list of registered inspectors, surveyors, builders, draftsperson, landscapers, engineers and similar trade services
  5. check if you need a new safety assessment of your workplace by contacting Worksafe Victoria. If you have up to 20 employees you may be eligible for a free three-hour Victorian Work Cover Authority session
  6. know what insurance cover you should have and what must you have. Firstly, read the basics of finding the right insurance

Changing a leased premise

If you are making changes to a leased premise, you will need to complete the steps above as well as making sure you:

  1. check your lease if you need to request changes through your landlord. Most often, yes, you will need to get written approval from your landlord before making modifications to your leased premises
  2. get written/signed approval from your landlord to make any changes to the leased premises. If you are leasing retail premises or a shop see the Retail Leases Act 2003 on the Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC) website for guidance
  3. see if your lease includes a clause to use a trade worker chosen by your landlord. Check your lease agreement and check the VSBC frequently asked questions
  4. check if your lease has a 'make good' clause. Talk with your landlord about whether your changes can be permanent or if you need to revert them at the end of your lease; if so remember to budget for this
  5. even the most carefully laid plans can go wrong. If yours do, visit our Retail lease disputes page for three easy steps to resolve your dispute

Submit your application and let the neighbours know

When you submit your application, it is always best to let your new neighbours know what you are doing. You should:

  1. ask your landlord if they will pay for any of your changes. If the changes are enhancing the value of their property they may be interested in sharing costs
  2. talk to your neighbours so you are aware of their concerns. Most people appreciate the opportunity to discuss plans before the formal notice process commences
  3. submit your application to your local council
  4. advertise your change proposal. Your local council will require you to give notice to anyone who might be affected by the proposal. The council will advise you of the best method to notify neighbours, usually by letter to neighbours and a sign on site
  5. receive your Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit from council, signalling council's decision to grant the permit and identifies the conditions to be included on it. The applicant must meet any conditions the council stipulates in your permit approval. For example, a permit to add a cafe to a clothing store might be issued on the condition a certain number of car-parking spaces are provided
  6. let your customers know about any changes to your operating hours, car parking or access during construction