The best starting point: speak to your local council

Contact your local council's building or planning department to check what types of 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.

Visit Know Your Council to source your council's 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 Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) provides information about the steps involved in applying for a planning permit.

What you can do early on

Before you sign your lease or buy your property, it's a good idea to: