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Land Use and Change of Use

If you plan on changing the use of any building from one use, e.g. a shop, to another e.g. a restaurant, you may need planning/development, building or environmental health approval. Find out more below.

State Government Planning Exemptions During COVID-19 State of Emergency

The State Government has issued a Notice of Exemption covering a range of temporary exemptions for certain planning approvals and requirements.

See Planning Exemptions

Zoning and Land Use 

All land in our City is zoned. These zones set out what particular uses are permitted and which uses are prohibited. All new commercial development requires planning/development approval. This initial approval is for both the use of the land and the associated buildings. A change from one use to another is sometimes permitted without further approvals however some changes do require approval. The information below is designed to assist you to understand what approvals are required.

To check the particular zoning for a piece of land, use our online maps. From here, you can check the particular uses permitted for that zone by referring to the symbols in the Zoning Table in our Local Planning Scheme No. 6.

Symbol meanings:

  • P: use permitted if it complies with the relevant development standards and/or requirements of our Local Planning Scheme No.6
  • I: use permitted if it is consequent on, or naturally attaching, appertaining or relating to the predominant land use and it complies with an development standards and/or requirements of our Local Planning Scheme No. 6
  • D: use is not permitted unless Council grants approval
  • A: use is not permitted unless Council grants approval following community consultation
  • X: use is not permitted

Change of Use

If the proposed use is listed as a ‘P’ that use is permitted and planning/development approval is not required.

If the proposed use is listed as a ‘D’ use and meets the relevant conditions in the 'D' Permissibility Table (PDF) then planning/development approval is not required. For all other D or A uses planning/development approval is required. These exemption only apply where no physical changes to the building are proposed as a part of the change of use, or where these physical changes themselves are exempt from approval. While a use may be exempt from the need for development/planning approval, other approvals may be required under the relevant building or health legislation.

If the use is listed as X, you will not be able to get approval unless the land is currently being used for a non-conforming use, and the use you are suggesting is less detrimental to the community amenity or closer to the intended purpose for the zone.

Please note, you will be required to comply with all the existing development and planning conditions of approval already in place for the site, e.g. parking requirements. You may also need planning/development approval for any signage or for specific home offices or home businesses.

For a list of development standards and/or requirements, refer to the ‘Additional Site and Development Requirements’ table in our Local Planning Scheme No. 6.

Documentation You Will Need for a Planning/Development Application

  • Completed Planning Application Form
  • Certificate of title
  • Site plan
  • Floor plans
  • Signage details
  • Traffic impact statement
  • Cover letter
  • Written justification

Download our information sheet for specific requirements for the above documentation.

Building and Environmental Health Approvals for Change of Use

Although you may not need planning/development approval for a change of use, you may still require other approvals, for example:

  • Environmental health approval if you plan on starting a food, beauty or hairdressing business
  • Building approval and a building permit for any internal fit-outs, change of building classification, construction or demolition work

If the change of use changes the classification of the building, you may need to do building work to meet the relevant building standards and the National Construction Code. This will require you to apply for a certified building permit.

A building permit is required for:

  • Structural works;
  • Changes to the internal layout which alters the requirements of the National Construction Code
  • Changes to the fire safety features of the building e.g. exit signs, fire sprinklers etc.

You will also need to apply for an occupancy permit following the works, or if the change of use changes the classification of the building, or if you make changes to the fire safety features of the building.

Application for Occupancy Permit - New Buildings

Application for Occupancy Permit - Existing Buildings

Documentation You Will Need for a Building Permit Application

  • Completed BA1 – Application for Building Permit (Certified)
  • Completed BA3 – Certificate of Design Compliance that is signed by a registered building surveyor
  • Certificate of Title and a Diagram of Survey. Both these documents are available from Landgate
  • The DA number from any planning/development approvals (if required) and/or environmental health approval if you are installing a sewage effluent system
  • 1 x set of architectural plans and details; including a site plan, floor plan, elevations and cross-section views.
  • 1 x complete set of specifications describing materials and method of construction.
  • 1 x set of structural engineer’s plans and details which are designed, certified/signed by a practicing structural engineer.

Lodging a Planning/Development or Building Application for a Change of Use

You can lodge and track most building and planning/development applications online, however some applications must be submitted in-person at our Civic Centre.

Lodge and Track a Building and Planning Application

Planning/Development Approvals


We aim to process applications within the following guidelines:

  • Where we don’t need to consult with neighbours or external agencies: 60 days.
  • Where we need to consult with neighbours or external agencies: 90 days.

These timelines may sometimes be extended in consultation with the applicant.

Fees and Charges

The planning/development application for a change of use is $295 unless it is for a retrospective approval, when the fee is three times the standard by way of penalty.

Building Permit Applications

Fees and Charges

The building permit fee for certified construction works with a contract value less than $20,000 is $166.65. If the value of the contract is more than $20,000, the building permit fees will be calculated at the following percentages of the total contract price:

  • Application Fee – 0.19% 
  • Building Service Levy  - 0.137%

See all our building permit fees in our Building Permit Fee Schedule, or use our online fee calculator to estimate your building fees.


We process all BA1 – Application for Building Permit (certified) within 10 working days.

If we need further information to assess your application, you will have up to 21 calendar days to provide any outstanding information. We then have the balance of the remaining 10 working days in which to provide a determination.

If the information is not received within the 21 days, we may refuse your application.

Planning/Development and Building Advice for a Change of Use Application

All advice on this page is of general nature only. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your change of use application so we can advise whether planning/development or building approval is needed. A planning officer and a building officer are available during business hours to provide advice in person, over the phone, or by email. Depending on the complexity of the advice being sought we may ask you to lodge a request for written planning advice and a $73 fee will apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out the zoning of a particular piece of land?

To check the particular zoning for a land area, use our online maps.

How do I know what uses are permitted for that land?

You can check the particular uses permitted for a zone by referring to the symbols in the Zoning Table in our Local Planning Scheme No. 6.

What if my particular use is not listed?

If your particular use is not listed, it may be an unlisted use and you may need development approval. Please contact us to discuss.

Why do I need planning approval if a particular use is already approved for that land?

The reason you need planning/development approval is that the use permitted is for the land in general, but it does not mean that particular site or property is approved for that use.

My change of use was rejected. Do I have any appeal rights?

If planning approval for your change of use was rejected, you can lodge an appeal with the State Administrative Tribunal.

If your building permit was refused and you are dissatisfied with this decision, you may apply to the State Administrative Tribunal for a review under s119 of the Building Act 2011.

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