business approvals - step by step process

Below is a guide to the approval process at the City of Vincent.

Step 1 - Planning approval

Planning approval may be required for the type of business you wish to operate, such as retail, food or beauty therapy. Depending on the nature of your business, you may require a change of use if you are changing the type of business that is currently on the site (for example if you are wishing to change from a hair salon to a restaurant/café).

There are a number of exemptions available which remove the need to obtain planning approval. More information on these exemptions can be found here:

Planning Exemptions

Do I Need Planning Approval? 

Planning approval may also be required for any external works proposed to the tenancy, including advertising signage (depending on the size, content and location).

To determine whether you require a planning approval to operate your business it is recommended you discuss with the City’s Duty Planner on 9273 6000 or email

Once planning approval is obtained, this may be subject to conditions which need to be fulfilled. Download the below fact sheet for more information:

How to satisfy your development approval

As conditions can be applied depending on the specific nature and operation of the business, it is recommended you contact the City to discuss what is required to satisfy these.

It is important to note that even if you do not require planning approval, you may still require building and/or health approval from the City.

Step 2 - Building permit

There is a common misconception that if the proposed fit-out work is non-structural in nature or is less than $20,000, a building permit is not needed. That is incorrect.

In most cases, works involving alterations and additions to an existing building will require a building permit as the proposed fit-out work could affect the way the building complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and applicable Australian Standards.

For example, including but not limited to:

  • Partitions could affect occupant egress to an exit when evacuating the building during a fire emergency.
  • Existing facilities within the building may need to be upgraded to comply with disabled access requirements.
  • The fit-out work could result in the relocation of or changes to existing services i.e. sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, emergency lighting, exit signs, etc.
  • Food business exhaust hoods and mechanical ventilation systems, if installed incorrectly or are inadequate, could cause odour and smoke nuisance to adjoining properties.

For more information on the building permit process, please visit the following web pages:

If you have any questions, please contact the Building Services team on (08) 9273 6000 or email

Step 3 - Health approval

Depending on the type of business, you may require certain types of health approval. Follow the links below for more information relevant to your business.

A health application can be made at the same as with a building permit application, or separately if no building permit is required.

If you have any questions, please speak to an Environmental Health Officer on 9273 6000 or email

Food businesses

Public buildings (e.g. pubs, bars, function premises etc)

Skin penetration procedure, beauty therapy, hairdressing and body art

Lodging houses

Step 4 - Occupancy Permit & Health Inspection

Occupancy Permit

An Occupancy Permit (OP) must be obtained from the City before a commercial tenancy or building can be occupied or used.

An OP relates to the building, and not to the owner or occupier. A subsequent tenant may not need to obtain a new OP if there is no change of use or building classification.

Note: A change of use for the purpose of an OP is vastly different to a planning scheme change of use and is subject to different criteria.

Examples of when an OP is required:

Current Use Proposed Use Is OP Required?
Warehouse Art Gallery Yes. It is a change of building classification and change of use
Tattoo parlour Barber Shop Could apply for an OP. It is a change of use only.
Office Restaurant Yes. It is a change of building classification and change of use

If you are unsure, please contact the Building Services team on (08) 9273 6000 or email

In some instances, the building owner may obtain an OP for the public or common use parts of the building and leave it to each tenant to obtain an occupancy permit for each tenancy. 

A copy of the OP must be displayed at or near the principal (main) entrance to the premises so that it is clearly visible to occupants and other people using the building. A fine of $10,000 may be imposed for a failure to do so.

For more information on Occupancy Permits, please visit the following web pages:

If you have questions, please contact the Building Services team on (08) 9273 6000 or email

Building inspection

When an Occupancy Permit application is received, a Building Surveyor from the City will organise a time to come out to the property to conduct a final inspection as part of the approval process. 

Health inspection

Any premises which requires health assessment or health approval will require and Environmental Health Officer to come out to the property and complete a final inspection. This will ensure the premises complies with the relevant health laws, before you can open. If all requirements are met, then a certificate or letter will be issued.

Step 5 - Open My Business

You may wish to refer to the business support materials on the following page:

External business support tools and materials