Business approvals - Consulting rooms

Consulting rooms include a range of premises used by a maximum of 2 practitioners for the treatment of injuries and general care. Examples include doctors, dentists, physiotherapist, chiropractor, optometrist and podiatrists, acupuncture, aromatherapy, naturopathy and remedial massage.

As a guide the following approvals are typically required if you are intending to open consulting rooms.

Step 1 - Planning

Planning approval is usually required for operating new consulting rooms.

The City has also prepared an information sheet of the change of use process for consulting rooms which can be downloaded below:

Change of use process - Consulting rooms

If you have any questions, please speak to a Planning Officer on 9273 6000 or email

Step 2 - Building

Check to see whether you require a building permit. Generally, all works involving alterations and additions will require a building permit.  Where a simple fit out is proposed, and only movable furniture is being replaced or painting and decorating is being carried out, a building permit will generally not be required. 

In most cases, proposed partitioning works for shop, office and warehouse fit outs will affect the way the building complies with an applicable Building Standard and will require a building permit. 

For example, including but not limited to: 

  • Fit out changes that affect the existing path of travel to a required exit will affect the way the building complies with the egress provisions of the Building Code. 
  • Changes to access requirements (accessible paths of travel, corridor widths, door widths and doorways etc.) 
  • Internal and/or external alterations resulting in the relocation of, changes to, existing services (sprinkler systems, fire hydrant coverage, smoke detection and alarm systems, emergency lighting and exit signs, mechanical ventilation systems etc.)

For information on the building permit process please visit the following webpages:

Building Services information

Building application forms

If you have any questions, please speak to a Building Surveyor on 9273 6000 or email

Step 3 - Health

Most consulting rooms will not need health assessment or approval. However if you are providing acupuncture or any other skin penetration procedure (see definition below) then notification and health assessment is required under the Health (Skin Penetration Procedure) Regulations 1998 and its Code of Practice.

A skin penetration procedure means a procedure in which the skin is cut, punctured, torn or shaved; or a mucous membrane is cut, punctured or torn. Apart from acupuncture, this definition also includes a variety of body treatments such as tattooing, body piercing and modifications; and beauty therapy treatments such as waxing, threading and shaving.

The law doesn’t apply to medical practitioners, dentists, a person under the supervision of a medical practitioner, podiatrists, nurses, any other person registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (external site).

For more information on the City’s assessment process, requirements and to download the skin penetration procedure notification form please click the following link:

Skin penetration procedure, beauty therapy, hairdressers and body art

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

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