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:

Do I Need Development Approval? 

COVID-19 planning information page

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

Check to see whether you require a building permit. Generally, all works involving alterations and additions, food business fit outs including installation of cool rooms and exhaust hoods 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 & occupancy permits for commercial fit-outs

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 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 a permit authority before a commercial tenancy or building can be occupied. 

An OP relates to the building, and not to the owner or occupier, so a subsequent tenant may do renovation, fit out or minor work that does not involve a change of use or classification without obtaining a new OP. 

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

For example;

  • Tattoo shop changing to a Barber shop would require an OP as a change of use
  • Bakery shop changing to an Office space would require an OP as a change of classification

If unsure, please call the City for further information

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 or details of the OP must be displayed at or near the principal entrance to the building so that it is clearly visible to occupiers and other people using the building. 

For more information on OP's please visit the following webpages:

Occupancy permits

Building & occupancy permits for commercial fit-outs

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