Do I need town planning approval for my new practice?

Town Planning

One of the first steps in starting a new practice is finding a suitable site. Even if you hit the jackpot and find a property that’s the right size, at the right price and in a perfect location, there are other considerations to take into account. Before you sign that lease or purchase the property, it’s imperative to check whether town planning approval is required by your local Council. A failure to undertake due diligence in regard to town planning may become an expensive mistake and prevent you from opening your practice.

When is Council approval required?

Council approval may be required in a number of different circumstances, including:

  • When the property is not approved for use as a dental, medical or veterinary practice;
  • If construction works will increase the existing floor area, either through a new fitout or the addition of new buildings;
  • Because the existing town planning overlays (including heritage, design and development, flood, bushfire etc.) require Council approval for your proposed practice;
  • To satisfy Council’s car parking requirements for your staff and patients; or
  • You require changes to the external façade or the installation of new signage.

Even if your chosen premises is currently being used as a dental, medical or veterinary practice, your proposed fitout may still require approval from Council.

Understanding town planning terminology

Depending on your location, the exact approval required for your practice differs from state to state.

In Queensland, Council approval is granted in the form of a Development Approval, also known as a DA.

In Victoria, approval is provided by way of a Planning Permit.

In NSW, approvals are dealt with a little differently. Planning and building approvals are combined into a process called Complying Development. This process is advantageous because it is streamlined and cost effective, however, the requirements are strict, and all have to be met for the issue of a Complying Development Certificate. If not all the requirements can be met, then a Development Approval (DA) is required from Council.

How do I know if I need town planning approval for my practice?

Deciphering town planning requirements can be quite a daunting and complex task for a new practice owner. Before committing to a property lease or purchase, we strongly recommend that you engage professional advice to ensure there are no surprises down the track.

As part of our service commitment to our clients, Elite Fitout offers a complimentary preliminary review of the town planning scheme applicable to your chosen property. Our town planner will undertake detailed research to determine whether your proposed practice is permitted under the town planning scheme, and if Council approval is required.

If approval is required, you can then engage the town planner to develop all required documentation and liaise with the Council on your behalf to obtain the necessary approval.

Overcoming town planning challenges

Understanding the town planning requirements of your site early in your practice journey means that you are more likely to achieve the desired outcome. This certainly was the case when Elite worked with Esk Dental on the construction of their new dental practice.

Town planning for your clinic

Stringent Council approvals were required to ensure the building fit in with the heritage character of the local streetscape. Elite worked with the owner of Esk Dental to apply for the approvals, as well as ensuring the design of the new practice met the required Council and building regulations.

Need some help?

The Elite fitout team have extensive experience in the entire process involved in starting a new practice, from town planning and design right through to the fitout itself.

Call us today on 1300 765 344 to discuss your new practice.

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