Building works

In many cases, empty spaces projects will be able to be undertaken in existing vacant buildings without the need for alterations to be building. 

Consideration must first be given to ensuring the use is permissible in the zone.  Following this, it is important to ensure the premises meets current safety standards and any necessary approvals are sought.  

Where minor building alterations are required, the provisions in the council's LEP and the Codes SEPP need to be checked to determine if development consent is required.  

Building Works and Exempt Development 

The Codes SEPP specifies building works that can occur without requiring development consent.  This is particularly relevant when considering shop fit outs.   

Clause 2.20B of the Codes SEPP specifies the development standards for change of use premises as exempt development.  Examples of these development standards are as follows: 

  • the new use must not involve building alterations, other than alterations that are exempt development under the SEPP
  • the new use must not result in an increase in the gross floor area of any building within which it is carried out
  • the new use must not cause the breach of any existing condition of a development consent (which includes a CDC) that
  • applies to the premises relating to hours of operation, car parking, vehicular movement, traffic generation, landscaping or waste management
  • development must not change the fire resisting components of, or interfere with the entry to, or exit from, or the fire safety measures contained within, a building.

The following are example building alterations permissible that can be undertaken as exempt development under the SEPP: 

  • painting, plastering, cement rendering, cladding, attaching fittings or decorative work
  • replacement of an external window, glazing areas or a door (other than those on bush fire prone land)
  • repair to or replacement of a non-structural wall or roof cladding 
  • installation of a security screen or grill to a door or window or a security door
  • the replacement or renovation of:

                  - a doorway, wall, ceiling or floor lining
                  - a deteriorated frame member
                  - a bathroom or kitchen
                  - a built in fixture such as a vanity, a cupboard or a wardrobe
                  - an existing sanitary fixture, such as a grease trap or the like
                  - shelving or racking that is not higher than 2.7m 
                  - a work station or counter

Building Works and Complying Development  

The Codes SEPP specifies internal building works that can be carried out as complying development, subject to meeting the development standards satisfying clause 5.2 and 5.3 of the SEPP. 

Examples of these development standards include:

  • the alteration must not result in an increase in the gross floor area of any building within which it is carried out
  • the alteration must not involve the conversion of any area that is excluded from the measurement of gross floor area of the building (such as a basement, plant room, car parking space, loading space or a void)
  • development must not change the fire resisting components of, or interfere with the entry to, or exit from, or the fire safety measures contained within, a building

External building alterations considered as complying development are listed in clauses 5.7 to 5.12 of the SEPP. 

These include:

  • the construction, installation or alteration of a mechanical ventilation system
  • an alteration to, or the repair or replacement of, an existing shop front or awning
  • the construction or installation of a skylight or roof window 

If development is not Exempt or Complying

If development is not exempt or complying under the council LEP or the Codes SEPP, a Development Application (DA) must be lodged to the relevant council for consideration.