Find out about a home business, home occupation and industry cottage, including when planning approval, a building permit and health approval are required.

Please note: If your proposed home business is food-related, please refer to Home Food Business.

Home business categories and criteria 

The Shire may allow low-impact occupations or businesses to be conducted from a residential property. However, the type of business must satisfy certain criteria to ensure that there is no disturbance or nuisance created that is inconsistent with the character of the area. 

Activities which may be permitted in a residential area generally fall into the following four land use categories defined in Local Planning Scheme No.1.

A ‘Home Office’ is defined as a home occupation limited to a business carried out solely within a dwelling by a resident of the dwelling.
 

A home office does not:

  • Entail clients or customers travelling to and from the dwelling
  • Involve any advertising signs on the premises
  • Require any external change to the appearance of the dwelling.

 

The home office use is interpreted as entailing office/administrative activities only. Any other use will be considered a home occupation, home business or cottage industry.

A ‘Home Occupation’ is defined as an occupation carried out in a dwelling or on land around a dwelling, by a resident of the dwelling.
 

A home occupation does not:

  • Employ any person not a member of the occupier’s household
  • Cause injury to or adversely affect the amenity of the neighbourhood
  • Occupy an area greater than 20m²
  • Display a sign exceeding 0.2m² in area
  • Entail the retail sale, display or hire of goods of any nature
  • Require a greater number of parking facilities than normally required for a single dwelling or an increase in traffic volumes in the neighbourhood
  • Involve the presence, use or calling of a vehicle more than 2 tonnes tare weight
  • Include the provision for the fuelling, repair or maintenance of motor vehicles
  • Involve the use of essential services of greater capacity than normally required in the zone.

A ‘Home Business’ is defined as a business, service or profession carried out in a dwelling or on land around a dwelling by an occupier of the dwelling.
 

A home business does not:

  • Employ more than 2 people not members of the occupier’s household
  • Cause injury to or adversely affect the amenity of the neighbourhood
  • Occupy an area greater than 50m²
  • Involve the retail sale, display or hire of goods of any nature
  • Result in traffic difficulties as a result of the inadequacy of parking or an increase in traffic volumes in the neighbourhood
  • Involve the presence, use or calling of a vehicle more than 3.5 tonnes tare weight
  • Involve the use of an essential service of greater capacity than normally required in the zone
  • Display a sign exceeding 0.2m² in area.

‘Industry Cottage’ means premises (other than premises used for a home occupation), that are used by the occupier of the premises for the purpose of carrying out a trade or light industry, producing arts and crafts goods.
 

The Industry Cottage use may be carried out from an outbuilding that blends with the character of the area and does not detract from the area.
 

An industry cottage does not:

  • Cause injury to or adversely affect the amenity of the neighbourhood
  • Employ any person other than a member of the occupier’s household
  • Occupy an area greater than 50m²
  • Involve the display on the premises of a sign with an area exceeding 0.2m².

Approvals and permits required

Planning approval: A ‘home office’ is exempt from planning approval if it is to take place within an existing, approved residence. 
 

Building permit: May be required if you are making structural changes to a property.

Planning approval: A ‘home occupation’ is exempt from planning approval in all zones. Planning approval is required for a ‘home business’.
 

Building permit: May be required if you are making structural changes to a property.
 

Health approval: May be required, depending on the type of business proposed. For example, a business that involves hairdressing, beauty or skin penetration.

Planning approval: Is required, as it is listed as a discretionary land use in the majority of the zones in which it can be considered. Depending on the scale, noise, dust, fumes etc, work that could potentially disturb neighbouring properties may not be permitted, as such uses would be considered more appropriate in an industrial area.
 

Building permit: May be required if you are making structural changes to a property.
 

Health approval: May be required, depending on the type of business proposed. For example, a business that produces a lot of dust, noise or fumes. 

More information and how to apply

Important note: The first step is to contact the Shire’s Planning Team to discuss your proposal. The Planning Team may then direct you to the Building Team and Environmental Health Team as required. This is especially important as applications that do not comply with the relevant standards or contain insufficient information may be refused or take longer to process. Contact the Planning Team on (08) 9780 5220 or email [email protected]  

The following pages provide detailed information on how to:

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