#1 problem converting a house into a clinic: Will you need a town planning permit?
We often get asked “what is involved in converting a house to a clinic?” Whether the conversion is to GP, physio or chiropractor, the #1 problem with converting a house to a clinic is whether you need a town planning permit; this is your first consideration.
Firstly, there are town planning exemptions. You don’t need a planning permit if the space is under 200sqm. If it is in a road zone, it is in a permissible location therefore you don’t need one. Can you achieve disability access and disability accessible toilets within that site? How wide is the driveway? If it is less than 3 meters you need to increase the width. If you want any signage larger than 300mm X 300mm on your building, you will need a town planning permit. Alternatively, you can apply separately for a signage permit.
If all these conditions are met, then you’re able to proceed straight to a building permit.
If you do need to apply for a town planning permit, there are a number of considerations.
- The space must be greater than 200 sqm of floor area.
- It must not conflict with a less sensitive use area. You can’t put a GP or a physio in close proximity to undesirable industries, for example a massage or tattoo parlour, heavy industries, panel beaters etc. You may not be able to secure town planning if this is the case
- Car park to practitioner ratios. There are minimum levels of car parks required for each practitioner. A GP could possibly see 3 to 5 clients in an hour, the frequency of car parks needed could vary.
- Practitioner to toilet ratios.
- Signage larger than the standard business identification of 300mm x 300mm.
These are just some of the things you need to think about when you are converting a house to a clinic.