Setting up a gym

If you would like to set up a gym, use this page to find out if your project needs planning approval.


Brisbane City Plan 2014 defines a gym as 'indoor sport and recreation'. Indoor sport and recreation is the use of premises for leisure, sport or recreation conducted wholly or mainly indoors.

Other examples of indoor sport and recreation include a bowling alley, squash courts and enclosed tennis courts.

Indoor sport and recreation is clustered with other uses into a group called 'Centre activities'. Other uses in the Centre activities group include child care centres, offices, food and drink outlets and shops.

Preferred locations

The City Plan encourages gyms to locate in the Centre zones (being the Principal centre zone, Major centre zone, District centre zone and Neighbourhood centre zone). Find where these zones are located by using the Brisbane City Plan 2014 interactive mapping tool.

Planning approval

Not all gyms need planning approval.

Setting up a gym in an existing premises is accepted development where

If your project is accepted development, subject to requirements, you do not need anything in writing from Brisbane City Council to commence the activity, provided you carry out a self-assessment of all identified requirements to make sure you comply with the relevant code.

Ensure you keep a copy of this advice with your business records. If no development application is required, this is proof you have established your business lawfully. If the nature of your business changes over time, (e.g. you change the way you operate), you may need to reconfirm whether a development approval is required.

If you are building new premises, increasing the gross floor area of an existing building, or do not comply with all identified acceptable outcomes, you will need to lodge a planning application.

Building approval

Building approval is separate from planning approval. Licensed private building certifiers or building consultants can provide advice regarding:

  • building work for an existing building or a new building
  • if any building approval is required.

Private building certifiers and building consultants can be found using Queensland Building and Construction Commission's website.

Other approvals to consider

More information

If your proposed gym requires a planning approval, or your premises are located within a neighbourhood plan area or overlay area, contact Council's Business Hotline 133 BNE (133 263) for advice specific to your situation.

For more information read Council's fact sheets:

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