Operating a child care centre | Brisbane City Council

Operating a child care centre

""If you would like to set up a child care centre, you can use the following information to find out if your project needs planning approval.


Brisbane City Plan 2014 defines a Child care centre as a use of premises for the minding, education and care of children. e.g. crèche, early childhood centre, kindergarten and outside-hours school care. The definition does not include the residential care for children.

The City Plan includes child care centres in the group of uses called Centre activities.

Educational establishments, home-based child care and family day care are not examples of a child care centre. A home-based child care is defined as a Home based business. If you want to operate a day care from your home, you should confirm that your business complies with the requirements of the Home based business code in the City Plan.

Preferred locations

The City Plan encourages child care centres to set up in the Community facilities zones or Centre zones (being the Principal centre zone, Major centre zone, District centre zone or Neighbourhood centre zone).

Child care centres in other locations should not be located on local roads. In addition, in newly developing or outer suburban areas, they should be adjacent to community focal points (such as shopping centres), community facilities (such as public transport interchanges, libraries and churches), parkland, schools or sporting grounds. In built up inner or middle suburban areas, suitable locations may include close to other community facilities or within educational establishments.

Building a new child care centre or extending an existing centre

To build a new or extend an existing child care centre, you will first need to find out the key facts about the property. These will include details of which zone the site is in, if it is located in a neighbourhood plan area or if there are any overlays located on the property.

Development for a child care centre may require planning approval, depending on its location and how the proposed development complies with the requirements in the City Plan.

Home based child care

If you would like to set up a home based child care business, you should check that your business will comply with the accepted development, subject to requirements of the City Plan Home based business code. If your business does not meet these identified requirements a development application will be required.

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 child care centre or a new centre
  • if any building approval is required.

Private building certifiers and building consultants can be found using the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's Find a Local Contractor search.

Other approvals to consider

In addition to the requirements of the City Plan, child care centres must comply with relevant Queensland Government legislation, including the Child Care Act 2002 and the Child Care Regulation 2003.

More information

If you wish to find out more, Brisbane City Council's fact sheets Making it easier to do business in Brisbane and Centre, mixed use and specialised centre zone can provide additional information.

If you want to build a new child care centre or carry out building work to an existing centre, contact Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) for advice specific to your property and situation.

03 July 2017