Operating a home business | Brisbane City Council

Operating a home business

""Operating a business from your home offers a flexible, convenient and affordable option. If you would like to set up a home business, you can use the following information to find out how Brisbane City Plan 2014 applies and whether you need to lodge a planning application.


The City Plan defines a home-based business as a dwelling used for a business activity where subordinate to the residential use.

A home-based business can operate from a townhouse, apartment or house where the business is secondary to the residence.

Examples of a home-based business:

  • home office
  • bed and breakfast
  • home-based childcare.

Examples of a business that does not qualify as home-based:

  • businesses that may disrupt your neighbours
  • mechanic
  • shop
  • transport depot
  • cafe
  • industry.

Employees of an off-site business or organisation who work from home and communicate with their employers electronically (telecommuters) are not classified as home-based businesses.

Preferred locations

The City Plan encourages home-based businesses to locate in:

You can use the online self-assessable checklist to see if your proposal meets the accepted development criteria in the Home based business code. If your proposed home business meets the accepted development requirements, you will not need anything in writing from Brisbane City Council to commence the activity.

Planning approval

Not all home-based businesses need Council approval.

A PD Online property enquiry can help you determine if the proposal requires Council approval. You can also phone 07 3403 8888 to speak to a town planner. 

If the nature of your business changes over time, for example you change the way you operate such as employing non-resident employees, you may need to reconfirm whether a development approval is required or not as a result of these changes.

Running more than one business from your home

The City Plan does not limit the number of businesses that can operate from a dwelling, however the combined impact and extent of all the business activities on site must comply with the Home based business code. For example, the maximum floor area of 50m² or 30% of the total floor area (whichever is less) specified in the code applies to the total floor area for all businesses within the home.

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 home-based business or a new home-based business
  • 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 considerations

More information

If your proposed home-based business 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.

If you wish to find out more Council's fact sheet Home-based business can provide additional information.

21 September 2018