Setting up a gym | Brisbane City Council

Setting up a gym

If you would like to set up a gym, you can use the following information 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 a child care centre, office, food and drink outlet and shop.

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). You can find where these zones are located in Brisbane 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 within a Centre zone, with no increase in gross floor area and complying with all identified acceptable outcomes of the Centre or mixed use zone code would be accepted development. 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.

Please ensure you keep a copy of this advice with your business records. If no development application is required, this is your proof that you have established your business lawfully. If the nature of your business changes over time, for example, you change the way you operate, you may need to reconfirm whether a development approval is required or not as a result of these changes.

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 the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's Find a Local Contractor search.

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.

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

03 July 2017