Fitness and recreation businesses

Fitness weights.

Fitness and recreation businesses typically fall under the land use definition of Private Recreation, meaning premises that are:

  • used for indoor or outdoor leisure, recreation or sport; and
  • not usually open to the public without charge.

Should you be considering the use of the City’s parks or reserves for group fitness training or other commercial recreational activities, an application must be made and submitted through to the City’s Permits Officer. More information can be found on Street trading and markets.

Approval process

As a guide, the following approvals are typically required if you are intending to open a Private Recreation business:

Step 1 - Identify your Business Site and Zoning

Once you have chosen a business address, please confirm the site's zoning using the City's Online Maps. Zoning can be identified using the Planning and Development Module.

Once a site has been selected, locate 'TPS2 Zoning' in the column on the right-hand side of the screen to identify the zone.

City of Rockingham online mapping

Step 2 - Development Application

There are exemptions under the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 for Private Recreation businesses provided that:

  • it is located within a Commercial, City Centre, Mixed Use or Light Industry zone;
  • no new permanent buildings or structures are proposed;
  • the net lettable area of any indoor area does not exceed 300m2;
  • no more than 60% of the glass surface of any window on the ground floor of the building is obscured glass; and
  • signage complies with the requirements of Planning Policy 3.3.1 - Control of Advertisements, including any changes to existing signage. 

The City must be notified within seven days of the Private Recreation business commencing operation that it is exempt from the need for Development Approval. To request an exemption, please complete the below exemption letter and attach it to your small business enquiry.

Note: Although the proposed Private Recreation business may be exempt from the need to obtain Development Approval, Building and Health Approvals may still be required.

Development Approval will be required for a Private Recreation business that does not meet the exemption requirements.

To apply, please complete the below application form and use our online portal Rock Port, to lodge your application.

Lodge a development application

Step 3 - Building Permit

Standard Building Permit process

In general, any work involving additions and/or alterations will require a building permit. In most cases, proposed partitioning works for shops, office and warehouse fit outs will affect the way the building complies with an applicable Building Standard and will require a Building Permit.

Applications for commercial properties (Class 2 to Class 9 buildings) must be made as an Application for Building Permit - Certified (BA1). The applicant will need to engage in the services of an independent building surveyor to assess the proposal and provide a Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3).

An Application for Building Permit - Certified (BA1) is accompanied by a Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3) and can be made for any class of building and incidental structure. The City has 10 business days to determine a permit for a certified application.

A Building Permit application must be accompanied by:

  • A completed Application for Building Permit - Certified (BA1);
  • A completed Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3); 
  • Copies of all relevant plans and specifications; and
  • Payment of required fees.

You can use our online portal, Rock Port, to lodge your application. First time users will need to create a new account for the online lodgement of a building application. Existing users can log in with their existing Rock Port account. Alternatively, you can submit your application in person at our Administration Office located on Civic Boulevard, Rockingham.

Submit a building application

Where a simple fit-out is proposed, with cosmetic renovations such as painting and decorating, and only moveable furniture is being installed, a Building Permit will generally not be required.

New or changes to existing signage on the facade of a building or installations over glazing will require a Building Permit.

Visit the Building Commission website to access all building permit application forms.

Building Commission website

Step 4 - Health Approval

Buildings or places in buildings in which the public may gather for recreational or sporting purposes such as gymnasiums, dance studios, health studios and the like, requires registration with Health Services as a public building.

To make an application the City requires:

  • a completed Application to Construct,Extend or Alter Public Building
  • a floor plan showing
    • size dimensions/floor area of each room used as public space;
    • permanent fixtures/fittings (chairs, tables, stages, etc.);
    • location and quantity of toilet/s; and
    • location and widths of designated emergency exits.
    • information in regards to the ventilation of the building.
Step 5 - Occupancy Permit and Health Inspection
  • An Occupancy Permit must be obtained from the City before any commercial building can be occupied.

    It covers circumstances such as:

    • occupying a completed new building or a new part of an existing building;
    • occupying an incomplete building or part of a building on a temporary basis;
    • modifying the current occupancy permit for additional use of a building on a temporary basis;
    • occupying a building or part of a building that has undergone a permanent change of use or classification;
    • authorising and occupying an unauthorised building or an unauthorised part of a building; and
    • authorising a building with existing approval with a new or replacement occupancy permit. This demonstrates that an existing building complies with the relevant building standards and is safe to occupy.

    An Occupancy Permit application must be accompanied by:

    • a Certificate of Construction Compliance (BA17) for new buildings including new additions to existing buildings or a Certificate of Building Compliance (BA18) for existing buildings, signed by an independent building surveyor.

    Occupancy Permit applications can be emailed to or lodged in person at our Administration Office located at Civic Boulevard, Rockingham.

    Visit the Building Commission website to access all building permit application forms you need to submit to us.

    We are happy to discuss your project before you commence the process so you are clear on what you need to do. Please lodge a small business enquiry to request a meeting.

    Building Commission website

  • Once the building construction is complete the following forms are required to be submitted and an inspection of the facility is undertaken.

    On successful completion of a facility inspection, the Maximum Accommodation Certificate/s will be issued and operations can commence.

    Routine inspections of public buildings are undertaken by Health Services to ensure these buildings are being maintained to suitable standards. Operators of public buildings may self-check they are operating as required by ensuring:

    • the number of persons at any one time never exceeds the Maximum Accommodation Certificate;
    • any emergency lighting and exit signage is operational and routinely checked/serviced;
    • all exit doors are unobstructed and can be easily operated;
    • all fire control devices are serviced in accordance with AS 1851;
    • all toilet facilities are clean and in a good state of repair;
    • no items such as power cords/cables pose a trip hazard; and
    • air handling systems are adequately maintained and serviced.
Step 6 - Open your Business

As a new and developing business there is a number of useful resources and information available intended to provide additional support and guidance.

Small Business Development Corporation

The Small Business Development Corporation is an independent statutory authority with its mission to deliver and facilitate relevant, practical support to small businesses and to foster the development of policy conducive to the growth of the small business sector. The Small Business Development Corporation is working towards creating a strong and enterprising small business sector in Western Australia.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA is a member-driven organisation providing quality information, professional services and support for businesses. Its mission is to make it easier to do business in the state and ensure that WA is a place where businesses of all shapes and sizes can succeed.

Australian Government is an online Australian Government resource which provides a wide range of business information and assistance with regard to starting a business, running a business or exiting a business. This site also offers grants and assistance for business owners at all stages of their business timeline.

Australian Business License and Information Service

The Australian Business License and Information Service helps business operators and people considering starting a business to identify the types of licenses, permits, approvals, regulations and codes of practice required or in place for the relevant state, territory, local and Australian government.


Submit an enquiry

If you still have any queries or questions on your small business proposal, or you have a proposal plan that you would like to discuss further, please submit your enquiry or indicative proposal to us.

Submit an enquiry or indicative proposal

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