Running a business from home doesn’t need development approval or building approval if it complies with rules set out in regulations.

NOTE: To find out about licenses or registration that may be required to operate certain types of business in the ACT, please visit the Access Canberra website.

Exemption from development approval

Development approval is not required for a home business conducted from a residential lease if it complies with rules set out in Schedule 1, Part 1.3, Division 1.3.7, Section 1.108 of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.


In summary, a home business does not need development approval if:

  • No more than 2 people work on the premises at any time
  • Anyone who works on the premises genuinely lives there
  • The area used for the business (including storage) is not more than 40m2
  • Any vehicles parked at the premises for the purposes of the business are parked in a driveway, garage, carport or location screened from the road
  • Averaged over a period of 7 days, the conduct of the business does not generate more than 5 vehicle arrivals each day
  • You must also consider the general exemption criteria that may apply.

A home business that doesn’t comply with the exemption criteria will require a development application (DA). Your application must address the relevant criteria of the Territory Plan.

Development approval for a home business is for a term of up to five years.

Although running a business from home may be exempt from requiring development approval, any associated development such as new building work, site works, or signage may still require development approval.

If you are still unsure whether your development is exempt you should check the regulation or call the Environment and Planning Directorate on: (02) 6207 1923.

Exemption from building approval

While your home business may be exempt from requiring development approval, any new buildings or structures (including additions and alterations) may need building approval.

General rules for exempt building work

The proposed structure should not adversely affect:

  • the structural integrity of any part of a building
  • a fire-rated wall, ceiling or floor
  • a fire escape, emergency lift, stairway, exit or exit passageway
  • the natural light, the ventilation or fire protection system
  • the proposed structure should not affect the building in a way that reduces its compliance with the Building Code to below minimum requirements
  • erection of the structure should not involve handling asbestos or disturbing friable asbestos.

building certifier can ensure plans and work are completed in accordance with the law.

Click here to return to the list of exempt development