Renovating or changing a food business

If you plan to renovate or refurbish an existing fixed premises or mobile food vehicle, you may need to apply for Suitability of Premises approval with Council. This particularly applies if you are:

  • expanding the floor area, storage areas or preparation areas of the kitchen; or
  • making structural changes or additions to any fixtures, fittings or equipment in the food premises.

Examples where a suitability of premises application would be required include:

  • a restaurant wants to significantly expand the kitchen area into an adjoining shop to provide more storage room. The expanded area, as it was not previously approved, will require Suitability of Premises assessment.
  • a cafe that is permitted to make sandwiches and salads wants to start making burgers and hot chips. This new activity will require new cooking equipment and a mechanical exhaust canopy.  As these structural additions were not included in the original permit, Suitability of Premises assessment will be required.

How to apply: renovated/changed premises

Step 1: Apply for Suitability of premises approval

The design, construction and fit-out of your premises must comply with the Food Safety Standard 3.2.3.

Prepare plans and apply

The Fixed Food Business Operation and Construction Guidelines ( PDF, 1.6 MB ) will help you make decisions on the design of your food premises and the construction materials you intend to use. Queensland Health’s Design and fit out guide will assist in correct construction and fit out.

In order to assess your suitability of premises application, two copies of your design plans (drawn to scale not less than 1:50) must be provided with your application. These design plans must include:

  • floor plans including waste disposal facilities and location of equipment;
  • elevations of each food preparation room/area; and
  • details of mechanical exhaust ventilation (exhaust systems must comply with AS1668.2). You must also include specifications of all equipment being serviced by the mechanical exhaust ventilation.
Complete the Suitability of Premises application form ( PDF, 0.06 MB ) together with your plans, pay the relevant fee ( PDF, 0.03 MB ) and return to Council.

After you have submitted your Suitability of Premises application to Council with the fee, an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) will assess it for compliance with the Food Act 2006.

Timeframes for assessment may vary, but in general allow up to 30 days for a full assessment. Further time will be required if the application does not include all the necessary information.


Upon approval, you will receive a conditional approval letter for the construction of your food premises. Once you receive your approval, and any other necessary permits (eg building approval), you may begin constructing/fitting out your premises as per the approved plans.

Step 2: Request final inspection

Once you have completed your approved renovations or changes, and before you start trading, you need to contact Council to arrange a final inspection of the premises to ensure its suitability.

Before requesting your final inspection, and to avoid unnecessary delays, use the Food Business Final Inspection Checklist to confirm that essential works have been completed.

At your final inspection, Council’s EHO will check your premises to ensure it has been fitted out in accordance with the conditions of your approval.

Step 3: Renewals

Council will send you an annual renewal invoice for your Food Business Licence. Pay on time to ensure you can continue to operate.

Be ready for inspections. Council’s EHOs can conduct compliance audits and inspections during your operating hours.

Remember to advise Council of any changes to your contact details to ensure you continue to receive your renewals and other relevant communication from Council.

Last updated: 16 June 2020