Use of warehouses and factories

There are many vacant factories and warehouses in Merri-bek. These are attractive venues for events, parties and other activities. However, a factory or warehouse may not have the safety features required to undertake these kinds of activities.

Anyone thinking of using a warehouse or factory for activities other than its original purpose must first comply with a number of legislative requirements to ensure public health and safety.

Building Act and regulations

Any person must not change the use of a building without the required building occupancy permit.

Additionally, plans to use a warehouse as a ‘place of assembly’ – such as a music or dance venue - whether temporary or permanently, requires an occupancy permit together with a change of use permit.

An occupancy permit may be obtained through a registered building surveyor. A building permit will also be required where building work is needed to satisfy the legislation requirements for the new use.

For more information on building requirements in Merri-bek, see building permits or contact Council.

Planning requirements

Warehouses and factories are located in industrial zones, which affects the use of the buildings. If the building is being used for anything other than its initial permitted use, it will contravene the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and Merri-bek’s Planning Scheme provisions.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to arrange a pre-application meeting with Council planners to discuss their proposal.

Failure to obtain a planning permit and continuing to operate illegally may result in a fine or actions through VCAT or the Magistrates Court.

Food Act

If food is being sold or consumed on the premises, certifications outlined in the Food Act 1984 are required. Serving of food without registration as a food business can result in fines and prosecution.

If you’re selling alcohol

Supply of liquor, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, requires a liquor licence from the Department of Justice.

The licences, which are regulated by the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, outline requirements for the safe and responsible serving of alcohol.

You must have the correct building and planning permits in place prior to applying for a liquor license. Council can object to the issuing of a liquor licence if the required permits are not in place.

Noise standards

Businesses are also required to comply with the EPA noise standard SEPP N2. Noise contains further details.