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Can You Apply for Exemption as a ‘Temporary Use’?

If you’re only using a building for a short period of time – say, doing a one off gallery opening in an old factory as part of an Arts festival – you can sometimes apply for, or the council will offer, concessions as ‘Temporary Use’.

In very rare cases councils have been known to grant ‘temporary use’ exemption for buildings awaiting redevelopment. This is extremely fortunate. If you can get your council to do this, it might help your life out quite a bit.

In most states in Australia there’s a set of exemptions around the Temporary Use of buildings in state planning law. In most states this category is ambiguous and thus varies wildly from Council to Council. In Adelaide, the City Council allows a number of spaces to be temporarily turned into theatre and arts venues through a ‘Temporary Change of Use’ process. So a hair dressing salon or shop front can be used as a theatre for six weeks, and then it goes back to being a hair dresser.

Depending on how your Council interprets ‘temporary’ – which could mean anything from a day to a year – this might work for some Renew style projects, in that it allows you to set up a space quickly with limited fuss by meeting an acceptable standard of safety, rather than full compliance.

Again, this varies from state to state and is usually entirely open to the local council’s interpretation. It’s basically designed to give councils some wiggle room if they want to see an old factory used for an event or something. If you’re on good terms with your local council’s building compliance and planning officers, it might be worth discussing whether this is an option they’re willing to pursue.