Home based food business

Home-based food business – planning legislation

The manufacture/making of food must comply with national food safety standards and local council development controls.

Under current planning controls, ‘home business’ is permissible with consent in the residential zones (R2, R3, R4, R5, E3 and E4).

Check the zoning of your property.

Development consent either from a development application (DA) or a complying development (CDC) application is required for a home business that involves the manufacture of food products.

For apartments in a residential flat building or townhouse development, please check the property’s strata by-laws. You will require strata consent when applying for DA or a CDC application for your proposal.

Information about manufacturing food products as part of a home business can be viewed on the NSW Food Authority website

Definition of home business

Under Ku-ring-gai’s Local Environmental Plans (LEP) and NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's Standard Instrument Definitions, ‘home business’ is defined as:

A business that is carried on in a dwelling, or in a building ancillary to a dwelling, by one or more permanent residents of the dwelling and that does not involve:

  • The employment of more than 2 persons other than those residents.
  • Interference with the amenity of the neighbourhood by reason of the emission of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, vapour, steam, soot, ash, dust, waste water, waste products, grit or oil, traffic generation or otherwise.
  • The exposure to view, from any adjacent premises or from any public place, of any unsightly matter.
  • The exhibition of any signage (other than a business identification sign).
  • The sale of items (whether goods or materials), or the exposure or offer for sale of items, by retail, except for goods produced at the dwelling or building.

Does not include bed and breakfast accommodation, home occupation (sex services) or sex services premises.

Development application

You can lodge a development application with Council to obtain development consent for your proposal.

Your DA would need to demonstrate that your proposal to manufacture/make food at home for sale complies with planning policies (such as zoning permissibility and how the proposal meets the definition of a 'home business') and satisfactorily meets the following sections in national food safety standards:

  • Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements.
  • Standard 3.2.3 Food Premises and Equipment.

Appendix 10 of the food safety standards provides further guidance on the specific requirements and exemptions that may apply to the fit-out of home based food businesses. 

You will need to demonstrate how you would be able to comply with these requirements as part of the DA. You can do this by including within the Statement of Environmental Effects a written statement outlining how the requirements will be achieved.

During the DA progress, our health officers can assess your development proposal on its merits. So if you are intending to sell very low-risk food (such as cakes or cookies), they may not ask you to fully upgrade to the Australian Standard (AS4674-2004). For example, it is unlikely you will be required to have a full stainless-steel fit-out for your kitchen.

However if you are intending to sell cooked food involving higher risk food, such as meat and fish, full compliance with the Australian Standard may still be required for your kitchen. 

Step-by-step DA guide to preparing and lodging a DA

A DA for food to be manufactured/made at home for sale would require the following plans and information to be submitted with a completed DA form: 

  • Owners consent. Strata consent is required if the premises is located within a residential flat building or townhouse development.
  • Site plan (with the room(s) of the dwelling to be used for the business shown in colour so we know where they are located in relation to the rest of the house).
  • Floor plan (details of the room(s) being used for the business – eg. indicate on the plan the cooking facilities, storage areas, etc).
  • Statement of Environmental Effects - while not an exhaustive list, the statement should include discussion about:
  • What food you intend to prepare and the quantity. If you are intending to produce high-risk food and/or quantities greater than 10kg of product, consider operating from a commercial premises.
  • Proposed storage arrangements for dry, refrigerated and frozen food and other food related items.
  • Method of distribution of products.
  • Hours of operation.
  • Relevant development controls in Council’s planning policies. For example, how your proposed home business is a type of development permitted by the zoning of the property and how it meets the objectives of the property’s zoning, and how the proposal will not interfere with the amenity of your neighbours.
  • Photographs including external photos for context of the site, kitchen, food handling, wash-up and storage areas.

Once the DA is lodged, Council’s officers will visit your premises to ensure it is suitable for the development proposal. 

Once you are ready to operate your food business, you will need to notify Council of your business via the food business notification form.

Complying development (CDC)

A home business involving the manufacture of food products as complying development will require your residence to comply with Australian Standard AS 4674-2004 Design, Construction and Fit-out of Food Premises.

The Australian Standard was intended for the fit-out of commercial food premises not domestic-style kitchens, so it is likely that kitchen/food preparation areas in residential homes have not been designed to comply with this Standard. Complying with the Standard could potentially be very expensive and require significant changes to your home.

Complying development controls for home business

Note: The floor area used for a home business should not be greater than 10% of the floor area of the building (eg. house) AND the floor area cannot be greater than that specified in Clause 5.4(2) of the Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plan 2015 (KLEP 2015).

Once you are ready to operate your food business, you will need to notify council of your business via the food business notification form.