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Sign Permit application

The City recognises the legitimate need for signs to give direction and to identify and promote business and buildings. It also accepts a responsibility to ensure that the visual impact of signage is properly assessed and managed. Signage should not negatively impact on the amenity of the city environment and should not be hazardous to pedestrians or motorists.

Key Details

Service TypeBuilding and construction
What you need

A complete Sign License application requires:

  • A signed Sign Permit application checklist.
  • Copies of plans drawn to scale not less than 1:100 showing dimensions, position, materials, design and inscription thereon, method of construction.
  • Copy of Certificate of Currency for insurance policy.
  • Application fee.
  • Some applications may also require certification from a structural engineer or the completion of other forms such as Development Application.
Eligibility requirementsSome signs may first require a completed Development Approval. Read the Signs Policy, refer to details on this page, or contact the Development Approvals Unit to confirm.
FeesA fee of $80 per sign applies.
  • General design guidelines for all sign types

    Signs erected over any vehicular or pedestrian accessway on public land must be fixed to provide a clear headway under the sign. This must be no less than 2750mm over a footpath and 4200mm to 6000mm over a laneway or road. Where a sign projects over the footpath at a height of less than 6 meters, the sign is to be a minimum distance of 600mm from the outer edge of a street kerb.

    A sign should in no way endanger the safety of the public. Signs that present a hazard or obstruction on the footpath, block motorists’ views, block views of traffic information signage or traffic lights, surveillance camera views or are not well secured, will not gain approval. Applying to install a sign may involve obtaining multiple approvals including planning, building and, when sign is located within the road reserve, a sign permit.

    To ensure that the sign complies with the City's Thoroughfares and Public Places Local Law, all signs located over a footpath or street require a Sign Permit application to be submitted and approved unless it has been determined that a Building Permit is required. 

    In order to satisfy safety requirements, the applicant is required to provide details of the proposed fixing method for the sign and, for larger more exposed signs, details and certification from a registered structural engineer. Signs located within site lot boundaries and considered to be of significant nature will be classified as an incidental structure and require a Building Permit.

  • Change of content of approved signs

    Where it is only proposed to change the content of an existing sign planning approval is not required if:

    • The proposed content is consistent with an approved signage strategy for the premises, and/or the sign and its structure and fixings have a valid development approval granted after June 2014.
    • The sign is not located within or on a place on the heritage list or within a heritage area.
    • The proposed content is not third-party advertising or animated or variable content, or the sign has a valid development approval for this type of content and the proposed content is consistent with an approved signage management plan.
    • The proposed content is not offensive.
    • No other change to the sign, including to its illumination, external dimensions, surrounding or supporting structure, fixings or cabling, is proposed. 
  • Additional approvals

    Development Application (DA)

    The City’s Signs Policy (Policy 4.6) of the City Planning Scheme No. 2 has a section listing the type of signs that are exempt from requiring planning approval. If your sign proposal requires a Development Application, your Sign Permit application will not be processed until the development approval has been issued.

    Heritage buildings

    All signs proposed on state and local heritage listed buildings/properties require planning approval.

    Building Permit

    Signs that incorporate a significant structural element may be subject to a Building Permit issued by the City in accordance with schedule 4 of the Building Regulations. Signs that have a current Development Application and Building Permit will not require a sign licence application. Generally signs are dealt with as minor encroachments and do not require referral to the Minister for Lands. However, some unusually large signs may need to be referred to the Minister for Lands as an encroachment under the Land Administration Act.


    For advice on whether a Development Application or Building Permit is required contact a Planning Officer in the City’s Development Approvals Unit on 9461 3366 before making an application for a Sign Permit. For all properties located in the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) area please contact the MRA to confirm their requirements for signs.

Need more help?

The City can provide guidance on permits and requirements, email or (08) 9461 3366.