Small businesses must often compete in a crowded marketplace, and an attractive, professional sign helps you continue to attract new customers. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, many merchants have gone out of business because their customers simply couldn't find them, and a good sign is the easiest way to stop this happening. That aside, it's important that you make sure your sign meets local planning regulations. If you want to erect a sign for your Brisbane business, learn more about the restrictions you may need to consider.
City regulations control where businesses place signs for several reasons. The authorities need to consider if your sign fits in with the immediate environment, but there are also safety issues to consider. As such, you need to find out about any constraints that may exist on your property, or any restrictions that you face in your zone.
Brisbane city has 57 zones. Many of these zones divide further into precincts. Zone codes include:
- Residential zones
- Centre zones
- Recreation zones
- Environmental zones
- Industry zones
Planning regulations may not allow you to put up a sign in some of these zones. Before you start the process to erect a sign for your business, you should find out if any restrictions exist in your zone.
Many properties in Brisbane have a heritage listing. These listings protect the buildings from unauthorised changes, and your sign may contravene the rules governing these areas. It's important to note that even if your building does not have a heritage listing, you can still run into problems if your building is immediately next to a heritage listed property. If you want to erect a sign on a heritage listed building, you will always need a full assessment.
A heritage listing does not mean you cannot erect a sign, but you will need to make sure the design and construction meet various criteria. Things to consider include:
- Keep your sign in proportion to the building.
- Lettering should fit the building style. You may need to consider historic lettering styles, or a simple, modern font that matches the design of the property.
- Use building materials that match the original construction materials, where possible. You'll also need to avoid special surfaces, like reflective or pearlescent paint.
- You should use fixings that don't damage the building.
- Try to place signage where it may originally have appeared when builders first erected the property.
- The design of the sign should match the building's architectural design. Planners may expect you to reinstate an original sign.
Restrictions in certain localities
Some localities in Brisbane have other restrictions. If you want to erect a sign in a pedestrian mall, you will probably need to apply for a full assessment. In places like Queen Street Mall or Brunswick Street, the authorities want to make sure that signage is consistent in size and placement, so your application will generally face more scrutiny.
If your property is on a state controlled road or motorway, you'll need to apply to different authorities. You will need a road corridor permit before you can ask for an express assessment for your signage.
Levels of permission
To speed up the process, the city council gives businesses an online assessment tool that helps you find out how likely it is that the authorities will approve your request. All you have to do is select the zone your business premises are in, and the online tool will show you the rules that apply for different types of sign.
The site categorises these signs as:
- Permitted (you don't normally need anything in writing from the council)
- Require approval (you may need a full assessment or an express assessment)
- Generally inappropriate (approval is unlikely)
- Prohibited (you can't erect these signs)
For example, in a Medium Density Residential area, you cannot erect a sign above an awning or roof, nor can you use inflatable signs.
If you want your business to stand out, you need to click here for a sign that will attract customers, but you also need to make sure you don't fall foul of any planning laws. Contact the city council for more advice.