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Building approval

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The design and layout of an early childhood education and care environment significantly impacts the delivery of education and care programs and practices. In determining an application for a service approval, the Regulatory Authority must have regard to the National Quality Framework (NQF), including the National Quality Standard (NQS), and the suitability of the education and care service premises. 

The Regulatory Authority must be satisfied that if permitted to use the proposed premises, the approved provider can ensure the service will meet the legislative requirements and ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children. This will help ensure the service meets operational requirements (Chapter 4 of the National Regulations), including protecting children from harm and hazard (section 167 of the National Law).

Building standards and physical environment requirements

The Regulatory Authority may refuse to grant a service approval if the service's proposed location or design poses an unacceptable risk to children's safety, health and wellbeing (section 49(1)(a) of the National Law). This is regardless of whether the local council has approved the proposed site and development. 

Please refer to the Regulatory Authority's fact sheet for local councils, Queensland Regulatory Authority and Local Council Interaction – early childhood education and care services (PDF, 191KB)(DOCX, 38KB).

As part of an application for a centre-based service, the applicant must provide a certificate of classification (or a statement) issued by a building practitioner stating the proposed premises complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for a Class 9b building (which generally cannot be provided for a residential property) and also a copy of the planning permit for the proposed education and care service premises (if required).  Factors specific to the individual layout of the premises and facilities should be considered early in the planning and design stages of construction in consultation with the applicant's architect, developer, planner and building practitioner.

Applicants proposing to operate an education and care service in a multi-storey building, should also consider the Regulatory Authority's fact sheet, Guidance for approved providers – early childhood education and care services operating in multi-storey buildings (PDF, 262KB)(DOCX, 31KB).

Approved providers must ensure that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children being educated and cared for by a service from harm and hazard likely to cause injury (section 167 of the National Law).  This includes the physical environment.

Under the National Law, centre-based education and care services (other than outside school hours care – OSHC) must comply with the physical environment requirements in the National Regulations (Regulations 103‑115). OSHC services are still required to meet certain physical environment requirements contained within the National Regulations (Regulations 103‑115).

Under National Regulation 25, approved providers must provide evidence of compliance with planning and development laws of Queensland as part of their application for service approval, including the following:

  • a copy of the planning permit for the proposed premises, if a planning permit is required;
  • unless the premises is a government or registered school, evidence that the premises complies with building requirements (e.g. certificate of classification that the premises complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for a class 9b building).

Note that despite being compliant with the BCA, the Regulatory Authority may impose conditions on the service approval or request additional measures in the building. 

Approved providers of all services regulated under the NQF also need to consider Quality Area 3 – Physical Environment of the NQS (contained within Schedule 1 of the National Regulations).

Learn more about: facilities and building requirements.

Related information

Templates, forms and resources – Access resources, forms and fact sheets related to obtaining approvals, building standards, and other operational requirements.

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Last updated 08 January 2019