The Journey Part Two – The Quest

Previously, on Journey Ball Z…

Heroes of the Iron Legion, standing before the monumental task of discovering a new location for their training hall, emerge victorious. The gym had found somewhere to grow, to prosper. But what was next? Read on to find out more!

For those of you who are interested in opening a gym, or for those who are curious about what exactly is involved, this should be interesting and hopefully provide some insight. The first step of this journey had been completed, finding  a suitable location, but that was just the beginning.

I must admit, initially, I had assumed the process to be quite simple. Find somewhere suitable, buy squat racks, move in to building, open. But that wasn’t the case. As I stood before the dawn of a new age,  a quest of monumental importance lay before me. Images of battle flashed before my eyes. A task that would be sung of in years to come, of diplomacy, of relentless determination, a tale of good and evil, of light and darkness. With swords in the wind we would ride, to victory or death. Before The Iron Stronghold could rise, we must first rise above our fears and conquer this quest. I knew that with the combined might of my brothers and sisters of steel behind me, no foe was too mighty, no task too large and with this knowledge I marched on to fulfill our destiny! 

In order to open and establish a gym, you first must submit a Development Application (DA) to local council. This has to comply with the local planning schemes, in the case of NSW legislation this comes under the Local Environmental Plan, or LEP. The first thing is ensuring that the gym, or whatever business it is you plan on establishing in a building, is allowed in the zone of the intended premises. You’re able to find zoning maps and permitted use information on the internet or by getting in touch with local council. In this case I just had to check the Bega Valley LEP which could be found on the Bega Valley Shire Council website. You couldn’t exactly open a 24/7 gym in the middle of a residential area, and if the zoning wouldn’t allow a gym it would be over before we began. Lucky for us, the building was located in a General Industrial Zone which allowed a gym. Foe one slain, we could advance on to the next phase of the quest.

The next task involved meeting with a local draftsman to determine what planning controls apply, whether we would be able to satisfy them and to seek assistance in preparing the DA. We had to gain permission to allow a ‘Recreational Facility ( Indoor)’, the planning term used for fitness facilities in NSW, in what was previously considered a ‘General Industrial Storage’ building.

After we gained knowledge from the draftsman, we found that we came under the “Permitted with consent” planning category. This meant that the development would be permitted to go ahead once approval had been granted by the local council. This stage of the quest turned out to be quite comprehensive. As part of the planning approval, the following had to be considered:

  • Anticipated number of patrons and employees
  • Any social impacts the business would have on surrounding area.
  • Impact on parking and traffic
  • Noise levels
  • Hours of operation
  • Environmental impacts

Each of these points had to be addressed. A statement of environmental effects had to be prepared by myself which was presented with the DA, which outlined the proposal, the type of business, planning compliance, effect on nearby businesses, effect on the landscape, traffic generated, car access, car parking social and economic effects, hours of operation, number of employees, access for the disabled, utility services available as well as other minor aspects of the proposal. 

The other part of submitting the DA, was ensuring that all building requirements are met as per the Building Code of Australia (BCA). As the use of the building was changing from General industrial storage to a Gymnasium that meant that the requirements of the building itself changed. In this case, a gym is classified as a 9b building according to the BCA, and with that comes certain criteria that must be met.

The main issues covered here were:

  • Fire resistance and safety
  • Access for disabled
  • Availability of facility services
  • Ventilation
  • Parking availability

This meant that included in the proposal we needed to show that we would comply with the building code in relation to it’s use.

Parking, understandably, is a big one. If we were unable to provide the parking space numbers required by council, a large sum of money was required as recompense, calculated per missing parking space requirement. Parking requirement for a gym, determined by the ‘RTA Guide for Traffic Generating Development’, requires that parking is to be provided at the rate of a minimum 4.5 spaces per 100m2 . Once again this beast was no match for us and after measuring with the draftsman we had ample space. So although there was some initial trepidation, parking did not pose any issue. Parking beast slain, + 1000 xp. Continue on to the next stage, building compliance.

The building in it’s original state, did not have disabled access, nor did it have the required sanitary facilities. In order to comply with the BCA, we needed to allow for Disabled Access, parking space needed to be allocated and toilet and shower facilities needed to be modified and built to allow Disabled Access. Our draftsman was able to write up plans showing that we intended to carry out the work needed to achieve these standards and with it our application was ready to submit for judgement. 

So, what started off as what was to be an epic quest of treasure finding, gains acquiring and dragon slaying, turned out to be lots of time spend mostly on ‘background work’. But fueled by passion made the most mundane task extra-ordinary, and I attacked the quest laid out for me with energetic enthusiasm, completing each task and achieving Development Application Approval, unlocking the ability to open The Iron Stronghold. 

As I write this, the work in the building is about to begin. Judgement has been passed and blessed salvation received. All we need to do now is receive the construction certificate and to carry out the work as per the BCA. That done, the rise of The Iron Stronghold will be upon us! It’s been a long journey so far, but we’re looking forward to opening the first Strength & Conditioning gym in the Bega Valley and the Sapphire Coast.

I hope that this information can help people understand what goes into opening a gym and give everyone a small insight into the quest that has been completed to bring the gym to life!

In the next episode, we’ll look at what it takes to run the gym and what systems are in place to ensure that the gym runs smoothly!

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