Planning permission guide

For most people, the installation of a garden building won't require a planning application. However, there are controls in place to ensure that buildings constructed have a limited impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. For most properties, these controls are called permitted development rights - These rights define the criteria for buildings you're permitted to construct without making a planning application.

For properties without permitted development rights or for larger projects exceeding the limits of permitted development (see below) planning permission from the local authority should be granted before work begins. This is a routine practice and we have guided hundreds of customers through the process which shouldn't be seen as a barrier to getting your dream garden room.

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What is permitted without an application?

Principal guidelines of permitted development and exemption from building regulation.

For more information click here for the current government guidelines and advice from the Planning Portal.


Garden buildings within 2m of the boundary should be under 2.5m in height.

Garden buildings more than 2m of the boundary can be up to 4m in height.

Planning permission diagram


A garden building should be sited behind the house, in the back garden.

Buildings can also be sited set-back and to the side of the house, provided the address is not within a special planning zone*.


The garden building will adopt less than 50% of the overall garden, and be less than 30m² in size.

The garden building will be less than 15m² if within 1m of the boundary.

Garden buildings at addresses within special planning zones* may be limited to 10m² if positioned closer than 20m to the house.


The garden building will be ancillary to the house and not be used for permanent accommodation or commercial purposes.

*Special Planning Zones

  • Conservation areas
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • National parks
  • World heritage sites

All of the above zones will have adjusted or limited permitted development rights. Occasionally, addresses in these zones will not have any permitted development rights. Specific information on this will be available from your local authority.

Listed buildings do not have permitted development rights and garden buildings require listed building consent.

A building sited in the garden of a flat or apartment building will always require planning permission from the local authority.

As a planning condition, addresses within some housing developments will not have permitted development rights. These will typically be new-build estates but it is worth reviewing the deeds.

A bit about Building Control

Building control is separate from planning permission and regulates different aspects of the project. Planning permission is more concerned with the height, size and position of a building in the garden, building control will focus on the structure and technical specification of the building & base.

It's not uncommon for a project that may require planning permission not to need building control approval. At the same time, some projects may not require planning permission but will still need approval from building control. Each project is different and the size, location & use of the building will determine if any building regulations need to be observed. Factors that building control may want to review include:

  • What preventative measures will be taken to ensure the building is fire retardent.
  • The structure & fabric of the building and supporting base.
  • The method of insulation used in the building.

Meeting some building regulations can increase the cost of the building and is not required for most projects. Therefore, to meet these regulations, there are several additions required to the standard specification - these will increase the overall cost. There may also be a need to budget for some professional fees to engage a structural engineer who can provide calculations for your project to building control.

For most customers, it's a better fit for their project to design a structure without the need for building control approval. However, if it's unavoidable we're here to provide advice on the process and can refer you to the professionals you'll need to undergo the process.

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