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Do you need planning permission for temporary buildings?

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Lauralu temporary building structures and demountable buildings in construction

When you are considering hiring or purchasing a temporary or semi-permanent building or structure, depending on the size and placement of the build, you might need to think about applying for planning permission. It is a common misconception that due to a building being temporary that businesses will not require planning permission. Here at Lauralu, we can handle the planning application for you, taking away this headache. However if you wish to handle the planning application yourself read on for some useful information.



There may be some cases where planning permission is not required, but there are strict criteria to fit into this category. For example, if your temporary structure is only required for a very short term – if you are not going to use it for more than 28 days and the floor space is under 200m2 – you may be able to avoid getting planning permission for your structure, but it is often best to check whether this applies to you.

Another example is if the structure is going to be joined to an existing building and just extending it, it must be shorter than the original building, it must be planned to be used for the same purpose as the previous building and the volume of the structure must be 25% of the size of the existing building. This applies if you are planning to use the structure for a long period however it must meet all of the criteria’s to be exempt from applying for planning permission.


Here are a few bullet points regarding when you WILL need planning permission in line with the government guidelines:

  • You will be using your structure for longer than 28 days
  • The floor space is more than 200m2
  • The structure’s volume is more than 25% of the existing building
  • The building is more than 25% of the whole area available on your site.
  • The temporary structure is closer than 5m away from your site boundaries
  • When the structure is assembled, it reduces the space you have for vehicles parking or manoeuvring.
  • When the structure materially affects the external appearance of the building



Due to the fact that the majority of cases do need to have planning permission and it can take 8-12 weeks to hear back, we would recommend that we handle the planning application for you as soon as you have decided on the final size and specification in order to ensure there are no delays.



If you need the structure urgently, it may be worth considering retrospective permission, but this could be a risky step, so we would advise that you do not consider this unless your build is extremely time-critical.  Under these circumstances, you may be able to attain a retrospective planning permission which would give you the chance to get started before the full planning permissions have been granted. For this though, you must be able to prove that the temporary structure is required urgently and it is an emergency.



We do not recommend proceeding with the installation of a temporary building without the required planning permission. The local authority may grant retrospective permission without issue. However, if when it is reviewed, planning permission is not granted, you may be approached to return your buildings back to the original state or remove your structure completely. If you do not obey these requests, you may result in receiving enforcement notices.

Looking to find out more about a temporary building and planning permission? Get in touch today. 

Read more about our temporary structures here

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Contact us at Lauralu for more information or advice regarding temporary buildings.

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