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Planning Permission for Temporary Structures

Instant Space is here to guide you on planning permission for temporary structures

Planning permission for temporary structures, and knowing whether or not you need it, can confound many business owners who want to increase their storage structures or temporarily build short-term warehouses. Considering that “temporary” might mean anything from a week up to 20 years, it should be no surprise that there are many situations where organisations need planning permission and others where you don’t. Read on to learn more about planning permission for temporary structures and when you need it.


There are situations where planning permission for temporary structures is not required. These cases are when the structure is intended to be used for less than 28 days, or when it is used for agricultural purposes. Additionally, if the temporary building is located within the curtilage of a listed building, planning permission may not be necessary. However, it is important to consult with local authorities to ensure compliance with regulations.

Sometimes, planning permission may not be required for temporary buildings used for certain events or functions. For instance, if the structure is intended for use during a specific festival or fair, it may not need planning permission. Similarly, if the temporary building is used for a temporary market or a public exhibition, planning permission may not be necessary. However, confirming with the appropriate authorities is essential to confirm with the appropriate authorities to ensure that all regulations and guidelines are followed.

It is worth noting that although planning permission may not be required for temporary buildings in certain circumstances, other regulations and requirements may still apply. For example, building regulations such as safety standards and structural integrity must be adhered to, regardless of whether planning permission is needed. It is, therefore, crucial to consider all relevant factors and consult with the appropriate authorities to ensure compliance with all necessary regulations.


Certain regulations and guidelines come into play when it is necessary to obtain planning permission for temporary structures. Temporary structures on a site may require planning permission depending on their size, location, and intended use. It is essential to consult the local planning authority to determine whether planning permission for temporary structures is required. Failure to obtain the necessary permission may result in legal consequences, including fines or the need to remove the structure. Understanding the specific requirements for obtaining planning permission for temporary buildings is crucial to ensure compliance with regulations and maintaining a smooth and legal operation.

Planning permission is not always required for temporary buildings. In some cases, permitted development rights allow for the construction of temporary structures without needing permission. However, these rights are subject to certain restrictions and limitations. Buildings that do not fall within the permitted development rights may require planning permission. The local planning authority will assess factors such as the size and scale of the structure, its impact on the surrounding area, and the intended duration of use when considering whether permission is necessary. Therefore, it is essential to consult the local planning authority to understand the specific requirements for your temporary building project.

While planning permission for temporary structures is typically the main consideration when erecting temporary buildings, it is important to note that other regulations and requirements may also apply. For example, building regulations govern a structure’s structural safety and energy efficiency, regardless of its temporary nature. Compliance with these regulations is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of occupants. Additionally, specific regulations may govern the use of the building, such as fire safety requirements or health and safety regulations. It is crucial to consider and adhere to these regulations to ensure the legal and safe operation of temporary buildings.


Making Your Application at the Right Time
Planning and obtaining the necessary permission for temporary buildings requires careful timing. To ensure a smooth process, follow this 3-step guide:

  1. Determine the appropriate moment: Identify the exact point in your project timeline when you should submit your application. Consider the construction schedule, availability of resources, and any specific regulations related to your temporary building.
  2. Prepare the necessary documents: Gather all relevant documentation and information the planning authorities require. This may include architectural plans, site maps, and details of the temporary structure’s purpose.
  3. Submit the application on time: Once all documentation is complete, promptly submit your application to the appropriate planning department. Respect the deadlines and ensure that your submission meets all necessary requirements.

Additionally, each region may have distinct rules and regulations governing temporary buildings. Familiarise yourself with these unique details to ensure compliance and a successful application process. Decisions can be monitored here.


Our Suggested Approach and Implementation:

  1. Understanding Planning Permission: First, it is crucial to comprehend the rules and regulations associated with temporary buildings before proceeding with any construction. This ensures compliance with legal requirements.
  2. Consult Local Authorities: Engaging and coordinating with local authorities during the planning and implementation stages can significantly aid in navigating the complexities of obtaining the necessary permits and permissions.
  3. Adequate Site Selection and Design: Choosing a suitable location and designing the temporary building in accordance with local regulations and architectural standards ensures a smooth approval process and efficient utilisation of resources.
  4. Maintaining Safety Guidelines: Prioritising safety measures should be an integral part of the construction and occupancy of temporary buildings. Adhering to all necessary safety regulations and standards guarantees the well-being of individuals and surrounding infrastructure.
  5. Regular Monitoring and Compliance: It is advisable to implement a system for ongoing monitoring and compliance to ensure that the temporary building meets all legal requirements throughout its lifespan.
  6. Environmentally Friendly Practices: Incorporating sustainability measures like energy efficiency, waste management, and green building techniques into the design and operation of temporary buildings reflects responsible environmental stewardship. Furthermore, incorporating sustainable building processes can positively impact both the organisation and the surrounding community by reducing carbon footprint and resource consumption.


Certain considerations regarding planning permission for temporary structures must be considered when commissioning a temporary buildings. Our in-house planning service offers a professional and efficient solution for all your planning needs.

  • A team of experienced experts is at your disposal, providing personalised guidance and support throughout the planning process.
  • We stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and requirements, ensuring full compliance with all relevant laws and policies.
  • Our in-depth knowledge of local planning authorities allows us to navigate the system efficiently, saving you time and hassle.
  • We offer comprehensive services, including preparing and submitting planning applications, handling appeals, and providing expert advice on complex planning matters.

With our in-house planning service, you can rest assured that your project will be in safe hands. Our dedication to delivering exceptional results sets us apart from the competition.


Planning permission for temporary warehouses and temporary storage structures will not usually be required if:

  1. The extension is less than 100 square metres of floor space.
  2. The extension is less than 25 per cent of the volume of the original building.
  3. The extension is below the height of the original building.
  4. The extension must be related to the current use of the building or the provision of staff facilities.

You will need to obtain planning permission for your extension if it:

  1. Significantly changes the external appearance of the building.
  2. Is within five metres of the site boundary.
  3. Decreases the amount of space available for parking or vehicle manoeuvring.

Applications typically take 2-3 months. Government consideratyions for temporary buildings:

Site Location
The chosen site must meet specific criteria and building regulations.
Structural Safety
The temporary building must meet the necessary safety standards to protect occupants.
There may be restrictions on the permitted duration of a temporary building.
Design and Appearance
The temporary structure should blend harmoniously with its surroundings.
Access and Fire Safety
Appropriate access and fire safety measures must be in place.

Additionally, it’s important to note that government requirements may vary depending on the location and purpose of the temporary building. Consulting local authorities and relevant regulatory bodies is essential to ensure full compliance.


Retrospective planning permission for temporary structures is the process by which approval is sought after a building or development has already been completed. This variation of permission allows individuals or organisations to regularise their existing structures and ensure compliance with planning regulations. It is important to note that retrospective permission does not guarantee approval, as it is subject to review by the local planning authority.

When applying for retrospective permission, providing all necessary documents and evidence to support the case is crucial. Additionally, engaging with the local community and addressing their concerns can improve the chances of obtaining retrospective permission. A Pro Tip for this process is to consult with a professional planner or architect who can navigate the complexities of the retrospective permission process and increase the likelihood of a favourable outcome.


In brief, the regulations and planning permission for temporary buildings are essential to consider when undertaking such projects. Here are three key points regarding the topic:

  • Depending on size, location, and intended use, temporary buildings may require planning permission.
  • Obtaining planning permission involves submitting an application to the relevant authorities, who will assess the impact of the temporary building on the surrounding environment.
  • Complying with building regulations, including fire safety measures and accessibility requirements, ensures temporary buildings’ safety and structural integrity.

Furthermore, it is important to note that certain unique details, like specific local planning policies or restrictions, may vary depending on the jurisdiction. Therefore, consulting with local authorities or professionals experienced in temporary building regulations is advisable to ensure compliance.

Considering these points, here are some suggestions:

  • Engage with a professional consultant specialising in temporary building regulations to navigate the complexities and ensure compliance with planning permission and building regulations.
  • Research and familiarise yourself with local planning policies and restrictions to understand any specific requirements for temporary buildings in your area.
  • Seek clarification from local authorities regarding any uncertainties or ambiguities in relation to planning permission and building regulations for temporary buildings.

Implementing these suggestions will help streamline the process of obtaining planning permission and complying with regulations, ultimately maximising the success of temporary building projects. If you’re ready to begin the process of obtaining planning permission for temporary structures, get in touch with us today!


Under certain circumstances, you may be able to construct a temporary extension without planning permission. If the extension is shorter in height than the original building, directly relevant to its purpose, and less than 25% of the size of the original by volume, you may avoid the need for a planning permit.

If your temporary structure has a floor space of less than 100 m² and will not be used for more than 28 days, you generally do not require planning permission.

If you choose to install a temporary building without obtaining planning permission, you may be required to submit a retrospective planning application. If the local council decides not to grant permission, you might have to remove the structure or face potential prosecution.

In case of an emergency or urgent need, it is possible to apply for retrospective planning permission. If you can demonstrate the immediate necessity of the building, the local authority is likely to grant permission. However, there is still a risk of enforcement action if permission is not obtained.

The process of obtaining planning permission can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. Submitting the application well in advance is recommended to avoid any issues with the local authority. However, if the structure is urgently required, some businesses choose to proceed without planning permission, risking potential enforcement action.

Yes, our company has an in-house planning service. We will manage every aspect of the planning application on your behalf. This includes liaising with the local authority, Highways Agency, environmental agencies, and Building Control Departments to fulfil all necessary requirements.