If you are in any doubt about whether you need to apply for planning permission, you should consult the Planning Department of your council. They will usually give you advice, but if you want to obtain a formal ruling you can apply (on payment of a fee) for a "lawful development certificate" by writing to the council with details of the work you want to carry out.


If you build something that needs planning permission without obtaining permission first, you may be forced to put things right later, which could prove troublesome and costly. You might even have to remove an unauthorised building, so check all procedures before you commence work.

Your local authority will not be able to help with property law matters, such as land ownership disputes, 'ancient lights' and rights to light, or restrictive covenants. They are for you to sort out, if necessary with help from a surveyor or solicitor. The NACAB (National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux) website provides basic advice and information on your rights.

If you are looking at running a business from your extension your local council produce a booklet titled 'Business'. It gives advice about working from home and can also help identify if planning permission is likely to be required.

To give you a rough idea whether you need planning permission or not, view our Quick Reference Table. If you are still in doubt after looking at this, please contact your Local Council Planning Department.

If you have decided that you need planning permission use our easy Step By Step Guide of how to apply for permission.

Alternatively, please feel free to browse through our General Advice pages.

If you live in Scotland, Ireland or Wales you will need to consider the following sources for information:

In Northern Ireland, planning control is in the hands of the Planning Service of the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland). Your Home and Planning Permission – A guide for householders in Northern Ireland
is available on its website. The District Councils are responsible for building control in Northern Ireland.

Guidance on Building Standards and Planning Regulations are available on the Scottish Executive website.

The National Assembly for Wales website has details of planning regulations that apply in Wales. Building Control in Wales is managed as in England and is explained below. Ask your local authority if there are any planning conditions on the permission for your house.

The National Association of Citizens' Advice Bureaux (NACAB) website has advice on home repairs and insulation, including information on house renovation grants for England and Wales and information on home improvement schemes for Scotland.

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