Essential Things to Know About Planning for Temporary Buildings

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 30/11/2022 | 21:44

Temporary buildings help businesses to meet their needs for extra space—whatever the circumstances they need to get the process right. Times when a business may need space include during peak periods when companies need extra storage space for extra finished products or raw materials. Businesses also use temporary structures as temporary work areas as they move to or build new permanent buildings. Irrespective of why your company needs a non-permanent structure, it is vital to know about the planning requirements for temporary buildings.


What are the planning requirements for temporary buildings?

Before businesses can erect buildings, the law usually requires that they seek formal approval from their local authority. It is also necessary to get official permission to make significant changes to an existing structure, say building an extension.

Planning for temporary buildings involves seeking formal approval in the form of a construction or building permit prescribed in a given jurisdiction. While most people think that planning permission only applies to permanent structures, the fact is that planning for temporary buildings is also necessary to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law, and suffering fines, penalties, and even losses.

When do you need planning permission for temporary buildings?

There are circumstances when you need planning for temporary buildings and other cases when you don’t need it. Below are some of the instances where you require temporary building planning permission:

  • If you intend to use your non-permanent structure for more than 28 days and /or its size exceeds 100 square metres. If so, you ought to be prepared to apply for approval from your local authority.
  • If the temporary structure is closer than five metres to your site’s boundary
  • If the non-permanent structure occupies more than 25% of your site’s available area, or it’s for a factory or warehouse extension, or it exceeds 25% of the original building’s size.
  • If the erection of the building considerably reduces the available space for vehicle manoeuvring or parking

Which cases don’t need planning for temporary buildings?

You may not need permission from your local authority for a temporary structure in some circumstances. But to be sure whether or not you need it—and to get help with the application if you do, you should work with temporary building experts such as Smart-Space.

Here are some circumstances where planning permission for temporary buildings is not necessary:

  • If the building’s floor space is less than 100 square metres, and you are not going to use it for over 28 days
  • If the temporary facility is an extension and its height is lower than the original structure
  • If the temporary extension’s size is not more than 25% of the original building’s size by volume
  • If the non-permanent installation is an extension and is directly relevant to the original structure’s use

What is the best time to apply for temporary building planning permission?

You should make a planning application before you buy or erect your temporary building. You need to allow yourself as much time as possible from the time you apply to the installation to be sure you’re safe and avoid unnecessary problems with your local authority.

However, the planning process for temporary building applications takes between 8 and 12 weeks, which could lead to issues if you urgently need the structure. Some companies opt to install their temporary buildings without the authority’s approval and seek retrospective planning permission. Such businesses must prove to their local authorities that they urgently need the structure.

Generally, the local authorities concerned will issue retrospective planning permission with no problems if they are convinced of the genuine merits of the case. But if the local authority does not grant retrospective planning permission, it will instruct them to take down the temporary structure. If they don’t comply, they could issue an enforcement notice.

Wrapping up

Businesses may or may not need to seek planning permission for temporary structures. It may be challenging to determine when you need planning for temporary buildings and how to go about it. It’s prudent to work with sector experts to have peace of mind and avoid losses.



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