Planning for Temporary Buildings: What You Need to Know

    If you’re considering using temporary buildings to expand your business, host an event, or for any other purpose, it’s essential that you understand any planning regulations and requirements that may apply to you. Temporary structures, demountable or relocatable buildings, can provide a cost-effective and flexible solution to various needs. However, specific rules and considerations may apply and you’ll need to follow them 100% to ensure compliance with the law.

    In this post, we’ll explore some of the critical aspects of planning for temporary buildings in the UK, including:

    •       When planning permission is required
    •       The types of temporary structures that are exempt from planning permission
    •       Considerations for site selection and installation
    •       Building regulations that may apply
    •       How long temporary buildings can be used

    When is Planning Permission Required?

    The first thing to consider when planning for a temporary building is whether you’ll need formal planning permission from the local authority. Generally, planning permission is required for any building or structure that will remain in place for more than 28 days. This includes most temporary facilities, but there are some exceptions.

    Regulatory Bodies that Oversee Temporary Buildings in the UK

    Depending on their intended use and location, temporary buildings are subject to regulation by various regulatory bodies. Here are some of the key regulatory bodies responsible for temporary structures:

    Local Planning Authority: The local planning authority is responsible for granting planning permission for temporary buildings. Their responsibilities include assessing the site’s suitability, ensuring compliance with local planning policies and ensuring the facility meets the requirements of the relevant building codes.

    Building Control: Building control ensures that temporary buildings comply with building regulations. Part of their job revolves around assessing the structural integrity of the building, ensuring adequate fire safety measures are in place, and verifying compliance with other building regulations.

    Environmental Health Officer: Environmental health officers ensure that temporary buildings comply with environmental regulations. These regulators assess the impact of the building on the environment, ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to manage waste and prevent pollution and verifying compliance with other environmental regulations.

    If you are unsure how to set up your temporary structures, consulting professionals such as Smart-Space could help with compliance issues.

    Types of Temporary Buildings That Don’t Require Planning Permission

    Certain types of temporary buildings are exempt from planning permission. These include;

    •       Buildings that are less than 100 square meters in size
    •       Facilities that will be in place for less than 28 days
    •       Some types of agricultural and forestry buildings
    •       Some types of temporary buildings are used for educational or healthcare purposes

    If you’re unsure whether your proposed temporary building falls within an exempt category, it’s best to check with your local planning authority.

    Site Selection and Installation

    Once you’ve determined whether or not you need planning permission, the next step is to select a suitable site and prepare it for installation. Choosing a site that is level, free from obstructions, and has good access for delivery and installation of the building is paramount. You’ll also need to ensure that necessary utilities, such as water, sewage and electricity are available on-site.

    Regarding installation, following the manufacturer’s instructions and any relevant health and safety regulations is critical. Depending on the size and complexity of the building, you may need to hire a professional installer or construction company.

    Building Regulations

    In addition to planning permission, temporary buildings may be subject to building regulations. Building regulations ensure that facilities are safe, energy-efficient, and meet specific standards for construction and materials. Depending on the size and intended use of your temporary building, you may need to apply for building regulations approval from your local authority.


    Planning for temporary buildings requires careful attention to the relevant regulations and requirements. By understanding when planning permission is required, selecting a suitable site, and following installation and building regulations you can ensure that your temporary building meets all applicable legal requirements and provides a safe and effective solution for your needs.

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