Planning permission for temporary buildings

Do I need planning permission for a temporary structure?

It’s the question we get asked all the time. Will my temporary structure need planning permission?  We are leading providers of temporary buildings across the UK. As industry experts, this article explains everything you need to know about planning permission for temporary structures….

A temporary structure in build

When do I need planning permission for a temporary structure?

In most cases, you will need planning permission for a temporary building or structure, for example if:

  • The building will be used for more than 28 days
  • The building floor space is more than 200m2 in England
  • The building will occupy more than 25% of the entire site area
  • The building is closer than 5m away from the site boundary
  • The building is taller than any existing building on your site.
  • The building will impact on vehicle parking and manoeuvring
  • The existing original building has previously been subject to significant extensions or alterations

While this list is not exhaustive, it provides a quick guide to when you will need planning permission for your structure or when it may fall under permitted development. Conditions may vary depending on your location and circumstances, for example if you are in a conservation area, Green Belt, an area of outstanding natural beauty or on a site with listed buildings.

Take the planning permission test:

How we help with planning applications

If you are looking to start a temporary building project and would like expert guidance on how to get planning permission, we can help.

We have an exemplary track record in securing planning approval for temporary structures.  We have helped many businesses with the planning application process through our trusted independent planning advisors and are on hand to help you at every stage of the process.  Our support includes:

Our specialists will initially confirm whether planning permission is required, which depends on the size and position of the building.

We will advise on the likelihood of planning permission being granted, highlighting any particular issues at the site and how these could be resolved.

We can support as much or as little as you require.  We can provide simple pre-application advice, helping you navigate the Planning Portal website , which all applications are now submitted via, rather than the individual council portals.  We can also manage the full planning application process.

Our approach

Our approach is consultative and collaborative and we can discuss your options during a free no obligation site consultation. We provide unrivalled support for your temporary building project from start to completion and beyond.  Regardless of whether you require guidance or support with your whole application, we have in-depth knowledge and years of experience when it comes to planning permission for temporary structures.


About the planning process

By choosing to work with industry experts, it simplifies the process for you.  It will save you time, reduce the stress and increase the chances of a positive outcome.  Here is an indicative planning timescale. If your building is over 1,000m, or on sites over 1 hectare, the statutory determination period is 13 weeks instead of 8 weeks.

Upon instruction, we will discuss your project and understand the full details of your site and operational requirements.

Appoint architectural partner (where required) to produce plans, and any other 3rd parties where additional technical information is required.

  • Produce planning statement
  • Prepare application
  • Submit application
  • Monitor application progress
  • Liaise with planning authority (if required)
  • Issue periodic updates
  • Inform of outcome
an industrial storage warehouse building

Other planning considerations

Why is planning permission required 

While our buildings are referred to as “temporary” they are designed and engineered to last 20+ years. Although they are modular and de-mountable, the quality and durability of our structures makes them comparable to a permanent building or semi-permanent structure. 

What happens if I don’t own the land?

If you are planning on installing a temporary structure on land you do not own, it is important to get the permission of the land owner.  However, as part of the planning process, a notice is served on the land owner.

What is retrospective planning permission

If you need a temporary structure urgently, retrospective planning permission may be obtained.

Urgent circumstances include if you require a temporary building quickly under urgent disaster recovery circumstances, such as fire damage. It is recommended that a strong planning case from a specialist is submitted.

Retrospective planning application is made in the same way as any other application. In theory, the application is reviewed and decided as if the work hadn’t already taken place. Of course, in the real world the planning officer will be able to better assess the actual impact of a building which is already there. 

The local planning authority remains entitled to request changes, but they would need to think carefully about whether they are really justified and if the changes would be difficult or expensive to carry out.

Our partners Mosaic Town Planning can submit a retrospective application on your behalf. Their Planning Statement will explain why the business urgently required the additional capacity and set out the full case for planning approval.

Whilst we cannot recommend that you erect a building without planning permission, you can base your own decision on an informed assessment of the risks. 

About our temporary structures

F&L Temporary buildings design, manufacture and install high quality, flexible and durable temporary buildings that comply with all UK building regulations. Our buildings are made to measure for your business and can be specified to your exact requirements. We provide insulated buildings, industrial storage sheds, workshops, canopies and bespoke buildings to give businesses the space they need. 

Temporary buildings are quick to install and you won’t suffer from the inconvenience associated to traditional building work.  Furthermore, they are a cost effective alternative and are in the region of 70% cheaper than a permanent building. 

About Mosaic Town Planning

Mosaic Town Planning have worked with F&L Temporary buildings for a number of years.  They are an independent business and have been advising and supporting companies looking to install industrial temporary buildings for over 10 years.  Furthermore, they have secured planning permission for over 200 projects for a range of applications, including storage, warehousing, loading and manufacturing. 

In summary

In conclusion, planning authorities are keen to support successful businesses and economic growth. It provides jobs for local people and contributes to the economy. In our experience, they usually take a pragmatic approach where a company has to take urgent action to respond to demand, provided that this does not cause serious issues for residents or the environment.

Ready to install a building?

We would be delighted to provide upfront and honest advice to help you get your project off the ground.  You won’t get the hard sell from us, just knowledgeable insight and expertise.