Planning permission, in simple terms, is like asking the local authority if you can do a certain piece of building work. Most planning applications are decided within eight weeks, unless they are unusually large or complex, in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks. After that time your application for permission will be granted (possibly subject to certain conditions) or refused.
Many home improvement projects are classed as permitted development, meaning they do not require planning permission, subject to certain conditions and limits. Our interactive guides and common projects can help you research your improvement project; use the buttons on the left to explore our interactive house, terrace, flat and shop and browse advice on over 50 common projects.
It is the property owner's responsibility to seek planning permission but if you are in any doubt about whether or not you need permission, then you should contact your local planning authority and complete an inquiry form, if necessary.
Lawful development certificates
While it should be possible in most cases to decide whether or not a proposed project qualifies as permitted development there will inevitably be instances where the decision is less clear cut. For peace of mind you may choose to apply for a lawful development certificate (LDC). This is not the same as planning permission but is proof that your household building work is lawful.