Work which doesn't need planning permission

Some types of building work and development don't need permission as long as they are within defined thresholds. This is called permitted development.

Always check if you'll need permission before starting any work. 

Householder development

  • Some small alterations and extensions can be carried out to your house or in your garden without planning permission:
  • Single storey ground floor extensions
  • Ground floor extensions of more than one storey
  • Construction or alteration of a porch
  • Alteration of a roof
  • Access ramps
  • Changes to external appearance that are not an enlargement
  • Other building works
  • Hard surface - paving, patios and driveways
  • Decking and raised platforms
  • Flats
  • Gates, fences, walls or other means of enclosure
  • Minor developments within domestic gardens
  • Flues for a biomass heating system
  • Flues for a combined heat and power system
  • Ground and water source heat pumps
  • Free-standing wind turbines and air source heat pumps

The Scottish Government have produced useful flowcharts to guide you through if the above developments require planning permission.

Further detailed guidance on permitted development for householders produced by the Scottish Government can be found here.


Agricultural and forestry buildings

  • Some work for the purposes of agriculture can be done without planning permission:
  • Erection, extension or alteration of an agricultural building
  • Formation, alteration or maintenance of private ways on agricultural land
  • Excavation or engineering operations on agricultural land

Find out more about permitted development rights for agriculture and forestry.


Residential and flexible commercial use

On 1 April 2021, new permitted development rights were introduced which permits the limited conversion of agricultural and forestry buildings to dwellings to a flexible commercial use subject to certain criteria.

Find out more about permitted development rights for residential and flexible commercial uses in the page below:


Sundry minor operations

A number of minor works can be undertaken without planning permission:

  • Erecting or altering gates, fences, walls or other means of enclosure
  • Forming or constructing new access to roads
  • Cleaning or painting stone


Find out more about permitted development rights for sundry minor operations

Changes of use

Buildings and land are grouped into classes depending on how they are used. Any material change of use may require planning permission.

If a change of use does not involve a change of class then planning permission is not required unless a restriction has previously applied. In addition, some changes of class do not require planning permission unless a restriction has previously applied:

Other types of consent

Advertisement Consent

Advertisement Consent for the display of signage on buildings or land.

Certificate of Lawfulness (existing)

Used when a development or use has been carried out in the past without the proper permission being in place or where a development or use has been carried out not in line with the terms of the planning permission granted. It is a procedure that allows the planning authority to make a binding decision that such development or use may continue without fear of enforcement action.

Certificate of Lawfulness (proposed)

Where confirmation is sought that planning permission is not required for a proposed development or use of land/building(s), then a Certificate of Lawfulness for Proposed Use or Development can be sought. A certificate will provide proof that the Council, as Planning Authority, consider the development or use proposed to be lawful and that it does not require planning permission.

Where a certificate is sought and it is determined that planning permission is required, a refusal will be issued. This can be appealed via Scottish Ministers.

Listed Building Consent

Listed Building Consent for the alteration or extension (internal or external) to a Listed Building

Page last updated: 02/08/2023
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