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Understanding planning permission for temporary buildings

Understanding planning permission for temporary buildings

How we can help you avoid delays and stay compliant
2021-07-21 22:00:00 2021-08-09 03:29:33
Understanding planning Understanding planning

Most of our clients come to us looking for a speedy solution to their need for more space. As planning permission can take several weeks (and indeed months) we talked to David O’Connor at Neptune Planning in Tamworth to find out how we can best help our clients resolve the need-it-now v planning permission challenge.

There are basically three routes forward when installing a Smart-Space temporary building:

  1. You can get professional advice and ascertain that the building meets all the criteria for a permitted development.
  2. You can go through all of the necessary processes to get planning permission.
  3. Or you can take a risk, install your building and apply for planning permission retrospectively.

Each of these three ways of enjoying a compliant build are worth considering. For a quick and positive experience we can help with every aspect of planning – they know the systems, what to expect and can guide you towards the quickest, least expensive and satisfactory outcome.

We know that our clients usually need a temporary building for additional storage or workshop space, occasionally school buildings - a quick fix for any number of reasons. Quite often winning new contracts drive the need and so the people who come to us need some help in managing their plans on time and within budget.

Permitted development

There are a set of criteria that a building must meet before it can be deemed to fall outside of formal planning application requirements. They include all manner of things such as size, location, intended use, boundaries, eco considerations, impact on neighbours, access, transport, parking – to name just a few.

“With a commercial building it’s important to note that every single situation needs to be assessed individually” explained David O’Connor, MD of Neptune Planning in Tamworth. “There is no single rule that generically signs off any property automatically, everything has to be assessed in context.”

Planning permission

The process of considering planning permission usually takes between 8 and 13 weeks as the local authorities have a considerable amount of procedures to follow. This includes a myriad of local consultations, reports and checks. Every application needs to contain all of the right information that relates to the proposed building – even with a temporary building that doesn’t have foundations.

The application will be either be considered ‘valid’ and have everything required to take it forward or it might be rejected as ‘invalid’ where there is a lack of necessary information. The council also has the power to request further reports from a valid application if required.

Again, it’s always best to work alongside an experienced professional who can ensure you don’t suffer delays because you were missing a vital plan, report or detail.

Retrospective planning permission

We understand that additional space, especially when it’s temporary, can be a question of fast turnaround and that’s something we’re really proud to deliver, especially as our supply chain is UK-based and our team moves quickly.

We know that quite often our clients do their initial assessments and apply for planning retrospectively. There’s an element of risk here as the building might need to be adapted to meet the council’s requirements. In extreme circumstances you might be asked to take it down completely but we are told this is rare. If you have done your due diligence and our site surveys haven’t uncovered anything untoward you might be prepared to continue whilst planning permission follows its 8-13 week course. This won’t affect your application in any way – it costs the same, it will be treated the same – you just run the risk of changes being requested. Your pay-off in terms of having immediate space might be worth the gamble.

The nature of a temporary building means it is straightforward to erect and dismantle – even to shorten or lengthen – as required. Many of our clients opt for retrospective planning permission successfully. However it does carry a degree of risk and we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t point that out.

Avoiding the delays

Delays tend to arise when there’s missing information. The bottom line is to invest from the outset in professional hand-holding to make sure you circumnavigate these potential hiccups and provide everything in your first application. At Smart-Space we have a professional, experienced team who can manage all of this for you as part of our service.


Jason Lynock
Jason Lynock Sales Director


Portable Venues (Group) Ltd

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