How big can I build a shed without planning permission?

If you prefer to sidestep the complexities of seeking approval for constructing a shed, there’s good news – a solution is at hand.

Typically, planning consent is not necessary for a shed or outbuilding, if its proposed floor area is below 15 square metres, it does not include sleeping accommodations, and the whole structure does not exceed a height of 2.5 metres (if it is located within 2 metres of the property boundary). Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions so, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with the legal requirements before commencing construction.

If you own property or land, it is your responsibility to ensure that any structures you erect comply with relevant planning regulations and building codes. Failure to adhere to these regulations may result in the need to dismantle your shed or outbuilding. It is prudent to consult with the appropriate local planning authority and building control services before initiating any construction project. Locate your local planning department through the government’s online planning portal, and our blog on planning permissions can also provide valuable information. The team at National Timber Buildings is always willing to collaborate with customers to facilitate project approval.

In a nutshell, outbuildings such as sheds, are covered by ‘permitted development rights’, a type of planning classification which states that, if you abide by certain rules, you are granted automatic planning permission from your local authority without the need to make an application.

  • Do I need planning permission to sleep in my shed?

    Yes! A garden shed or other outbuilding cannot be used for residential uses like a bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen without planning approval.
    A shed that adheres to permitted development rules and which is used for storage will not typically need approval.

  • Do I need planning permission to run electricity to my shed?

    Section P of the Building Regulations states that installing electricity to outbuildings including sheds is notifiable.
    You need to give building notice or else submit full plans of the installation before any work commences.Plus, when the outbuilding is finished, it must be signed off by a Part P compliant professional.

  • Can the council make me take down my shed?

    If your planned shed does not meet permitted development guidelines and have carried out your build without seeking planning approval from your local council, then yes, the planning department can demand that you take the shed down.

  • Do I need planning permission to run a business from my shed?

    Yes, if you intend to run a business for your garden shed, you will likely need planning permission.

  • How close can I put a shed to my neighbours’ fence?

    In most UK cases, you can build a shed next to your neighbour’s fence, if you adhere to the rules of permitted development. The most important things are that the shed’s total height must not exceed 2.5m if it is located within 2 metres of the property boundary.


Do you need planning permission?

If you live in England or Wales, you will NOT need to apply for planning permission for your shed provided it meets the following permitted development criteria:

  • The shed, excluding the house area, must not occupy more than 50% of the garden.
  • Placement of the shed should not be forward of a wall constituting the principal house elevation, meaning it cannot be situated in front of the house.
  • The shed is limited to a single storey, featuring a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and an overall height of 4 metres with a dual-pitched roof, or 3 meters in alternative roof configurations.
  • If the shed is within 2 metres of the property boundary, its entire structure should not exceed a height of 2.5 metres.
  • The shed is devoid of a veranda or balcony, and raised platforms like decking should not surpass 30cm in height from ground level.
  • The floor area is capped at 15 square metres, though up to 30 square metres may be permissible under specific conditions falling under permitted development.
  • Solely designated for domestic use by the house occupants, the shed must lack sleeping accommodations.

We always advise checking the proposed design of your shed with your local council, no matter how sure you are that it meets permitted development criteria.

Exceptions to the rules

As with most things in life, there are a few exceptions to the rules. Here are some of the most common:

The intended use of your shed

If you’re considering adding a bedroom or toilet to your shed, check if planning permission is required. Creating independent living spaces necessitates planning permission and compliance with building regulations. Setting up a home office typically involves a simple planning application, but potential visitor numbers should be considered. Keeping animals in an outbuilding is generally allowed for personal use or enjoyment, such as poultry, bees, pets, birds, or other livestock, if it serves the domestic needs of the dwelling house’s occupants.

Listed buildings

Living in a listed building typically requires obtaining Listed Building Consent for any construction work. If the development involves land around a listed building, a planning application is likely necessary unless Listed Building Consent has already been obtained. For guidance, consult your local planning office.

Designated land

Protected areas, such as world heritage sites, conservation areas, and national parks, have restrictions on outbuildings. For permitted development, structures beyond 20 metres from the house walls should not cover more than 10 square metres in designated land. Additional constraints exist, so it’s advisable to contact the local planning department for detailed information.


If you own separate woodland and wish to construct a shed for tool or equipment storage, obtaining planning permission is necessary for any permanent structure.

The rules of permitted development are stricter in Scotland, where you need planning permission if any part of yoru shed comes within one metre of a neighbouring property or is more than 2.5 metres high. The rules different in Northern Ireland too. Always check for clarification before you begin works.

If you are considering a custom-made shed or timber-frame building that will complement your property, why not request our brochure free of charge for inspiration. Alternatively, contact us for a chat at your convenience.