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Attach something to or alter the outside of your flat

If you own a flat, you may want to add or change something on its external surface (its outside wall).

This guidance only applies if your flat is a dwelling. This means it's a flat you live in and is not used as a business premise to any significant degree.

Permitted development

Many additions or improvements you want to make to the outside of your flat can be done without requesting planning permission.

If they meet a set of rules, you can add them without having to apply for it. This is called 'permitted development'.

Permitted development in this case only applies to additions or alterations that do not reach out more than a metre from your flat.

These include:

  • replacement or new windows and doors (as long as you are not altering the dimensions of the existing window or door)
  • solar panels
  • satellite dishes
  • flues (exhaust pipes)

You can add something to the outside of your flat through permitted development as long as it does not make the flat larger, and is not:

  • a balcony, roof terrace or raised platform
  • a wind turbine
  • in a conservation area or within the curtilage of a listed building

For a more detailed explanation of what's considered a permitted development when attaching something to or altering the outside of your flat, read the Scottish Government's Guidance on Householder Permitted Development rights publication and go to chapter 5.

There are also some additions that count as permitted development, but have different requirements. These additions include:

  • a flue forming part of a biomass heating system
  • a flue forming part of a combined heat and power system
  • an air source heat pump
  • CCTV

Planning permission

If the addition or improvement you want to add does not meet the conditions for permitted development, you have to apply for planning permission.

Find out how to apply for planning permission, or contact your Planning Authority for further information.

Aberdeen City Council Aberdeenshire Council Angus Council Argyll and Bute Council Cairngorms National Park Authority Clackmannanshire Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) Dumfries & Galloway Council Dundee City Council East Ayrshire Council East Dunbartonshire Council East Lothian Council East Renfrewshire Council Edinburgh Council Falkirk Council Fife Council Glasgow City Council Highland Council Inverclyde Council Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority Midlothian Council Moray Council North Ayrshire Council North Lanarkshire Council Orkney Islands Council Perth & Kinross Council Renfrewshire Council Scottish Borders Council Shetland Islands Council South Ayrshire Council South Lanarkshire Council Stirling Council West Dunbartonshire Council West Lothian Council

You should always check with your council's planning department to see whether you need to apply for planning permission. Even if you meet the permitted development rules, there may be other approvals you'll need to get.

Other approvals

You might need other approvals before you can carry out work. For example, you might need approval under the building regulations from the local council.

If you do not own the land on which the development is being carried out (for example, if you're a tenant or the land's in joint ownership), you need to get the landowner's permission.

If you live in a listed building you'll also need to obtain listed building consent.

It's your responsibility to make sure you get any necessary approval.

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