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Attach something to or alter the outside of your house

At some point, you may want to add something to your house that has to fit on the outside. If you want to do this, you should first check to see if you need to apply for planning permission. 

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

Permitted development

Many minor additions or improvements you want to make to the outside of your home can be done without applying for 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 counts for additions that do not reach out more than a metre from where it is attached on your home.

These include:

  • replacement windows
  • solar panels
  • satellite dishes
  • flues (exhaust pipes)

You also have to make sure that any materials you use for roof coverings look similar to the existing roof.

For a more detailed explanation of what's considered a permitted development when attaching something to or altering the outside of your house, read the Scottish Government's Guidance on Householder Permitted Development rights publication and go to section 4.61. 

There are some additions that do not count as permitted development even if they stay within a metre of your home. You will need to apply for planning permission for:

  • balconies
  • roof terraces
  • raised platforms
  • wind turbines
  • if your home is in a conservation area

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

Find out more about the requirements for these additions in sections 6 and 7 of the Scottish Government's Guidance on Householder Permitted Development rights publication.

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 local authority for further information.

Aberdeen City CouncilAberdeenshire CouncilAngus CouncilArgyll and Bute CouncilCairngorms National Park AuthorityClackmannanshire CouncilComhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)Dumfries & Galloway CouncilDundee City CouncilEast Ayrshire CouncilEast Dunbartonshire CouncilEast Lothian CouncilEast Renfrewshire CouncilEdinburgh CouncilFalkirk CouncilFife CouncilGlasgow City CouncilHighland CouncilInverclyde CouncilLoch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park AuthorityMidlothian CouncilMoray CouncilNorth Ayrshire CouncilNorth Lanarkshire CouncilOrkney Islands CouncilPerth & Kinross CouncilRenfrewshire CouncilScottish Borders CouncilShetland Islands CouncilSouth Ayrshire CouncilSouth Lanarkshire CouncilStirling CouncilWest Dunbartonshire CouncilWest 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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