Self-build planning permission and building warrants

Last updated: 6 July 2017

If you want to build your own house from scratch there are things you have to do first.

One of these is getting permission from your local council to start your building work.

To do this you need to apply for planning permission and a building warrant.

Before applying, check to see if the plot of land you buy already has a planning permission application assigned to it. If it does you may have to build your house to its specifications, unless you submit a brand new application.

Planning permission

If the plot of land you're buying doesn't already have detailed planning permission, you need to obtain it before you start building on it.

Planning permission means asking the council to let you build on the land. Decisions are based on the Local Development Plan and will look at things like:

  • the size, layout, siting and external appearance of buildings
  • the infrastructure available - like roads and water supply
  • any landscaping needs
  • what you want to use the development for
  • environmental impacts

Even if the council agree you can build on your plot, they expect you to pay careful attention to the exact design of the building and where it's located according to the approved plans – especially if you're building in a conservation area or near a listed building.

You should try to get planning permission as early as possible because the process can take some time. Don't buy a plot or hire a builder before you get planning permission. If it's denied you may be stuck paying for a plot of land or a builder contract you don't want.

If you have an architect designing your home for you, you can ask them to apply for planning permission on your behalf.

Speak to a planning officer at the planning authority before sending them an application for planning permission. They'll let you know if there are any issues or restrictions you should be aware of.

Check further information on planning applications and permissions.

Building warrants

As well as planning permission, you need to apply for a building warrant before you're allowed to start building work on your home.

While planning permission is about how your house will look, a building warrant is about whether it meets building standards.

Find out how to get a building warrant.

Approved Certification

During the building process you can get parts of your house certified by Approved Certifiers. If they're happy it meets building standards they'll give you a certificate that you can give the council as part of your application.