Before starting any building work, you may need to obtain planning permission and/or a building warrant. We're always asked what they are and what's the difference, so hopefully we've answered that here:

What is Planning Permission?

This is a statutory approval that may be required before building work can commence. It takes into account the proposed appearance, and the impact the work may have on neighbours and the surrounding area. Planning permission is usually needed if you want to erect a new building, make a major change to an existing building, or change the use of a building. In some cases outline planning permission is applied for first, to approve the development in principle. Full details, or “reserved matters”, still have to be approved before any work can start on site.

Not all work requires planning permission - garage conversions and small extensions can often be classed as permitted development, although a building warrant will still be required. Householder permitted development rights are explained here:

Planning permission lasts for three years, and can be extended at the discretion of the local authority if an application is made prior to the expiration date.

In some cases Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent are also required. We are happy to offer advice on all aspects of planning, and to discuss your proposals with the planning department on your behalf.

Planning applications require a fee to be paid to the local authority. It’s currently £202 for a house extension, and most councils will have a full list of fees on their websites.

What is a Building Warrant?

A building warrant is the approval granted by a Local Authority in order that a building may be constructed, extended, altered, demolished or converted, in accordance with the Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations 2004. It is the responsibility of the building owner to obtain a building warrant prior to commencing any works requiring approval.

Not all work requires a building warrant, but we strongly suggest that you discuss this with your local Building Standards department before you begin. We’re happy to advise and to discuss the proposals with them on your behalf.

There is a fee payable to the Local Authority when the building warrant application is lodged. It’s based on the estimated value of the project, and taken from a table of fees that most councils will have on their websites.

A Building Warrant is valid for three years after it is granted. An applicant must either finish the work within that period or apply for an extension of the warrant before the warrant expires. The council will inspect once the work is finished, and if all is in accordance with the approved drawings they will issue a completion certificate.