How Big Can You Build a Shed Without Planning Permission?

There are several steps to preparing for your new outdoor storage shed. The first is to find the ideal design. The second is to choose the perfect location in your backyard, and the third is to determine whether you need planning permission for your shed. Now, if you’re thinking size is the only factor that plays a part in the necessity of a building permit, think again. Unfortunately, due to the fact that each city has different rules and regulations, there is not a cut and dry answer that fits everyone. However, this guide serves to help you understand the purpose of planning permissions, provide general guidelines as to the requirements, and how you acquire the necessary permits for your new outdoor storage building. 

What Does Obtaining Planning Permission Mean? 

Planning permission sounds like a complicated process, but it is more commonly known as receiving a building permit to build a new structure on your property or even an addition to an existing structure. It is a simple process that can save you a lot of heartache and grief.

Consequences for Not Receiving Planning Permission

Failure to receive proper planning permissions can have serious negative consequences. For starters, you can be slapped with substantial penalties and fines if it is discovered that a storage building is under construction without the proper building permits. 

If you do not obtain planning permissions your city or county can order you to move the structure or tear it down. Further issues can arise, if you decide to put your home on the market in the future or if damage occurs to the building or as a result of the shed not being properly inspected. 

Why Should You Get a Permit?

In addition to saving yourself the aggravation of penalties, fines, and potentially losing your structure, you need to get a building permit to make sure you are in compliance with your city or county’s regulations and building codes. Other reasons for obtaining planning permission include:

  • If you decide to hire a builder, a permit will ensure corners are not cut and if they are you will find out before it is too late.

  • Should you decide to tackle the project yourself, a permit will help to keep you on the right track.

  • Building without a permit may void your homeowner’s insurance. Proper planning permissions will keep your insurance active.

  • If you’re unsure about whether you need a permit, you should get one.

Does the Size of Your Shed Dictate If You Need Planning Permission?

The answer is yes and know. Let’s say your shed will be used purely for storage and nothing else, then size alone may be enough to decide whether you need a permit. However, if you decide to add extras such as electricity, it may not matter how small your shed is, you will probably still need a permit.

Each local municipality is responsible for governing the rules and regulations pertaining to the building of outdoor storage buildings. To make sure you are in complete compliance, you should check with your city’s Planning and Zoning as well as your Homeowner’s Association (if you have one). This is the safest way to make sure you are following regulations. 

In certain areas, storage sheds below a specified square footage do not need a building permit. However, there are often other factors at play as well. While each city’s regulations are different, here are some general guidelines. You will need a permit if:

  • You plan on wiring your outdoor storage building with electricity

  • Plumbing will be run to the structure

  • If the shed is above certain square footage and height

  • You plan on using it for an office that you will see clients out of. 

These are just general guidelines. There may be special requirements if you live in an area that is susceptible to harsh weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes.

How Do You Get Planning Permission?

You’ve confirmed that you do indeed need a building permit. How do you go about obtaining one? You must fill out a permit application for all of the permits required for your project. Information you have to provide may include shed plans, construction materials, site location on the property, etc. This will vary depending on where you live. 

Once you’ve submitted the application and paid the associated fees, you will receive a certificate to begin work!

Better Safe Than Sorry!

It is always better to err on the side of caution and make sure you have planning permission before you begin on your structure to prevent wasted time and money. Start building your shed by acquiring free shed plans from