Do I need planning permission to build a garage in Scotland?

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You’re all excited about your braw new timber garage. It’s got enough space to cover your fauncy car and pack away all those “things” that you just can’t find any space for. 

But wait a minute! Suddenly Moira, from next door is ragin’ becuase your brand spanking new garage is blocking out her sunlight☀️ 

She’s on the phone to the council before you can say timber​​ garage☎️

It’s your home, but the council gets awfy funny when you throw up buildings where they aren’t supposed to be. Fair enough, we wouldn’t want our neighbours throwing up any old monstrosity in their garden and getting away with it.

Our bonnie timber garages certainly don’t fall under the monstrosity category, but due to the size and positioning, they might need planning permission. 

Planning permission isn’t required for every building, but it is for some. And with penalties including fines and destruction for buildings breaching the planning regulations, it’s definitely not something we want to ignore. 

In this blog, we’re going to explore whether you need planning permission for your garage in Scotland. 

What is planning permission?

Planning permission refers to the consent required from your local authority for a proposed building project. It is usually required for a new home or extensive changes to an existing one. Its purpose is to prevent “inappropriate” developments. 

The Planning team is the Ted Hastings of the building world. They are after “one thing, and one thing only”. But, in this case, it’s aesthetics and the overall impact that the building will have on the surrounding environment (not bent coppers)

Ps. Sorry if you aren’t a Line of Duty fan that joke will be totally lost on you (also watch Line of Duty).

They don’t really care for the safety and the structure of the building (that’s for building warrants). They just want to know that Moira next door won’t be affected by your building and call them ragin. 

However, luckily for us, not every single building will require planning permission.

Can you build a garage using permitted development?

In fact, you can get away with quite a lot under the scope of “permitted development”. Which certainly makes our job a little easier for the most part, and your life a little less stressful. 

Permitted development rights are an automatic grant of planning permission that allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.

To figure out whether your building falls into the scope of permitted development you will need to answer the following questions:

  • Is it located at the back of the house?
  • Does it (or any other development) take up more than half of the grounds behind your home?
  • Will you (or someone else) live in the garage?
  • Does the highest point exceed 4 metres?
  • Is any part of the building that is a metre or less from the boundary higher than 2.5 metres?
  • Are the eaves (the part where the wall meets the roof) higher than 3 metres?
  • Is your home in a conservation area?

If you can answer no, to all the above questions then you will likely be able to get away with permitted development. Result!

To find out more about the planning permission regulations for Scotland check out this page.

The problem with garages is that they often don’t fall under permitted development requirements due to their positioning and size. 

How do you apply for planning permission for a garage in Scotland?

Even if you don’t comply with the above, obtaining planning permission is fairly straightforward, and we’re always on hand if you have any questions.

You’ll have to have all the following to submit your planning application: 

  • a description of the development
  • the name and address of the person applying an agent (if any)
  • a postal address of the land or a description of the location of the land
  • a certificate of ownership and notice to owners or tenants of agricultural holdings
  • a plan which clearly identifies the location of the application site
  • other plans and drawings needed to describe the proposed development
  • a fee

Here’s an example of the documents you’ll need to submit:

planning permission portal example

It takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the council to process your planning application. During this process, your neighbours will be notified and invited to submit a comment if they have any concerns (more on that later).

Throughout the planning application, the planning department may request additional information. Alternatively, on acceptance, they may stipulate that it needs to look a certain way ie. be painted a certain colour, or have a certain material on the roof. 

The planning team are usually pretty amicable and usually won’t go to the extreme of rejecting planning applications. 

Can your neighbours reject your garage planning application?

This is the point where people get twitchy. 

What if your neighbours don’t want you to have a new garage and try and block the permission?

There was that one time you didn’t wave to Moira when you were rushing out the door with bairns in hand, and now she’s got it out for you. You just know that if you submit a planning application she’ll have something to say about it. 

But dinnae worry, there are only a handful of reasons that your neighbours can legitimately object that the planning council will consider:

Overlooking: if your building will be visible and look into your neighbour’s property

Visual Impact: hard to contest but will stand in conservation areas

Light Disruption: blocking the sun

Noise/Disturbance: use of the building

So don’t worry, your neighbours can’t object just because they’re jealous of your sexaaay new garage. There has to be a legitimate reason that the planning department recognises as having a genuine impact on the environment. 

If you are installing a Gillies & Mackay garage, then we offer a planning application service (costs below), or can help you find an architect to do it for you.

How much does it cost to apply for garage planning permission?

So, what is this all going to cost you? 

You’re already forking out to build a garage, so you’re going to want to know how much more to budget. 

The cost can vary depending on a few factors, however, you can use this fee calculator to figure out approximately how much your planning application will cost. 

If you fancy a Gillies & Mackay garage and require planning permission then we offer a planning application service for £550. This includes documents for application, drawings, council application fee and application management. However, this is only available for Gillies & MacKay garage customers. 

What about just…not applying?

Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain and another thing to add to the to-do list and the budget. It would be easier if you didn’t have to apply – or would it. 

There is a cost to not applying for planning permission if you need it. You will get hit with a fine, or worst-case scenario need to pull down your brand new garage. Certainly not what you want to be doing after spending thousands of pounds on a new timber garage. 

So, while it takes a little time and money upfront it’s definitely worth it to save you the hassle and money down the line. 

garage planning

Building Warrant vs Planning Permission: Which one do you need to build a garage?

Ah, Building Control! This one is a little more tricky and can make a huge difference to the cost of the garage project. 

Whereas the planning team are interested in the building’s appearance, building control is concerned with the structure of your building. They want to ensure that it’s safe, particularly with regards to fire safety. 

Applications can get pretty technical and require an engineer to certify the compliance of your building. 

It’s definitely, something that is best left to the experts. So if you want to avoid the expense of architects, engineers and application fees, then we recommend you stay within the permitted development restrictions. And they are that:

  • the building cannot have mains plumbing or water wastage,
  • the building is under 30m2.

Additionally, if the garage is over a certain size, then you will have to fireproof the boundary wall but you won’t need to submit an application for that. 

You’ll notice that our double garage usually goes up to 30m2. This is to avoid applying for a building warrant. If you want a garage bigger than this then we would usually recommend splitting the garage into two if you can. Otherwise, you will have to apply for a building warrant. 

If you do need to apply for a building warrant then we can help you find an architect to do this for you if you are buying from G&M.

Ready to get some help with your garage?

Planning permission is one of those big scary things that a lot of people dread. 

What do you need to submit?

What if your application is rejected?

But you might not need it, and if you do, it’s not as scary as you might think (especially with us on hand to help). If you’re really worried about it, then just stick within the realms of permitted development.

If you want to find out more about our garages then you can download the Garage Prep Guide. This will help you get to grips with everything you need to know before you order a garage. 

If you’re ready to get going on your garage installation then you can book a consultation with one of our team. We can answer any questions you have, organise your building and even help with planning applications for our own buildings. 

Ps. If you’re called Moira, please know we choose that name at random for our nightmare neighbour and we welcome you with open arms too. You can insert the name of whatever neighbour is annoying you instead.