Planning it and paying for it

What is planning
permission?

What is it?

You'll need planning permission for some home improvements. It takes account of accessibility, environmental impact and a number of other factors.

Get advice from your builder and your local council before you apply for planning permission, in case there's anything you've overlooked.

In some cases you won't need planning permission but you will need to comply with building regulations. Check with your local planning authority to see if you need permission for the work you're going to do.

Why do you need permission and how does it work?

Why do you need planning permission?

  • If everyone in the country could build, or use land for whatever they wanted, it would be chaos!
  • Planning permission is in place to control the level and type of work people can do to their property
  • It takes into account appearance, road accessibility and the environmental impact of any work to your property.

How do I get planning permission?

  • You'll need to send your application along with plans and drawings plans for the work to the planning authorities, or you can apply online using the ePlanning Scotland website.
  • You'll have to pay a fee so check with your Planning Authority to see how much this is
  • You application will be published on the Planning Authority's website and the authority will tell your immediate neighbours of your application
  • You can use template letters to contact your neighbours in advance. You can find these on a number of websites, and you can see an example on the Letter Expert website
  • The Planning Authority will then decide whether to grant permission.

What are building regulations?

Building regulations cover almost every aspect of any major construction work, from damp-proofing and ventilation to fire safety.

The regulations are there to ensure that the build is safe and meets standards, especially in areas like energy efficiency and sustainability. You can find detailed information about the regulations on the mygov.scot website.

Paying for home improvements

Depending on the type of work you are looking to do, how much it's likely to cost and how soon you need to do it, you have a few different options. For long term projects, you could look to save up but for more urgent or larger pieces you may consider adding to your mortgage.
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Set a savings goal

If you want to save up the cash to pay for the work on your property, you can set a savings goal linked to your savings account to help you get there.
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Borrowing to pay for improvements

Take a look at the options available to you if you're over 18 and thinking about borrowing money to pay for home improvements.
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Borrowing more on your mortgage

You could also borrow more on top of your existing mortgage for a range of reasons. Read our guide to learn more.

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