Planning Permission for Container Homes

The requirements for planning permission for shipping containers can vary depending on a number of factors. In many cases, however, shipping containers do not require planning permission as they can be considered ‘non-permanent’. If you want to buy one of our shipping container homes we would recommend that you talk to your Local Planning Authority (LPA) about whether planning permission is required for your particular project, circumstances and location.

Local Authority

The requirements for planning permission will depend on where you are in the UK and which Local Authority your property or land falls under. The attitudes of Local Authorities differ from place to place so it is worth getting guidance from your LPA. Similar projects may not require planning permission under one Local Authority while under a different Local Authority they might.


If the proposed site for the container home is in a particular area, it is likely to require planning permission. For example, if the proposed site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a National Park or a World Heritage Site planning permission will be required. This is also the case if you live in the Norfolk Broads or if you want to put a shipping container dwelling in the curtilage (i.e. the land surrounding a house of a listed building). These locations may have some restricted permitted development rights for householders.

Siting on Empty Land

If you buy land with the intention of placing a container home on it to live in, you may need planning permission as it could constitute a ‘change of use’ of that land. This will definitely be the case if you have bought agricultural land. Gaining planning permission is often a key part of building new residential buildings on empty land and siting shipping container homes for residential purposes is unlikely to be any different.

Siting in Gardens & Curtilage

Placing shipping containers in your garden can be a great way to give yourself more storage space or to add a garden room or office. Generally, placing shipping containers in the curtilage of your home will not require planning permission which can offer a significant advantage over a conventional brick-built house.

Our shipping container homes do not have concrete floors or require full and complete foundations, only support on each external corner, which means that many LPAs will class them as exempt from planning permission. The fact that shipping containers do not need to be attached to the ground and are bought to the site ready-made can also help to qualify them as non-permanent or exempt. Shipping containers can be considered non-permanent but can also fall under the category of ‘outbuildings’ (depending on the attitude of your LPA).

Outbuildings are considered permitted development and do not require an application for planning permission. There are, however, a number of rules and conditions that outbuildings must adhere to in order to qualify as permitted development. The outbuilding will need planning permission if it is a separate, self-contained, living accommodation. You can find out more about the conditions for permitted development at the Planning Portal site.

If you are planning on placing a shipping container on your property where it will be near a road junction or next to a highway you will likely need to apply for planning permission.

Planning Permission Responsibility

The ultimate responsibility for making sure whether you need planning permission does lie with you. If you are working with an architect, then they might be able to advise you but if you are unsure, you can find out who your Local Planning Authority is at the Planning Portal website.

Working with You

In the event that you do need planning permission, our experts can work with you to make sure you are able to submit plans that meet the requirements of your Planning Authority. However, none of the container homes we have constructed so far have needed planning permission, so bear in mind that this is only a possibility.

Compliant With Building Regulations

Once you have checked with your Local Planning Authority, you can place your order with us safe in the knowledge that you’ll be settling into your home with no hiccups. We can also construct our containers so that they comply fully with Building Regulations – one less thing for you to worry about.

Call us now on 01992 522 221, or…

We are confident that the process will be hassle-free and straightforward, so give us a call today or get in touch via the contact form to get the ball rolling.

To discuss the options or obtain a quote, call MAC now on 01992 522 221.