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Planning Permission And Fire Regulations For Steel Buildings

This is one of the most common questions when it comes to steel buildings – do steel buildings need planning permission? At Springfield Steel, we recommend that you take advice from your local planning authority. You should contact them and arrange a chat about your intended steel building project, this initial meeting should give you a good indication about whether you will get to go ahead for planning permission or not. You can also seek other advice for different areas, sites and locations.

The next steps will involve your local planning permission authority letting you make a pre application. This will take around 2 to 3 weeks and you should then find out if your planning application has been approved, the authority can also provide you with information regarding any potential problems, as well as the chance for you to discuss them before you proceed with the application. Sometimes you may be asked to provide an environmental statement alongside your application, you will be advised on this.


In the majority of cases, steel buildings will require planning permission, but some will be referred to as ‘permitted development rights’, this is where planning permission won’t be necessary. This also goes for industrial buildings, warehouses, gyms, retail and shops.


When it comes to planning permission, this will be needed for any new types of commercial buildings – those which are over 4 metres in height. The usual time for planning permission procedures is from 6 to 8 weeks, but all local authorities and councils are different, so some may take a lot longer.


This will be needed for temporary steel buildings which are going to be used for over 28 days, sometimes temporary planning permission will be provided for periods of up to 7 years, so it is worth asking for advice on this.

Planning permission isn’t required for industrial buildings that are within 10 metres of the area of land surrounding boundaries, it must also not be 5 metres high. A new building isn’t permitted to be taller than 15 metres, the higher the height of the building with the surrounding areas that are lower. The area space of a new building shouldn’t exceed more than 100 square metres, the land outside must also not be over 200 metres.

Any alterations to existing buildings, planning permission isn’t needed as long as the building isn’t over 5 metres tall, subject to the being within 10 metres of the boundary.

These are also applicable:

The development needs to be in the existing boundary of the current building and not come with 5m of the surrounding area land.

  • Should not be within the boundaries of a listed building
  • Not reduce car parking or turning space
  • The new space must relate to the existing use of the building

You can find the full planning permission regulations for industrial buildings on the UK Planning Portal.


In the UK building regulations will also require that steel buildings maintain their structural stability when exposed to fire. The regulations can vary in the UK but tend to start with steel buildings needing to retain their load-bearing capacity for a reasonable amount of time, this will allow people inside the building to escape.

Regulations will vary on the size as well as the use of the building and its position in relation to the property boundary. It’s important that fire can’t spread easily to neighbouring properties. You can find the full details of regulations and approved documents on the Government’s Planning Portal.


There has been lots of research when it comes to the behaviour and effect of fire on steel buildings, this has resulted in a lot of fire protection solutions for steel buildings and frames becoming available.

Hot rolled steel frames can be treated with intumescent paint, cold rolled steel counterparts will react differently in a fire, this means that the product can’t be coated in intumescent paint. So when it comes to protecting columns, fire protection boards will be needed and they will provide fire resistance of up to 1.5 hours.

For more information on the planning permission and the fire protection regulations needed for steel buildings, feel free to get in touch with the team at Springfield Steel today.

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