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Does A Shipping Container Need a Planning Permission?

Updated: Aug 13


Structures made of Shipping containers are now accepted worldwide, but there can still be specific laws to be followed based on different regions. You need to make sure you are not breaking any rules and regulations before opting for a shipping container structure in any modified form.


It is essential to know the local laws of your region before ordering any type of shipping container structure. Although shipping container structures are mostly temporary or mobile, and these types usually don’t require a planning permit, the only way to be absolutely certain that all your actions are fully legal is to contact local authorities and explain to them what you intend to build.


Does A Shipping Container Need a Planning Permission?

Some mobile structures might not require planning permits, but if you intend to start a business, such as a shipping container restaurant, there are still permits you need to acquire, but those types of permits are not for building a structure, but for operating and running a business.


We cannot provide definite and final answers as we do not know which area or what part of the world you are living and the rules and regulations vary differently in different parts of the world. So the best is to get in touch with the respective people in charge or authorities and clear all your doubts.


What are Planning Permissions?


In almost all regions in the world, if you intend to build a permanent structure, you need to have planning permits. It means that the local civil authorities will check if your intended structure falls in line with all the rules and the regulations of the area. For example, they would want to make sure that your building follows all the safety guidelines such as fire emergency measures.


Another reason for the wide importance of planning permit is to make sure that the city or province will not be scarred by a new building. You shouldn’t be able to build a sky scraper in an area where every other structure is two stories. Not only it will damage the looks of the area, it will cause many problems, such as traffic, utility requirements which are far more than what is the region is designed to provide, and a massive concentration of population in an area which is not designed for that many people. Planning permits in general are the method which authorities use to make sure new buildings follow all the local rules and regulations.


Rules and Regulations


Generally speaking, it is more likely that you wouldn’t require planning permits for non-permanent structures made of shipping containers. Most laws in this regard are concerned with the development process, the engineering process, excavating operations, and other similar matters.


So, if you are planning to have a structure which is mobile or temporary, it is more probable that you won’t need a planning permit.If however, your building is not portable, and is not temporary, you need to comply with absolutely every law which is in place for normal buildings of the same type. Even if your structure is recyclable (as almost all shipping container structures are), if it’s not portable or temporary, you probably will require a planning permit.

We keep using terms such as ‘probably’ because these laws tend to depend on where you plan to build or set up your structure. There is no way for us to speak with certainty about whether you require a permit or not without knowing where you are, so if you take one thing from this article, it should be this: always check with your local authorities before building or setting up any type of structure.


Do I Need a Planning Permission for Having a Container Home?


While shipping container structures are not considered to be developed, you still need specific permission to make a home out of the shipping containers. You can use shipping containers to build your house, but it is still a house, and it should follow all the local guidelines for houses. For example, if there is a maximum 3 story limitation for houses in your area, you can’t build a 5 story building just because it’s made of shipping containers.


Does A Shipping Container Need a Planning Permission?

If you plan on adding a space to your house, that might require a planning permit as well. By adding any room or storage to your house, you might be exceeding the limits of your current permit. You could be adding another story which you are not allowed to, or you might reduce the green space in your property, which might fall below the legal threshold. In this matter too you should contact local authorities to make sure you won’t get into legal troubles later on.


Is There Any Option Where I Will Not Require Planning Permission for shipping containers?


Again, this depends on where you live. Some areas have very lax positions when it comes to structures, and especially shipping container structure, and some areas might have very rigid and limiting rules. But no matter where you live, it is far less for mobile structures to require planning permits. If it’s obvious that the structure is mobile, the argument can always be made that this structure is only there for a short period and will be moved, and thus it won’t need a permit.

We cannot stress this enough; call your local authorities and be absolutely certain about the planning permits you require and all their details, because this is the only reason to be sure that you won’t run into problems with the authorities.

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