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How to make a planning application

Certificates of lawfulness

There are certain types of development that don't need planning permission known as 'permitted development'. They are mostly small scale works.

Do I need planning permission? explains what might be permitted and what you might need a planning application for.

If you think it is permitted, you should apply for a certificate of lawfulness from us.

This is the only way you can get a legally binding document on whether a proposed or existing use of land does not need planning permission.

Any advice we give you in person, over the phone or in reply to a letter is only informal advice.

How much will it cost?

For a proposed use or development

The cost is half of the planning application costs. See the scale of fees from 1 April 2022

For an existing use or development

If you have already made a change the cost is the same as a full planning application. This is what is known as a retrospective application. See the scale of fees from 1 April 2022

There is also a fee calculator on ePlanning Scotland.

How to apply

Online via ePlanning Scotland - this lets you pay online too.

Or you can download a certificate of lawfulness form, complete it and send to the Planning and Building Standards office

Remember this is only about planning and does not cover building regulations.


Getting a certificate of lawfulness has a number of benefits:

  • it is a planning determination with legal status
  • it gives certainty to the landowner/developers and anyone who might buy the land/buildings
  • it can help in the sale of a house, showing that an extension, for example, is lawful

What we look at

If the use or development is lawful when you apply then we must give you a certificate. In all other cases we will refuse the application.

If your application is refused

If it is refused or partly refused or if we failed to give you an answer within the statutory two months, you have the right of appeal.

View existing and proposed certificates of lawfulness

You can search for existing and proposed certificates of lawfulness (using the 'application type' drop down). As these are permitted they will not have any representations (objections) against them.