In certain circumstances, it can be unclear if a proposed project qualifies as a permitted development. We often have our clients call us, asking if their new project would fall within permitted development, as there is often confusion around the ambiguity about what is permitted without making a planning submission.

In some instances, project plans may need to be adjusted slightly to ensure they meet the requirements and conditions. However, for peace of mind, we always suggest that our clients apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) prior to commencing any building work. This certification is not planning permission, but it acts as a form of proof that your building project is lawful and it’s advisable to apply for this certification even if your project is considered a permitted development.

So what is a Lawful Development Certificate?

A Certificate of Lawfulness is a non-compulsory certificate that confirms that the use, activity, operation and building work of a development project is lawful for planning control purposes.

It’s usually applied for when making changes to an existing property.

What are the benefits?

There are a few reasons why we recommend our clients apply for this certification.

  • The council cannot take enforcement action on the matter after certification is granted.
  • Applications can be made prior to property ownership, giving the new owner peace of mind.
  • It can improve the value of a property, both residential or commercial.
  • The results are not based on the council or neighbour’s opinion of your plans.
  • It is property specific and is not influenced by who owns of the property.

Applying for certification

Agora Architects is an award-winning RIBA Chartered architecture practice based in Attleborough, Norfolk. We are small, dynamic team of experienced architects, who believe that design is an organic process, which requires adaptability, flexibility and often a quirky approach to deliver structures that are timeless, contemporary and fit for purpose.

We offer the service of applying for a LDC on your behalf. If you are seeking to make changes to an existing property, we will audit your plans and put forward any recommendations to help you get the approval you are seeking.

For more information email us at