Use your home as a workplace

Building regulations and planning permission for home businesses


Certain considerations should be made regarding building regulations and planning permission if you plan to run a business from home.

Planning permission for home businesses

If running your business from home means that the use of the building changes a lot, or the activities that you undertake have an effect on the area where you live, you may need to apply for planning permission from your local council.

You may have to apply for planning permission if:

  • Your home will no longer be used mainly as a private residence. This is the key test - has it become business premises first and a home second?
  • Your business activities will lead to increased traffic or parking in a residential area.
  • Your business involves any unusual activities for a residential area.
  • Your business may disturb your neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance, such as noise or smells.
  • You are making major structural changes to your property, altering or extending it.

Building regulations for home businesses

If you need to make structural changes to your home, they must meet the requirements of the building regulations, which are enforced by local councils.

You can check informally with your local council whether your proposed development needs planning permission. For a fee, you can also apply for a formal decision. Find your local council in Northern Ireland.

Business rates for home businesses

You may be able to make minor business use of your home without paying business rates. But if you convert part of your home exclusively for business use (like a workshop), you may become liable for business rates on it. See changing your premises and business rates.