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Can You Make A Temporary Shelter A Permanent Facility?

There are many motivations for setting up temporary shelters, from setting up facilities at a short-term site that was always going to be removed once an event was concluded, to providing extra site space to meet an acute need or whilst more permanent dwellings were being established.

The implication of the term temporary is that such a facility should be as easy and quick to take down as it was to put up because ultimately it is not expected to last forever.

However, as cases such as Crystal Palace proved, sometimes a temporary shelter lasts longer than expected, and in some cases can find itself becoming an essential piece of architecture that a business needs to operate as usual.

By itself, that is not a problem as long as the temporary facility was good enough in the first place to meet the needs of the business. However, there are some considerations to make before you take this big step.

Check Regulatory Differences

If you want to make your temporary shelter permanent, you are not alone, as there are many cases where business owners have gotten so much value from their structures that they do not see any value in getting rid of them.

After all, there is no reason to get rid of something that is clearly working well, right?

One thing to be cautious about is ensuring that the building fulfils the requirements set in the Building Regulations, as there may be different rules in your local area for buildings that are set to remain on the site compared to buildings known to be temporary.

There are cases where planning permission would be granted for a temporary structure whilst a permanent building might not be accepted on the same stretch of land.

Contact Local Planning Authority

In some cases, particularly for large temporary warehouses or buildings set to last more than 28 days, you will need planning permission for your temporary structure, but when it comes to construction, it is always very important to consult your local planning authority, even if it is to confirm established permissions.

They will be able to confirm your rights, existing permitted development criteria and whether you need to submit a planning application for a building that is already there but that you want to make permanent.

Check Requirements Changes

Depending on the building regulations and the classification of the structure, the materials may need to be strengthened or changed outright, both to meet legal and regulatory requirements, as well as to ensure that it is built to last.

Often permanent structures require much stronger foundations to protect from seismic shifts, roofing may need strengthening to protect against snow and ice loads, and other walling materials may need to be replaced for security reasons to conform to other required standards.

In many respects, an effectively designed temporary structure may meet some or even potentially all of these standards with minimal changes required, but do not assume this is the case, and if you have any questions be sure to consult with building experts.


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