Planning permission for air conditioning - do you need it? Read about planning permission for air conditioning and find out more!

Planning permission for air conditioning

If you’re installing an air conditioning unit in a listed property or apartment, you will most likely need planning permission. We are constantly asked, Do you need planning permission for air conditioning?

At Cool You, we’re experts in all things air conditioning. In this article, we’re going to share everything you need to know about planning permission for air conditioning and installing your next system.


Air conditioning units are hugely popular worldwide. In London, they are seen as a must-have in most flats and apartments.

The various benefits of being able to control the climate in homes, offices and shops are significant. This means that more and more people have air conditioning solutions installed daily.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that you’re probably going to need planning permission.

Conventional air conditioning solutions. These systems will have a condenser box on the outside or penetrations to the exterior. Planning permission will be required before installing an external condenser on a property.

Whether you live in a new building or a listed property, conventional air conditioning requires permission from your landlord or the council.

Seeking planning permission for air conditioning

The planning permission process is slightly more long-winded than you might expect.

Applying for planning permission is usually associated with larger-scale projects.

Most people know they need to apply for permission when building something new. Also, when making major changes to a building, such as having an extension.

However, homeowners might be more surprised to find out that installing an air conditioning solution will require the same permission.

If you carry out an air conditioning installation without planning permission, you will be served with an ‘enforcement notice’. You’ll then be forced to remove the air conditioning unit.

So, if you plan on installing an air conditioner, you must apply for planning permission. Here’s how you go about it.

Applying for planning permission for air conditioning?

The first step is to contact the local authority and request permission. It’s essential that you clearly detail all of the work you’ll be carrying out. This will take time.

Most planning permission requests will take authorities up to eight weeks to process. Some can even take as long as 13 weeks.

If you want an AC unit installed to keep you cool during the warmer months, keep this in mind. Apply for permission early!

The next step. This is, of course, dependent on the authorities accepting the request (and only then). Begin talking to the building management about your proposal.

If you own your property, you won’t have to worry about this step. However, running your plans by the building manager is always a good idea. Even if you own a flat in an apartment building.

From experience, we’ve found that just because the local authority accepts the proposal doesn’t necessarily mean the building manager is guaranteed to.

Here lies the biggest problem. Most of the time, if you’re living in an apartment in a central location, your request will likely be declined.

You’re not the owner of the external demise of your property. So you’re unable to make any penetrations to the outside yourself.

The reason for this is because of noise and appearance. The noise of a conventional system is quite loud and can be disruptive for neighbours.

Many buildings also have restrictions on the exterior of the property. So that they can maintain the look of the building.

We won’t lie. Air conditioning boxes can be ugly things.

They’re pretty big and generally quite bland. Stylistically, they will be out of sync with the rest of the building.

When a unit is new, it might not look too bad. But give it time, and it’s guaranteed to weather. Rust and dirt are inevitable. Local authorities, particularly building managers, are well aware of this.

A new unit might not compromise the image of a building. But one that’s been exposed to the elements most certainly will. However, it will compromise the look of any historic or listed properties.

Air conditioning units can be noisy, too. Theoretically, a brand-new air conditioning unit shouldn’t be causing too much noise pollution.

But over time, and if a unit hasn’t been serviced, that annoying whining sound will inevitably begin.

And it won’t just be the unit whining! When your neighbour is trying to enjoy a lovely summer’s evening, and all they can hear is your air conditioning unit groaning a couple of metres above their heads, they’ll be rightly grieved. Building managers are all too wary of this.

It’s for these reasons that, the vast majority of the time, your request will be declined. So what are the alternatives?

Avoiding planning permission with Cool You

Fortunately, we provide a fantastic way to avoid these hurdles at Cool You. Our solutions are entirely internal, meaning there are no outside penetrations or an outside condenser.

That’s why our service will not affect your neighbours or exterior property.

Most significantly, everything is contained inside your property. Our internal solution means you won’t require any planning permission for the installation.

You can bypass the risk and hassle of dealing with local authorities and building managers.

What about sound and noise? The unique design of our air conditioning units means they’re always discreet and whisper quiet.

They’re sleek white and feature no branding. All LED lights can be turned off for a peaceful night’s sleep. Better yet, the whisper-quiet technology ensures noise won’t be an issue.

Cool You is the go-to for apartment owners. Look no further if you’ve been told you cannot install traditional air conditioning in your home.

We’ve installed hundreds of our completely internal solutions in London apartments. These include Grade II Listed buildings in Kensington & Chelsea and brand new builds in Elephant & Castle.

Discover Cool You

Hopefully, we’ve covered everything you need to know about planning permission and air conditioning solutions.

Our Cool You solution now means that all properties can benefit from air conditioning without needing an outside unit. Planning permission will never be an issue again.

To discover how we can help you, click here to get in touch and request your free, no-obligation site survey.