Planning permission for air conditioning

What You Need To Know About Planning Permission For Air Conditioning

If you’re going to be installing an air conditioning unit in a listed property or apartment, you will most likely need planning permission.

At Cool You we’re experts when it comes to all things air conditioning, and 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.

The various benefits of being able to control the climate in homes, offices and shops mean that more and more people are having air conditioning solutions installed every day.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that you’re probably going to need planning permission for air conditioning before the unit is installed.

Conventional air conditioning solutions – which are the systems that will typically have a condenser box on the outside or penetrations to the exterior – will require planning permission before being installed in a property.

Whether you live in a new build or a listed property, conventional air conditioning will require permission from your landlord or even 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 that they need to apply for permission when they are building something new or are making major changes to a building, such as having an extension added or changing the use of a building.

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

This means that if you carry out an air conditioning installation without planning permission you will be served with an ‘enforcement notice’, and you’ll be forced to remove the air conditioning unit.

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

Applying for permission

The first step is to contact the local authority and request permission. It’s important 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, but some can even take as long as 13 weeks.

If you’re looking to get an AC unit installed to keep you cool during the warmer months then keep this in mind and apply for permission early!

The next step – and this is of course dependent on the authorities accepting the request – is to then (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, but it’s always a good idea to run your plans by the building manager if you own a flat in an apartment building.

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

Here lies the biggest problem. A vast majority of the time, if you’re living in an apartment and you’re in a central location, your request is likely to be declined.

You’re not the owner of the external demise of your property and 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.

A lot of 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, generally quite bland and often stylistically out of sync with the rest of a 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, and building managers, in particular, 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 definitely will compromise the look of any historic or listed properties.

Air conditioning units can be noisy too. In theory, 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 nice 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 at Cool You we provide a fantastic way of totally avoiding all of these hurdles. Our solutions are completely internal, meaning that there are no penetrations to the outside.

It’s why our service will have no effect on your neighbours or exterior property whatsoever.

Most significantly though, with everything contained inside your property, our internal solution means that you won’t require any planning permission for the installation.

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

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

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

Cool You is the go-to for apartment owners who have been told that they cannot install traditional air conditioning in their home.

We’ve installed hundreds of our completely internal solutions in London apartments, including in 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.