Do I need a permit to build a garden cellar or shelter?

Garden Cellar – Building Regulations and Formalities

The thought of having your own garden cellar fires the imagination of many people who have a suitable plot of land. This is not surprising, because a shelter in the garden gives you many options: you can store food, collect wines, receive friends or simply seek a safe and peaceful haven in the stormy ocean of daily duties. Even if you have a plot of land and funds that you can use to finance the construction of a shelter, you should know that this is not the end of the requirements for the investor. The owner of his own shelter must meet the formal requirements that are essential for all construction work. It’s no different when building a shelter in your own garden.

The fact is that the basement cannot currently be clearly assigned to a specific type of building – so there are no precise specifications about the foundation conditions of this type of building. In the Building Law Act of 1994 (Journal of Laws 1994, No. 89, item 414), the term “basement” or “dugout” is not mentioned once. Such an understatement, unfortunately, gives rise to the possibility of a broad interpretation by the official. So it all depends on how this object is classified by the administration. It is worth checking with the municipal office or the district office about the interpretation in your place of residence. A phone call with an officer doesn’t have to be stressful at all and can provide you with the most up-to-date and authoritative information. In this conversation, the key variable is the area of the building. To get a concrete answer, it is best to contact the building authority, the building inspectorate or the person who deals with the issue of zoning directly.

However, the fact that the law does not directly address this issue does not mean that if we decide to build a house basement, we are exempt from the provisions of the Building Act. Not at all! As far as the cellars themselves are concerned, the law does not provide for separate regulations and does not distinguish them from other buildings. However, according to the provisions of the draft laws, corresponding provisions must be included in the local development plan.

It should be noted that the construction of such a facility with an area of no more than 70 m² requires a notification to the district office – but not a building permit. This means less paperwork and costs for the investor. In this case, the garden cellar is treated as a small architecture (or as a farm building). At the moment, it is not the type of construction, but its surface that determines the appropriate procedure and procedure. In this regard, it is worth keeping up to date with the updates of the ordinances, because the law is not permanent, and – as one of the fundamental principles of Roman law states – its ignorance is harmful. 

Do you need a building permit for a garden cellar?

As mentioned earlier, the building regulations for garden cellars are not clear, but they are valid. Therefore, despite the lack of direct regulations for cellars, there are regulations that investors must follow. Whether or not you need a building permit for a garden cellar ultimately depends on a variety of factors, such as location, size, and purpose of construction.

Small garden cellars with an area of less than 70 m² do not require a building permit in most cases. However, there are many other factors that may affect the need to obtain notification or authorisation, such as location, local plan, local regulations or decisions by administrative authorities. Therefore, it is always a good idea to contact your local authority, municipal office or district office to find out what regulations and requirements apply to your specific situation.

Conditions and Exceptions

The conditions that may affect the need for a permit vary from region to region and from country to country. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Size and depth: In some places, the construction of a basement with great depth or considerable size may require a permit or authorization from the local authorities. If you’re planning a large structure or want a dugout canoe with significant depth, check your local regulations.
  2. Location: If your property is located in an area of special natural, historical, or cultural interest, you may need to obtain special permits or permits.
  3. Appearance and aesthetics: Some jurisdictions may require a building to meet certain aesthetic or color standards. Make sure your design meets these requirements.
  4. Zoning and zoning: Check if your project is within the local zoning plan. In some areas, there may be restrictions on the type and size of the structure.
  5. Environmental protection: If your shelter or basement has an impact on the environment, you may need to obtain special environmental permits.


Building a garden basement can be a fascinating project, but it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your site’s building codes and formal requirements before you start working. In most cases, small garden cellars do not require a building permit, but there are various factors that can influence the need for a notice or permit. Checking with your local authorities and complying with applicable regulations are key to successfully building a garden basement. This allows you to enjoy your shelter without worrying about legal consequences.