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Garden construction projects

This section contains instructions for garden construction projects, including the building of a conservatory, glassed-in veranda, outdoor sauna, shed, greenhouse, waste container shelter or other structure, as well as things like fences, paving stones, plants, parking spaces, swimming pools and hot tubs.

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1. Instructions for garden construction projects

You must apply for a building permit if you wish to build a conservatory or glassed-in veranda in your yard. Check whether the detailed plan that governs your area allows for more built structures on the plot. A conservatory or glassed-in veranda is considered part of the total floor area.

The space can be unheated, semi-heated or heated, but it must be separated from the living quarters with an external wall and door structures. There must also be access to the outside space from the veranda.

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Structures such as sheds, greenhouses and shelters are light and intended for auxiliary use, not for living. 

Spaces intended for residential living or work purposes use always require a building permit.

Permits are not necessary for the construction of these kinds of light structures on detached house plots, if the structure is at most 20 m² in size and the detailed plan that governs your area allows for more built structures on the plot. Depending on the location of the structure, you may be required to get the consent a neighbour or arrange for fire compartmentation. If you are unsure whether a garden structure can be built on your plot, submit a consultation request to the Lupapiste online permit service.

If you want to build a garden structure larger than 20 m² or more than one structure, you need to apply for an action permit or building permit. Review the detailed plan governing your area for the permissible total floor area of built structures on the plot.

In areas with blocks of flats, you will need to apply for an action permit if the proposed structure will have an impact on the cityscape or landscape, nature, or land use in the surrounding areas.

Permits are also not required for the construction of an enclosure, canopy or waste container shelter that is under 30 m² in size. 

For more instructions: Construction of sheds and other structures (PDF, 1 Mt) (in Finnish)

Instructions for building a waste container shelter: Waste management in gardens and the construction of shelters for waste containers (PDF, 1 Mt).

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A building permit is always required for sauna construction projects. Check the local detailed plan and possible regional planning guidelines that govern the area before you begin construction.

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If you want to build a fence at the border of your plot, you must obtain your neighbour’s consent.

If the local detailed plan allows and you have your neighbour’s consent, you can build a fence that runs between the plots without a permit, granted that the fence is no taller than 1.6 metres, with the supporting structure included. A fence facing the street may not be more than 1.2 metres high.

Fences facing a park that are more than 1.6 metres high are subject to a permit. If your plot is adjacent to a public space such as a park, you must obtain the City of Helsinki’s consent. 

For more detailed instructions: Fences and demarcation of plots (PDF, 4 Mt) (in Finnish).

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As a rule, it is not necessary to apply for a permit if you wish to instal garden paving stones or create plant arrangements in your garden. However, this alteration work may not materially change the yard’s height ratio. If it does, you will need a permit.

Detailed plans assign parts of the plot for buildings and other parts for greenery and you must follow the plan, so please examine it carefully. Some detailed plans go so far as to regulate which trees and plants to plant in the plot’s green areas. The general recommendation is to use plants that are typical for the region. Find more information about typical plants from different eras in Helsinki’s urban plant guide (in Finnish) .

The general recommendation for detached houses is to keep paved or tiled areas to a reasonable size. All garden designs must also take stormwater management into account. Storm water management on plots (PDF, 4 Mt) (in Finnish)

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If you wish to add more parking spaces to a plot, you will have to apply for an action permit. Check the local detailed plan governing the area and possible regional planning guidelines before you begin construction.

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If you want to build a swimming pool in your yard, use the Lupapiste online permit service’s “Kysy neuvoa (Ask for advice)” to contact Building Control. The project must take into consideration things such as water and sewer pipe connections and plans for possible foundation work.

Construction of a hot tub does not require a permit, but the wood-fired heater and chimney must be located at least four metres away from the border of neighbouring plots. If the hot tub is less than eight metres away from a building, the chimney must extend higher than the lower 

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2. Determine whether your construction project can be implemented

Start your construction project by checking the detailed plan governing the area in which your plot is located. The detailed plan determines what can be built on the plot.

View the relevant local detailed plan on the Helsinki Map Service

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Some areas of Helsinki are also subject to regional planning guidelines.

See the Regional planning guidelines.

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The City of Helsinki’s building code is a guideline that regulates construction in Helsinki.

The City of Helsinki building code is a key list of regulations on construction that supplements local detailed plans. It stipulates what can be built and renovated without a Building Control permit

City of Helsinki building code

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3. Ask for advice on Lupapiste

If you cannot find your construction project or you need advice, contact Building Control through the Lupapiste online permit service (available in Finnish and Swedish only).
On Lupapiste, you can receive general advice, make appointments, prepare a permit application and submit documents. Start your project by submitting a request for advice by clicking on “Kysy neuvoa (Ask for advice)”. After you receive a reply, you can make the request for advice into a permit application, if you wish, and continue preparing the application.
Follow these steps: 

  1. Log in to Lupapiste and register in the service.
  2. Select “Kysy neuvoa” (“Ask for advice”) from the top-right corner.
  3. Enter the address or property identifier of the project.
  4. Follow the instructions. Select the type of project you wish to begin.
  5. Click “Kysy neuvoa” again when you are finished.
  6. Write a short description of the project and your questions.
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4. If necessary, prepare a garden plan to attach to the permit application

You may need to attach a garden plan to your construction permit application. Ask a permit processing professional if this will be necessary.

A garden plan is needed for new building projects and for renovation and alteration projects where the construction work has an impact on the yard. A garden plan must be made for detached house plots if the garden arrangements are not presented with sufficient detail in the project’s master plan. 

Instruction for preparing a garden plan: Garden plans and the garden alteration work that is subject to permits (PDF, 9 Mt) (in Finnish)

It is permitted to build a geothermal well or other geothermal heat system in Helsinki on a plot you own or are leasing. Construction of such wells in a street or park area is also possible if certain conditions are met.

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