What is the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy)?

Improvements to local infrastructure are now funded by this contribution applicable to new developments – find out if it’s likely to be applicable to your project with our quick guide.  

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a levy which some local authorities in England and Wales charge on developments to fund  infrastructure projects within the local authorities such as schools, transport improvements and GP Practices. 

It is a development contribution and applies to most new development, including individual building projects. As of 2016, it is a legally enforceable levy which is shown as a land charge on the local land charges register.

In Birmingham the CIL is applied to fund the development outlined in the Birmingham Development Plan, involving 50,000 new homes and 100,000 new jobs over a twenty-year period. Whether you pay the Community Infrastructure Levy on your development depends on whether the area is considered high value or low value, as shown in the map. 

Community Infrastructure Levy FAQs

Birmingham City Council set the fee at £69 per square metre in 2016. Other parts of the West Midlands have lower rates. 

Development will potentially be liable for CIL if it:

  • Is for a building into which people normally go; and
  • Involves new build of at least 100m² gross internal area (GIA) floorspace; or
  • Involves a new build of less than 100m² GIA floorspace and the creation of one or more dwellings.

In terms of residential development, there are few relevant scenarios where CIL may not apply:

  • If the project only involves a change of use, conversion or subdivision of, or creation of mezzanine floors within a building which has been in lawful use for at least six months in the three years prior to the development being permitted and does not create any new build floorspace; and 
  • Self build houses, if occupied by the self-builder for three years;
  • Self build residential annex or extensions if main residence and over 100 m²;
  • Is for a use or area which benefits from zero or nil charge set out in the CIL Charging schedule.

Even if you think you might be exempt from paying CIL, the form still needs to be completed – failing to do so means you pay the CIL as if it was not exempt.

We’ve also provided answers for some more specific questions that crop up frequently on our building projects:

Not if the property is at your main residence, however please note that your residential annexe will become liable if within three years the annex is used for any purpose other than as an annexe, if it is let out, or either the main residence or annexe are sold separately from the other.

Yes. Permitted development is subject to the Community Infrastructure Levy like any other development. Changes of use to residential are also not exempt from the CIL but an offset is currently allowed for existing floorspace that has been occupied in lawful use for at least 6 of the last 36 months. Some local authorities also have a zero rate for residential. If in doubt ask especially if your office block has been empty for a while.

Residential sub-divisions are not liable for CIL, however if a change of use or additional floor space (over 100 m² or more) are proposed then CIL would apply. It must however have been in a lawful use for six months out of the last three years.

A change of use for the barn to residential would not be liable for CIL as long as the barn is in lawful use (under the six months out of 36 rule) and therefore you would not be liable for CIL.

Unless it qualifies for an exemption, CIL applies to listed buildings too.

The responsibility to pay the levy rests with the owner of the land the liable development will be located on. Although liability rests with the landowner, the regulations recognise that others involved in a development may wish to pay the CIL. To allow this, anyone can come forward and assume liability for the development.

community infrastructure levy

Don't get caught out by the Community Infrastructure Levy!

Speak to our professionals to find out whether your project is liable for the Community Infrastructure Levy by calling us on 0121 455 0032 today!

Why Lapworth Architects?


Our 20+ years of work mean great design and good relationships with planning departments across the region, giving  our projects the best chance to get planning permission and start building.


Your budget is tailored to your needs so you’re always on top of your costs. We’re proud to offer excellent value for money for our services, from design and planning right through to build.


Our breadth of knowledge makes us an efficient and sustainable choice of local architect, and we have a vested interest in improving our built environment right here in the West Midlands.


Wherever you are with your project, if you’re looking for honest, quality advice from professionals, chat to us, leave us a message or call us on the number at the top of the page. Let’s talk!