The requirement

What are swift bricks and swift boxes?

Swift bricks and swift boxes are bird boxes designed for swifts. They provide a space for the birds to nest. Swift bricks fit in place of a brick in a wall. Swift boxes fit on the outside of walls, below the eaves.

When are swift bricks or swift boxes required?

All new developments in the city of 5 metres or greater in height need swift boxes or swift bricks. The best option are swift bricks as they integrate into a building. As such, they are permanent and provide better temperature control.  

a swift flying through the sky

(photo credit: Steve Blain)

How many swift boxes or swift bricks do you need?

Householder Extensions 

  • Householders should provide swift bricks or boxes where a new development is greater than 5 metres high 

Minor Developments

We class a minor development as:

  • up to 9 residential units or
  • less than 1,000 square metres of commercial floorspace

For minor developments the minimum number of swift bricks (or boxes) needed is:

  • residential developments - three bricks, or two per dwelling, whichever is the greater.
  • commercial developments - three bricks, or one per 50 square metres of floorspace, whichever is the greater. 

Major developments

We class a major development as:

  • 10+ residential units or
  • 1,000sqm+ commercial floorspace.

For major developments the County Ecologist will recommend specific requirements. 

Please see Appendix 1 for details on how to meet this requirement. We have provided a model condition and informative.

Siting of swift bricks and swift boxes

Where to put swift bricks and swift boxes

  • You can place swift bricks (and boxes) at any elevation. The ideal place is under shade-casting eaves. 
  • You should install swift bricks (and boxes) in groups of at least three.
  • They should be at a height above 5 metres. Where possible, there should be a 5 metre gap between them and other buildings. 
  • Where possible, avoid siting swift bricks and boxes above windows or doors.
a swift brick. It is the same shape as a house brick, with a brick front panel and a black plastic body

(photo credit: John Day)

Appendix 1

Swift boxes (including swift bricks) model planning condition and informative  


XX (number) swift brick(s) shall be incorporated within the external walls of the development hereby approved and shall be retained thereafter. Reason:  To enhance the biodiversity of the site and to comply with Policy CP10 of the Brighton & Hove City Plan Part One, Policy DM37 of Brighton & Hove City Plan Part Two and Supplementary Planning Document SPD11 Biodiversity and Nature Conservation.    


Swift bricks can be placed on any elevation, but ideally under shade-casting eaves. They should be installed in groups of at least three, at a height above 5m height, and preferably with a 5m clearance between the host building and other buildings or obstructions. Where possible avoid siting swift bricks above windows or doors. Where swift bricks are not practical due to the nature of construction, alternative designs of suitable swift nest boxes should be provided in their place.  

If it is not possible to provide swift bricks as set out in the report, the condition will be modified to require swift boxes.