The extraction of planar surfaces in range imagery is essential in many object recognition schemes where 3D objects are assumed to be composed mainly of such surfaces. In this paper a novel hierarchical technique is presented for the extraction of planar surfaces which has the potential of being both efficient and robust in the presence of noise. The planar surfaces are extracted by means of an hierarchical 3D Hough transform. The levels of quantization of the 3D Hough space vary from coarse to fine depending on their position in the hierarchy. The technique has many advantages in terms of efficiency, storage requirements, and immunity to noise.