One of the biggest joys of owning your own home is the ability to make whatever changes you wish. Where rented accommodation often comes with a raft of rules and regulations, leaving tenants unable to so much as hang a painting or paint a wall without the express permission of their landlord, owning a home comes with no such restrictions on the interior.
Of course, it’s a slightly different story if you are looking to make changes to the external components of your home. Many people wish to extend or expand existing spaces such as a garage or shed, or even build an extension or conservatory. If you plan to make these additions or amendments to your home, you must first determine whether you will require planning permission in accordance with UK law.
How Far Can I Extend My House without Planning Permission?
The limits placed upon extensions have recently been relaxed when it comes to planning permission requirements, assuming that any work is completed before the end of May 2019. If your home is a listed building, however, you will still need to seek full planning permission before making any alterations. If you are unsure whether your property falls under this banner, you can easily find out online.
If your home is not a listed building and you are keen to avoid the necessity of seeking planning permission from your local authority, ensure that you follow certain criteria in your measurements. The rules and regulations that surround building an extension without planning permission depend entirely on what project you are looking to undertake, and we will cover all of these throughout this guide.
Planning Permission for a Conservatory or Extension
Conservatories are a hugely popular addition to the rear of any home, creating a welcome space to relax all-year round. Building such an extension often comes with regulations bestowed by local government, but no planning permission will be required for a single-story extension if you stick to the following criteria:
- Do not build your conservatory to a height above 4 metres
- Do not build your conservatory to a length in excess of 4 metres in a detached home, or 3 metres in a semi-detached or terraced home
- Do not build your conservatory on higher ground than the rear surface of your property
- Do not allow your conservatory to encroach onto publicly-owned territory, such as streets and highways
Two-story (or higher) extensions have slightly more stringent criteria. To avoid the need for planning permission on such a project, you must that ensure that you:
- Do not build your conservatory to a height above the existing roof your property
- Do not build your conservatory to a length in excess of 3 metres, and no closer than 7 metres to the boundary of the property such as a fence or wall
- Do not apply any balconies or verandas to the upper floors of your conservatory
Just because these regulations avoid any potential legal repercussions, however, it is still good manners to consult with your neighbours before embarking on any major construction projects. If your neighbour complains about your extension to a local authority, you may be requested to complete a retrospective planning application while an investigation takes place.
Planning Permission for a Garage
It is becoming increasingly common for family homes to require the use of more than one car, which means that a garage may be needed to accommodate these vehicles.
If you are looking to build a garage in the front of your property, this will be considered an Outbuilding. There is no planning permission required for a garage, if you stay within the following parameters:
- The garage is not used as a living space. This means that it should be used for storage only, and will not contain beds or similar furniture that would accommodate an inhabitant. If you do plan to convert your garage into a living space, check the very specific guidelines.
- The floor of the garage is less than 15 square metres if freestanding.
- The floor of the garage is less than 30 square metres if attached to the house. In this instance, the garage must also be constructed from entirely non-flammable materials and be placed at least 1 metre from any boundaries such as fences or walls.
Planning Permission for a Garden Shed
Much like a garage, a garden shed or greenhouse is classed as an Outbuilding. This means that the regulations in place are similar, though the question as to how high you can build a garden shed differs from an extension or garage. A single-tier shed roof should be any higher than 3 metres tall –reduced to 2.5 metres if the shed is located less than 1 metre from any boundaries of the property.
One other thing to note with garden sheds, however, is the rule that, “no more than half the area of land around the original house would be covered by additions or other buildings.” This should not be a problem unless you have an extremely small garden (or want a particularly large garden shed!), but just bear this in mind when you consider the dimensions that may be required.
Planning Permission for a Porch
You will not have to seek planning permission to add a porch to your front door, provided you do not exceed 3 square metres of floor area, and the height does not stretch above 4 metres (on a detached property) or 3 metres (on a semi-detached or terraced home).
Planning Permission for a Loft Conversion
Converting a loft or attic into a living space is a great way of adding value to your home, as it can essentially become an extra bedroom. Planning permission is usually not required for such a task either, as you will be remaining within the parameters that already exist, but you will need to obtain Building Regulations Approval to ensure that the living area is deemed safe. If you share a wall with your neighbour in a terraced or semi-detached house, you will also need to seek a Party Wall Agreement with the occupants of any home that will be affected by your plans.
- Historic England – Listed Building Search
- Homeowners Alliance
- Neighbourhood Consultation Scheme
- Planning Portal
- UK Government