skip to Main Content
what works do need planning permission - image of a couple talking to a builder. Buying Agents Near Me

Some projects do need planning permission, and some don’t. I need to start this blog off with a caveat.

It is essential that you always consult with a fully qualified architect familiar with your council’s policies about any project you are doing well before starting any work. Google is not your answer! It might well be worthwhile planning to get permission before commencing any work.

Taking on a project and assuming it is legal only to find that you have to tear it down is not only expensive, but it can also leave a blight on your home that will never leave it and may affect its sale value with a damaging strike against it.

So, what works do need planning permission and what don’t? To answer that, we need to understand what falls under permitted development and what doesn’t.

image of architects and builders assessing project to establish do need planning permission

Permitted Development

What is Permitted Development

Permitted Development, in the context of planning and development in the United Kingdom (UK), refers to certain types of minor building works and changes that can be carried out on a property without the need for planning permission from the local planning authority.

As amended, these are specified in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, which sets out the rules and regulations governing permitted development rights in England.

Similar legislation exists for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with some differences in rules and regulations.

Permitted development opportunities are rights given to homeowners in 2015 that allow some small-scale renovations to be undertaken without the need for planning permission.

Permitted development rights allow homeowners or developers to make specific changes to their property without the whole planning permission process, saving time and money.

However, it’s important to note that permitted development rights are subject to certain limitations and conditions, and not all types of development are covered by them, meaning there is a good chance that you do need planning permission.

The actual right changes depending on the size and type of property though! Each type of property is treated differently. For example, a semi-detached property has different rights than a detached one!

What work might be covered under Permitted Development, and what do need planning permission?

Whilst not exhaustive, and provided that you follow the guidance, the following are more likely to fall under permitted development and, therefore, may not need planning permission.

A conservatory

Smaller Single Storey Extensions

Typically the extension must be at the back of the building (not visible from the road) and take up less than half the garden.

It should also be less than 3 meters from the rear wall of the original property.

That’s not the property as you bought it, but instead, the property as it was built. For example, a conservatory.

A small porch might also be acceptable.

Garage Conversions

Internal garage conversions, especially with only interior work, can usually be done within permitted development rights.

Barn Conversions

As long as your barn isn’t too large, has had agricultural or general use as a barn for more than ten years or was built before 2013, barns can be converted into liveable space.

Garage conversion - do need planning permission
loft conversion - do need planning permission

Loft Conversions

If any works are internal, adding a Rooflight or Velux window, smaller loft conversions can generally be done under permitted development.

Change of use

Changing the use of a property from one type of use to another, such as converting a commercial property into residential use, may be allowed under permitted development rights, subject to certain limitations and conditions.

What building works do need planning permission?

More significant extensions or those requiring external works visible from the street do need planning permission.

This might include double-storey extensions, larger single-storey ones, extensions that wrap around two or more sides of the property and roof conversions visible from the street.

Wrap around kitchen extension

Conservation Areas

Permitted development rights can apply to properties located in conservation areas in the UK, but they are generally more restricted than properties outside conservation areas.

Conservation areas are designated areas with special architectural or historical significance and are subject to additional planning controls and regulations to protect their unique character and heritage.

It’s always advisable to check with an excellent local architect or the local planning authority for specific guidelines and requirements regarding permitted development in conservation areas. They may vary depending on the location and the particular conservation area.

Failure to obtain the necessary planning permission for works in a conservation area can result in fines, penalties, or the requirement to undo the works, so ensuring compliance with the regulations is crucial.

image of conservation area
Listed buildings do need planing permission

Listed Buildings

It’s important to note that in the case of listed buildings, the specific regulations and requirements can vary depending on the listing grade of the building (i.e., Grade I, Grade II*, or Grade II) and the location within the UK.

The chances are that you require planning and listed building permission to make alternations to your listed building.

Listed buildings are subject to strict conservation guidelines, and any changes or alterations must be carefully considered and approved by the local planning authority through the planning permission process.

Unauthorised works on a listed building can result in severe penalties, including fines and criminal prosecution, so it’s essential to understand and follow the relevant regulations and requirements.

Beautiful listed manor house

If you own a listed building and are considering making any changes or alterations, it’s crucial to consult with the local planning authority and seek professional advice from conservation architects or specialists.

You must comply with the regulations and preservation of the building’s historical significance.

couple looking over building plans

Building Regulations standards

Even if your alternations and extensions qualify for permitted development rights, you must ensure that any habitable space is up to Building Regulations standards.

This is a separate application and should be distinct from planning permission or permitted development rights.

Building regulations in the UK are national standards and requirements that set out the minimum standards for building design, construction, and maintenance to ensure health, safety, welfare, and energy efficiency.

As amended, the building regulation standards in the UK are outlined in the Building Regulations 2010.

Some of the critical building regulation standards in the UK include:

Structural Integrity

Building regulations require buildings to be designed and constructed to withstand the loads and forces they are likely to encounter, ensuring their stability and structural integrity.

Fire Safety

Buildings must meet fire safety standards to prevent the spread of fire and protect occupants. This includes requirements for fire resistance of walls, floors, doors, and other elements, as well as provisions for escape routes, fire alarms, and fire-fighting facilities.

Energy Efficiency

Building regulations set requirements for energy efficiency in new buildings, including insulation, heating systems, lighting, and ventilation standards to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy chart - EPC
Couple imagining their new sitting room

Access and Mobility

Buildings must provide reasonable access and facilities for people with disabilities, including requirements for ramps, handrails, door widths, and sanitary facilities to ensure accessibility for all.

Ventilation and Air Quality

Building regulations specify ventilation and air quality requirements to ensure adequate ventilation, prevent condensation, and maintain healthy indoor air quality for occupants.

Drainage and Sanitary Facilities

Buildings must meet standards for drainage and sanitary facilities, including provisions for water supply, wastewater disposal, and sanitation facilities.

Electrical Safety

Building regulations include requirements for electrical installations, such as wiring, fuse boxes, and electrical appliances, to ensure safe and compliant electrical systems.

Building regulations are subject to periodic updates and amendments, and compliance with building regulations is a legal requirement for most building work in the UK.

Failure to comply with building regulations can result in fines, penalties, and difficulties with insurance and building warranties.

Couple imaging their new garden building

At Rowallan Buying Agents, we advise our clients of all opportunities when looking at potential new homes.

It is vitally important that we are able to source reliable advice on the viability of any desired work, whether it should be done under permitted development or whether you do need planning permission.

Over 35 years in the industry mean that we have outstanding connections in the field and every avenue is explored for the best results for our clients.

problem and solution puzzle squares - Surrey Buying Agents - property concierge solutions - When Do Estate Agents Take Property Off Market - Buying Agents in East Grinstead - are house prices still falling