Projects Without Planning Permission

What can be achieved under Permitted Development Rights?

A large open plan kitchen with sky light installed

Although obtaining Planning Permission isn’t always as stressful as homeowners may expect, it is a process that adds on time and effort to any property project when required – and it certainly doesn’t always go right. However, there are plenty of property renovations, extensions and additions that don’t require Planning Permission and can instead be carried out under homeowners; Permitted Development Rights; facilitating internal and external works of varied scope that are automatically allowed provided they meet certain criteria. 
But how does it work and what is covered without the need for nerve-racking authority administration applications? Let’s look…
Sliding doors that open to a patio


Many homeowners assume that all home extensions require Planning Permission, but this is far from the case. Provided a property is not in a conservation area or national park, or is listed, an extension can be built under standard Permitted Development Rights in several cases.
A detached property can be extended by up to 8m to the rear for a single storey house (6m if semi-detached or terraced), or 3m for a double storey. A single storey extension of this type must be no higher than 4m tall and the eaves must be no higher than the existing building. Two storey extensions must not be within 7m of the rear property boundary and side extensions can only be a single storey (and no wider than half the original property). All extensions must be built in the same or closely similar material to the existing swelling. 

Knocking down internal walls

Removing internal walls (providing they aren’t load-bearing, of course!) is a fantastic way for homeowners to remodel the layout of their house and to transform their living space without extending it. 
Providing the property isn’t listed or in a conservation area, no Planning Permission is required for this job but any structural elements or electrical re-wiring will need to meet the legal Buildings Regulations.
Roof lights in a bedroom

Installing a rooflight

Rooflights are becoming increasingly popular amongst homeowners who look to bring more light into their houses without having to resort to installing floor-to-ceiling glass windows or large glazed extensions. 
Providing a rooflight doesn’t project more than 15cm from the slope of the existing roof, it can be installed under Permitted Development Rights with no formal Planning Permission. However, if the rooflights extend forward of the roof plane facing a road, formal permission will be required (although anecdotally provided the rooflight is not vast in size compared to the rest of the property, permission is likely to be granted).

Building a conservatory

Conservatories and orangeries are often added to modern homes to provide additional living space, views of the garden and to bring more light into the property. 
Like single storey extensions, conservatories and orangeries up to a certain size are covered by Permitted Development Rights – but conservatories in particular have even more leeway. Provided a conservatory has exterior grade doors separating it from the main house and is under 30m² in area, it doesn’t need to be built even with Buildings Regulation sign-off. For this reason, it is always recommended that homeowners seek out an experienced and skilled conservatory builder in order to ensure the safety of their new glazed extension.

Construction of an outbuilding

Continued lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have led to more homeowners than ever choosing to construct sheds, garden offices, workshops and outbuildings in their outdoor spaces and in many cases, there is no requirement for these to be granted formal Planning Permission.
Multiple outbuildings can be constructed under Permitted Development Rights, providing the total area they cover is no more than 50% of the curtilage of the site (including extensions but excluding the main house area). Outbuildings must not sit forward of the principal elevation and there are heigh restrictions dependent on roof type: 4m for dual pitch roofs, 3m for other roofs and 2.5m where the new structure is within 2m of the property boundary. Outbuildings must only be single storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5m and must not be used for residential accommodation.

Splitting properties and converting properties

The process of converting a part of semi-detached homes into one home or of combining two flats into one large one can usually be completed entirely under Permitted Development Rights with zero Planning Permission required (although in the case of flats there is likely to be a legal process to undergo with the buildings owner). 
The same rules do not apply for the division of a single property into two dwellings, however – this requires Planning Permission as it changes the usage of the structure.

Adding another floor to a home

Extensions of a new storey to a home can be completed under Permitted Development Rights in some cases with strict criteria.
A second storey can be added to a bungalow provided there is neighbourly agreement and support and consideration is made to the overlooking of surrounding properties. No house can exceed 18m overall in height, but houses with two storeys or more can usually add up to two more without formal permission. Each storey must be no more than 3.5m in height and the new storey must be on the principal part of the house with the same roof pitch as previously.
A porch on a property in the snow

Adding a new porch

A porch is a great place for shoes and coats to be left without cluttering up a hallway or living room and is a welcome addition for many homeowners. What’s more, a small porch can easily be built without needing Planning Permission!
Provided no part of the porch is taller than 2m, it doesn’t sit within 2m of any boundary adjacent to a highway and the ground area does not exceed 3m² when measured externally, a porch installation can be done under Permitted Development Rights – and it’s not a big job, so should be fairly quick too.
If you do have a property job in mind that is likely to require Planning Permission, don’t stress – it can be all be managed by Refresh Renovations as part of their standard end-to-end project management. Maintaining strategic relationships with LPAs all over the country is just part of our role and so working with us you’ll always be best placed to receive easy and swift permission to make your extension or alteration a reality. 

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