Is It Possible To Build House Extensions Without Planning Permission?

Posted by Tim Foster on Jun 23, 2017 5:00:00 PM

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Happily, for most of us looking to expand our current living space it’s possible to consider various types of home extensions without planning permission. In other words, we don’t require our local authority’s approval – provided we stay within their stipulated guidelines.

There are exceptions, of course, such as extensions to listed buildings and properties sitting within a conservation area. But, for the vast majority of home owners it’s possible to just go right ahead and contact your preferred architectural designer. He or she will then be able to advise on whether or not your proposed home extension falls within your council’s own building regulations (guidelines may differ slightly between different local authorities).

Click here to download our FREE essential guide to extending your home!


What Type Of House Extensions Without Planning Permission Are Permitted?

Adding a single storey and double storey extension to your existing property, as well as a conservatory or orangery, doesn’t require planning permissions if it:

  • Isn’t bigger than 50 per cent of the area around your original house.
  • Isn’t taller than the highest part of the roof or four metres (if a single storey).
  • Doesn’t extend beyond the main elevation or side elevation onto a highway.
  • Doesn’t extend more than three metres from the back wall (semi-detached house) or four metres (detached).
  • Has at least seven metres between the back of the extension and the rear boundary.
  • Has a maximum height of four metres and up to 50 per cent of the width of the original house (if a side extension).
  • Is built to the rear of the property and not more than three metres deep (if a two storey extension).
  • Doesn’t have a balcony or other form of raised platform.
  • Upper floor side windows are obscure-glazed and openings are 1.7m above the floor.

Outbuildings such as garden sheds, garages, home offices, large greenhouses etc are also fine without extension planning permission provided they aren’t more than four metres tall or larger than 50 per cent of the land around the property.

What If I Build An Oversized Home Extension Without Planning Permission?

Many a sleepless night has been lost by individuals who find themselves in exactly this situation i.e. having enthusiastically gone ahead and built a home extension without planning permission from their local authority first, and which they later discover doesn’t fit with building regulations for their area.

There are various ‘punishments’ that could apply such as receiving a hefty fine and being ordered to adjust the extension so that it does fall within the required guidelines. In the worst case scenario the council could insist the extension is demolished.

It makes sense then, to be on the safe side, to contact your local authority planning department beforehand in order to check whether or not you’ll be able to go ahead with your dream home extension without planning permission. At BDS we can help you with this and guide you through the process so you stay compliant – with no lost sleep!

Building Regulations

Even if you don’t need planning consent, you’re still not off the hook with your local authority – you still have to ensure your new extension meets the council’s building regulations. These cover such areas as energy efficiency, fire safety, ventilation and stability of the building. Although it’s probably your contractor who will apply for these, it’s essential you check this for yourself as, ultimately, the home owners is responsible if the building doesn’t comply. And, again, this could prove extremely costly if the council take a tough rather than a lenient stance i.e. this too could result in the extension’s removal.

Certificates Of Lawful Development

If you think you may sell the property in the near future then in order to reassure potential buyers that the extension planning permission is ‘above board’, then it’s possible to pay £75 for a Certificate of Lawful Development from your local authority in England. It’s worth noting that planning permission and building regulations will differ between the different nations in the UK, and within different local authority areas in England.

Make sure you have the ‘low down’ on home extensions and that you choose the right version for your family’s needs by downloading our free eBook The Ultimate Guide To Expanding Your Living Space today. To chat about your extension plans, please get in touch with one of our designers by calling 01332 830313.

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Topics: Extensions

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