House Extensions That Dont Require Planning Permission

These House Extensions Don't Require Planning Permission

Posted by Craig | Updated April, 2024 | 5 Min Read Time

At a glance 

  • Some extensions don’t need planning permission, but they often still require building regulations approval.


In this article, you’ll find the following:

    • The different types of extensions we offer 
    • Important considerations to remember while planning your house extension

Embarking on a house extension can be an exhilarating journey, taking a space you know and transforming it into something fresh and new. However, navigating the labyrinth of planning permissions can sometimes feel more like a hindrance than a safeguard. 

Thankfully, thanks to “permitted development rights”, some extensions can bypass this rigorous process entirely.

Consulting a house extension specialist early on can provide clarity on whether your project falls within these rights, streamlining the process considerably. In this article, we’ll delve into which house extensions don’t require formal planning permission.

A double story side extension in St Albans we built

Remember, while many extensions don't need planning permission, they often still require building regulations approval.

So seek professional advice

Wondering whether your house extension falls under permitted rights? 

The Magic of Permitted Development Rights

Before diving into the details, it’s crucial to understand the concept of permitted development rights. Essentially, these rights allow homeowners to make specific changes to their property without the need to apply for planning permission.

They were introduced to streamline minor and non-intrusive development processes.

While this sounds like a free pass, there are still guidelines to ensure neighbourhoods maintain their character and environment. It’s these very guidelines that we’ll explore today.

Benefits of Going Permission-Free

Design Freedom: With permitted development, you’re not starting from scratch. Clear boundaries mean you can craft your vision within set parameters, often resulting in a more focused design.

Cost and Time Efficiency: Skipping the planning permission stage can save you both time and unexpected costs.

Reduced Risk: Living in an area notorious for planning refusals? Permitted development rights can be your ally, letting you avoid the council’s often stringent guidelines.

House Extensions That Don’t Need Planning Permission

Let’s break down some of the typical house extensions that fall under these rights:

1. Single Story Extensions

These are generally more accepted under permitted development rights. For detached houses, they shouldn’t extend beyond 4m from the rear wall, and for other house types, it’s 3m. Remember, height is also a factor; they shouldn’t exceed 4m.

2. Loft Conversions

Often a popular choice for creating an additional room without eating into garden space. They’re typically accepted if they don’t exceed 40m3 in volume.

Double loft conversion side by side at a recent project in St Albans

3. Porches

If you’ve always fancied a little porch, you’ll be pleased to know that as long as it’s not higher than 3m or within 2m of any boundary next to a highway, you’re good to go without formal permission.

For those considering broader front house extension ideas, exploring options like a stylish entrance canopy can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal and functionality, often without needing formal planning permission.

4. Conservatories and Orangeries

These generally follow the same rules as other extensions. They should not be taller than the house and mustn’t cover more than half the land around the original house.

5. Garage Conversions

Converting a garage into a livable space often doesn’t need planning permission, especially if the changes are internal.

6. Basement Conversions

If you’re not digging a new basement but converting an existing one, and it’s not a separate unit or altering the external appearance, you’re typically in the clear.

Some Crucial Conditions to Remember

Not to rain on your parade, but while the benefits of extending without seeking planning permission are tempting, it’s paramount to be aware of certain conditions:

– If the house has been extended since 1st July 1948, whether by you or a previous owner, it’s a no-go.

– Listed buildings or houses on “designated lands”, such as conservation areas, often have limited or no permitted development rights.

– Flats and maisonettes aren’t covered by these rights. 

If in doubt, it’s always wise to consult with an expert. The last thing you want is to fall foul of regulations and face the hassle of undoing all your hard work.

Larger Home Extensions

While the larger home extension scheme that once allowed bigger single-storey rear extensions was dissolved in 2020, it’s worth noting its allowances have been integrated into permitted development rights. Today, homeowners can apply for “prior approval” to get these larger extensions approved.

A Word On Saleability

Planning to sell in the future? It’s worth noting that while these extensions might not need formal permission now, potential buyers might be wary if they believe there’s a risk attached. Having the necessary documentation or even indemnity insurance can offer peace of mind to potential buyers and smooth out the selling process.

We recommend reaching out to your local building authorities to obtain the precise requirements and regulations for your house extension

Conclusion: Planning Your House Extension Without Planning Permission

House extensions can breathe new life into your home, and with permitted development rights, it’s possible to realise your vision without the prolonged process of obtaining planning permission. However, always remember to check the specific regulations for your area and consult with experts if you’re unsure. After all, the road to your dream home should be paved with excitement, not regulatory pitfalls.

Remember, while many extensions don’t need planning permission, they often still require building regulations approval. So, do your homework, and soon enough, you’ll be enjoying your new space.

If you are still interested in finding out more about house extensions, consider reading our blog on >> The different types of house extensions


Craig Smith

The founder of CJ Smiths Construction Company for over 14+ years and a proud citizen of St Albans City.

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