Class Q Barn Conversions Explained

Class Q is a type of permitted development right that was introduced to England’s planning policy in 2014.

Designed to ease the pressure of housing in rural areas and open up new opportunities for development in these areas, the Class Q policy enables landowners to convert agricultural structures and buildings into homes without lodging a formal planning application. This has made it much easier for landowners and self builders to transform redundant farm buildings into beautiful barn conversions.

Taking on a Class Q project presents an incredibly exciting opportunity, and with the right design it is possible to achieve some truly stunning results. However, there are a few points to consider before getting stuck in – the main one being that this policy really does focus on converting what’s already there, not replacing or extending a building.
Your building will therefore need to meet the criteria of the policy, and you will need to adhere to a number of conditions during the renovation.

Read on to find out more:

Barn Conversion Design

Does your building meet the criteria for Class Q?

Before going down the Class Q route, your building must meet a strict criteria, which includes:

  • The building in question was used for agricultural purposes on or before March 20th, 2013.
  • If the building was brought into use after this date, it needs to have been in use for 10 years.
  • Buildings that are listed, or located in an AONB, National Park or conservation areas do not qualify for Class Q.

What can you build?

Whilst some buildings will make a wonderful single home, you might want to think about creating more than one home if you have a larger building.

The maximum number of homes you can build is 5, but this does depend on the floor space of
each dwelling. The regulations state that you can build:

  • Up to three larger homes within a combined maximum floor space of 465sqm; or
  • Up to five smaller homes, each no larger than 100sqm; or
  • A mix of both, but with no more than five homes, only three of which can be larger homes.
Class Q Barn Conversion

What can I do when renovating under Class Q?

First things first, the building must be able to structurally function as a house without any additional reinforcements. In some cases, this can make it tricky to add a first floor.

As mentioned earlier, the idea behind Class Q is to convert an existing building, but partial demolition may be permitted if it is deemed ‘reasonably necessary’. It’s also important to note that the building cannot be extended beyond its external dimensions.

Work to enable the building to function as a house is included under Class Q, such as the installation of windows, doors, roofs and exterior walls. You can also install or replace services such as drainage, water, electricity and gas.

Whilst there are a number of conditions to work with, it’s possible to achieve some wonderful results under Class Q. In terms of design, you really can make your mark and transform a very functional building into a truly beautiful home.

Barn Conversion - Class Q

Are you considering a Class Q conversion? Get in touch to see how we can help. We have significant experience in this area, so whether you want to talk about eligibility, the application process, or architectural designs for the transformation, we can help.