Permitted Development

If you’re planning an extension or alteration to your home, you may have heard about permitted development rights, a scheme that was introduced to ease the burden on the UK planning system by making it easier for homeowners to make minor alterations to their property.

In this blog post, we talk you through the idea of permitted development rights and give you some ideas of what can be achieved.

As always, if you’d like to talk to us about the options please do get in touch.

What are permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights belong to a scheme introduced by the government to enable homeowners to extend or improve their property without going through the full planning process.
Under the scheme, it is possible to convert a loft or garage, add a simple rear extension, or even add a new storey without the need for planning permission. If your project falls under the scheme, you can save time, money…and the potential stress of going through the planning process.

But be careful! There are a number of restrictions and rules that you need to be aware of before breaking ground and cracking on with your extension.

Permitted development rights – what you need to know:

  • Permitted development rights vary across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and there can also be differences between local authorities. The rules are also updated regularly. Always check with the rules in your area before proceeding.
  • Permitted development rights are restricted in conservation areas, areas within National Parks and World Heritage sites.
  • Permitted development rights for listed buildings are reduced. Don’t forget – most works will require listed building consent.
  • Flats and maisonettes do not benefit from permitted development rights.

Permitted development rights can be tricky to navigate, so please get in touch if you require advice.

What can be achieved under permitted development rights?

For the purpose of this blog, we are talking about a standard residential house that has permitted development rights.

As with all types of builds, there are rules to adhere to and restrictions on what you can build, but here’s some examples of what can be achieved:

Single storey rear extensions – Conditions apply to the height, pitch elevation, and building materials, plus how it sits within the boundary of your property.

Single storey side extensions – Must be less than 4 metres in height, and no more than half the width of the original house at its widest point.

Double storey rear extensions – Again, there are conditions depending on how it sits within your boundary. There are also height restrictions.

A loft conversion – Restrictions apply but generally speaking, a standard conversion can be obtained under permitted development.

A garden room – The building must be away from the house, and take up less than 50% of the garden. It must be smaller than 15 sq m, or in some cases 30 sq m. Bear in mind that Different rules apply if you intend to use the space for sleeping.

Internal reconfiguration – you can remodel the interior, as long as you don’t extend the overall footprint of your property. You may need to obtain building regulations if you are moving structural walls.

Install skylights or rooflights – Create more light by adding skylights or roof lights under permitted development. There are strict rules though, including the type of glass that can be used, and how far they protrude beyond the plane of the roof slope.

Working with permitted development rights

So you’ve done your due diligence and worked out that your project can be achieved under permitted development. What happens next?

Unlike planning permission, you don’t need to apply for permitted development. However, you should definitely obtain a Lawful Development Certificate from the local authority before starting work.

Although it isn’t a legal requirement, applying for a lawful development certificate before the project begins will mean you have official documentation form the local authority to show that
your build meets legal requirements. This is incredibly useful if you plan to sell the house at a later date because it demonstrates to potential buyers that your build was legal.

You also need to be mindful of the fact that planning policies change. Obtaining the certificate proves that your build was legal at the time of construction.

It should take around 8 weeks to gain your certificate after submitting your application. You’ll need to complete an application form, and include various documents including architectural plans and elevations. We can of course manage this process on your behalf.

Do I need an architect if I’m using permitted development rights?

Some would argue not, but in our experience a professional architect will help to ensure that your project adheres to the rules. We’ll also make sure that you get the best design for your budget and property.

An architect will help you to:

  • Navigate your way through permitted development rights. Understanding what is and isn’t included in the scheme is a complex process. A good architect will be able to assess if your project is suitable for the permitted development route and manage the process on your behalf.
  • Achieve the best design for your budget. Our job is to come up with solutions that you haven’t even considered – helping you to get more from your investment and create a space that really works for you and your family, whilst adding value to your home.
  • Quality drawings will save you time and money in the long run because the build team knows exactly what to do and when, leaving no room for costly mistakes or wasted time whilst trying to make a plan.

Check out our blog article on the benefits of working with an architect for more information: Do I need an architect for an extension?

Do you have a question about permitted development rights or the planning process? Get in touch.