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Can I Build Under Permitted Development?

Permitted Development - Credit To Tom Spriggs Architects

When it comes to renovating or extending your property in the UK, understanding the concept of “permitted development” and its associated rights can be a game-changer. Permitted development allows homeowners to make specific alterations or additions to their properties without the need for full planning permission. This article delves deep into the world of permitted development, covering everything you need to know, from what is allowed under permitted development to the rules, limitations, and how to apply for it.

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted development is a set of rights granted by the UK government that permits certain types of building work and changes to your property without the requirement of obtaining full planning permission. These rights aim to streamline the process for homeowners and allow them to make improvements to their homes more easily.

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Permitted Development

The Importance of Permitted Development

Understanding permitted development is crucial for homeowners for several reasons:

  • Time and Cost Savings

One of the primary benefits of permitted development is the time and cost savings it offers. Without the need for full planning permission, you can proceed with your project more quickly and without the associated application fees.

  • Flexibility

Permitted development rights provide a level of flexibility for homeowners, allowing them to carry out specific projects that enhance their living spaces.

  • Property Value

Improvements made under permitted development can increase the value of your property, making it a potentially profitable investment.

What Can You Build Under Permitted Development?

Permitted development rights cover a wide range of home improvement projects, including but not limited to:

  • Extensions

You can extend your property within certain size limits without planning permission. This often includes rear and side extensions.

  • Loft Conversions

Transforming your loft into usable living space may be allowed under permitted development, subject to specific conditions.

  • Porch

Building a porch less than 3m2.

  • Outbuildings

Building sheds, garages, and other detached structures may be permissible under permitted development rights.

  • Alterations

Modifying the interior of your home or its external appearance might be acceptable under permitted development rules.

  • External changes

Installing satellite dishes, antennas, roof lights and dormer windows can be added under Permitted Development.

The Rules of Permitted Development

While permitted development offers significant freedom, it is essential to understand the rules and limitations to ensure compliance with the law. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Size and Scale

The size and scale of your project must fall within specified limits to qualify for permitted development. These limits can vary depending on the type of project and your property’s location.

  • Materials and Appearance

Your project should use materials that are similar in appearance to the existing property. The goal is to ensure that your project harmonizes with the surroundings.

  • Neighbour Consultation

In some cases, you may need to consult with your neighbors or the local planning authority before proceeding with your project. This is particularly relevant for projects that may affect your neighbors, such as extensions or boundary alterations.

  • Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

Different rules apply if your property is listed or located in a conservation area, so it’s essential to check the regulations specific to your situation. Alterations to listed buildings typically require planning permission.

Planning Permission
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Applying for Permitted Development

Do You Need to Apply for Permitted Development?

In most cases, you do not need to apply for planning permission for projects covered by permitted development rights. However, it’s a good idea to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness from your local planning authority. This document certifies that your project complies with permitted development rules, providing peace of mind for both you and potential future buyers.

  • The Certificate of Lawfulness

The Certificate of Lawfulness is a formal document issued by your local planning authority. It serves as evidence that your project falls within the scope of permitted development rights. While it is not mandatory, obtaining one is highly recommended. Here’s why:

  • Future Proofing

A Certificate of Lawfulness provides legal proof that your project complied with permitted development rules at the time of construction. This can be invaluable if you ever decide to sell your property, as it assures potential buyers that the work was carried out legally.

  • Resolving Disputes

In case of disputes with neighbors or local authorities, having a Certificate of Lawfulness can be crucial in demonstrating that your project was undertaken within the law.

  • Mortgage and Insurance Purposes

Some mortgage lenders and insurance companies may request a Certificate of Lawfulness before offering financial services or coverage for your property.

How to Apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness

Applying for a Certificate of Lawfulness typically involves the following steps:

  • Gather Documentation

Compile all necessary documentation, including architectural plans, drawings, photographs, and any other evidence that demonstrates your project’s compliance with permitted development rules.

  • Submit Your Application

Submit your application to your local planning authority. You can usually do this online or via mail, depending on the authority’s procedures.

  • Wait for a Decision

Your local planning authority will review your application and make a decision. This process can take several weeks, so it’s essential to plan accordingly.

  • Receive Your Certificate

If your application is approved, you will receive a Certificate of Lawfulness, confirming that your project complies with permitted development rules.

When You Can’t Build Under Permitted Development

While permitted development offers significant advantages, there are situations where you’ll need to apply for full planning permission:

  • Exceeding Size Limits

If your project exceeds the maximum size or scale outlined in permitted development guidelines, you’ll need planning permission. These size limits vary depending on the type of project and your property’s location.

  • Change of Use

Converting your property for a different use, such as turning a residential property into a commercial one or vice versa, typically requires planning permission. This is to ensure that changes in land use align with local zoning regulations.

  • Listed Buildings

Any alterations to listed buildings, even minor ones, usually require planning permission. Listed buildings hold historical or architectural significance, and any changes must be carefully reviewed to protect their heritage value.

  • Conservation Areas

Projects in conservation areas may be subject to stricter regulations, making planning permission necessary. Conservation areas are designated to preserve the character and appearance of specific locations.

  • Article 4 Directions

In some cases, local authorities may issue Article 4 Directions, which remove permitted development rights for specific areas or properties. This means that even minor alterations will require planning permission.

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Seeking Professional Advice

While understanding the basics of permitted development is essential, navigating the complexities of planning and construction can be challenging. Seeking professional advice is often a wise choice, especially for significant projects. Here are some professionals who can assist you:

Architects can help you design your project in compliance with permitted development rules, ensuring that it maximizes your property’s potential while staying within legal boundaries.

  • Planning Consultants

Planning consultants specialize in navigating the planning permission process. They can advise on when and how to apply for planning permission and help you prepare your application.

Experienced builders and contractors are well-versed in working within permitted development guidelines. They can execute your project efficiently and to the highest standards.

Surveyors can assess your property and provide valuable insights into its condition and any potential issues that may affect your project.

  • Legal Advisors

For complex projects or legal disputes, legal advisors with expertise in property and planning law can provide essential guidance.

Resources and References

For more detailed information on permitted development rights and related topics, you can refer to the following resources:

  • Government Planning Portal

The UK government’s Planning Portal ( is a valuable resource for information on permitted development rights, planning applications, and local planning authorities.

  • Local Planning Authorities

Your local planning authority’s website is an excellent source of information specific to your area. It provides guidance on local planning policies, permitted development rights, and contact details for planning officers.

In conclusion, understanding permitted development rights is essential for homeowners looking to enhance their properties. By comprehending the rules, adhering to the guidelines, and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can confidently embark on your renovation journey under permitted development rights.

Whether you’re planning an extension, loft conversion, or other home improvement projects, permitted development can simplify the process and offer significant benefits. However, it’s crucial to stay informed and stay within the legal boundaries to ensure a smooth and successful renovation experience.

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