Extending Your Home? What You Can & Can’t Do

In the majority of cases when it comes to extending your home or converting your loft, you will find you don’t need planning permission due to your development rights. However, when planning an extension you will always need to check because it will depend on the size of your new plans.

In order to give householders more leeway with developments, the government gave the go ahead for more building work without the need of planning permission. This change occurred in 2008 and Caroline Flint, who was House and Planning Minister at the time; said that this would cut the need for around 80,000 planning permissions a year, saving some households up to £1,000.

That said, it isn’t as simple as you just getting on with your extension without once looking at the planning guidelines. There are guidelines in place and you will need to adhere to these if you don’t want to go down the route of getting planning permission; taking into consideration things such as position, size and the overall design. Equally, if you live in an area such as a National Park or World Heritage Site, or you live in a listed building, then you will need to check what options are available to you from your local authority.

When can I extend without acquiring planning permission?

The rules that have been established by the government do apply to houses, so if you’re living in a maisonette or flat, you will need to look further into your rights through the government’s additional guidelines for these types of property.

In all other cases, extensions are granted without the need for planning permission if the extension you are building doesn’t cover over half of the land that surrounded your ‘original’ property. The definition of ‘original’ property is what your house size was when it was first built or how it was standing as of the 1st July 1948. This means that any previous extensions that may have been conducted by owners in the past will need taking into consideration.

There are also limits with regards to where the extension is placed; it shouldn’t be towards the front of your house or to the side if this is where the road is.

Extending a terraced house.

If conducted to the rear of the property, an extension can be conducted to a maximum of 3 metres further than the original back wall of your property. This is the case for both single and more than one storey extensions, with the height limit for a single-storey extension being 4 metres.

When it comes to converting a loft in your terraced home, you will have to ensure that the extension is no more than 40 cubic metres. In these cases, if previous owners added to the loft, this will count towards your limit.

Extending a semi-detached house.

This is much the same as a terrace conversion; you are allowed to build 3 metres beyond your original back wall for both more than one storey and single-storey extensions, with the maximum height on a single-storey being 4 metres.

50 cubic metres is the limit for your loft extensions and again, if previous owners have started to convert, this will count towards this limit.

Extending a detached house.

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When extending to the rear of your home, you are able to extend up to 3 metres beyond your original back wall for more than one storey extensions, but this is 4 metres for single-storey extensions. Again, the maximum height on this single-storey extension will be 4 metres.

Just as with semi-detached houses, there is a maximum loft extension limit of 50 cubic metres, with all additions that have been made by previous owners also contributing to this limit.

Additional loft conversion rules.

There are additional conditions in place when it comes to making a loft extension, and you will need to check the government guidelines to ensure you don’t need any further permission. Currently, you aren’t allowed an extension on the side of the house that faces the road that goes beyond the existing roof height or higher than the plane of the roof. Additionally, there are conditions in place with regards to materials being used, side-facing windows and more, so always check the government guidelines for clear do’s and don’ts.

Other rules.

Two-storey extensions have to be at least 7 metres away from the boundary at the back of your home, and any extension cannot be higher than that of the highest part of the property’s roof. A maximum height of 4 metres is placed on single-storey side extensions and it cannot be wider than half of the original house.

Before beginning your extension planning always check the government guidelines and with your local authority as they may have other rules in your area that will need adhering to.

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