Introduction to Permitted Development for Householders

August 16, 2018


Building projects that change the external appearance of a house will often require permission from the local authority, but this is not always the case. Some projects can be carried out under “permitted development rights”, which allow home owners to build certain types of extension without the requirement of making a planning application.


Common examples of home extensions that may be possibly fall under Permitted Development Rights include single storey side and rear extensions, basement excavations, garage conversions, small front porches, and extensions to the rear slope of a roof (such as the addition of a dormer).


In certain circumstances it is even possible to construct a standalone building on your property without needing full planning permission:  a detached garage or small home office for example.


Such extensions must meet certain criteria regarding location, size and the external materials used. Permitted Development Rights does not apply to listed buildings or flats / maisonettes (just houses) and not all of the rights apply in “designated areas” such as conservation areas. Furthermore, often properties (e.g. in new build developments) have restrictions on Permitted Development so this should always be checked out first.




There are a number of advantages to utilising your Permitted Development Rights and avoiding the need for a full planning application. A primary benefit that often appeals to our clients is the time that can be saved. From the day you submit a full planning application to the day you receive a decision from the council is usually at least 8 weeks, which means waiting 8 weeks longer to enjoy your new building.


With a planning application, there is always the chance of a refusal from the planners, whereas with permitted development, so long as you adhere to the set criteria you have a pre-granted permission to build. Lastly of course there is the small added benefit of saving the planning application fee.


In some cases, relatively substantial extensions can be constructed under permitted development rights, so it’s worth exploring the possibility. It’s important to bear in mind though that there are several criteria that must be strictly adhered to and there are also other approvals to consider, such as building regulations and party walls. It’s therefore essential to seek professional advice before committing to any building project.


During the early stages of the design process, Nicholson Nairn can advise whether extending under permitted development rights may be a viable option for your project.


Please send us an email if you would like to discuss Permitted Development further.



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