Permitted Development 2020

A guide to permitted development rights in 2020

Heather

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Heather

Last updated Thursday 3rd September 2020

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As you may have heard on the news, planning rules in England are changing.

From August 31st, homeowners in England will be able to use expanded permitted development rights to renovate and extend their properties without the need for a full planning application. This gives people greater freedom to transform their homes, but it’s not without its own challenges.

Not only are these legislations restricted to England, not the entire UK, but there are also a number of conditions attached that could exclude your home from the scheme.

Looking for permitted development advice on a specific home project? You can now use our Permitted Development Tool to see if your rights have been affected by the recent changes. Find it here!

What are permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights are essentially a scheme, created by the government, that allows you to extend/renovate your home without the need for a full planning application.

From August 31st, this scheme will be expanding to include bigger projects and more options for home improvement. While these planning changes will include new rules for big developments (such as turning office blocks into flats) for the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on projects everyday homeowners tend to complete.

If you’re a developer and you want some tailored advice, please speak to our team.

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Homes excluded from the scheme

The following homes will be excluded from these changes…

  • Homes within Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland
  • Listed buildings
  • Flats or maisonettes
  • Some new developments

Homes built before 1948 will not be affected by the permitted development changes, however existing permitted development rights still apply.

Homes from conservation areas are not excluded from permitted development rights, however they do hold much greater restrictions.

If you are unsure of whether your home qualifies for permitted development rights, we recommend seeking tailored advice from our experts. Book a free consultation with them here.

Projects covered by permitted development rights

So, what can you create with your permitted development rights?

While the scheme might be expanding, there are still a lot of design guidelines your project will need to meet. Because of this, we always recommend you use an experienced architect to put together your drawings.

Rear extension

  • Sits to the rear of the house (not the front)
  • Must not extend beyond the rear wall of the existing house by 3m if an attached house or 4m if detached
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • Takes up less than 50% of the size of the land around the original house ("original" being the latest of when the property was built or if it was built before 1948, then as it stood on 1st July 1948)
  • Is less than 4m in height (or less than 3m if within 2m of a property boundary)
  • Has eaves and a ridge that are no taller than the existing house

Side extension

  • Sits to the side (as long as this will not face a highway) of the house (not the front)
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • Takes up less than 50% of the size of the land around the original house ("original" being the latest of when the property was built or if it was built before 1948, then as it stood on 1st July 1948)
  • Takes up less than 50% of the width of the original house
  • Is less than 4m in height (or less than 3m if within 2m of a property boundary)
  • Has eaves and a ridge that are no taller than the existing house

Wraparound extension

When combining a side and rear extension to form a ‘wraparound’, the permitted development restrictions will be judged against the criteria for both extensions individually, making it unlikely for the project to fall under your permitted development rights. For instance, side extensions are only permitted development where they are less than half the width of the original dwelling, but the combination of a side and rear extension will likely exceed half the width of the original.

To find out whether your wraparound project does fall within your permitted development rights, or to discuss planning options with our experts, you can book a free consultation here.

Two-storey extension

  • No windows in wall/roof slope of side elevation in additional storeys
  • Takes up less than 50% of the width of the original house
  • Takes up less than 50% of the size of the land around the original house ("original" being the latest of when the property was built or if it was built before 1948, then as it stood on 1st July 1948)
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • Has eaves and a ridge that are no taller than the existing house
  • Terraces to be no more than 3.5m higher than the next tallest terrace.

Single storey homes are excluded.

Garage conversion

  • Works are internal
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • Does not enlarge the building

You may also need planning permission if you’re changing a detached garage into a living space - such as a bedroom, living room, or small annexe.

Loft conversion

  • A volume allowance of 50 cubic metres additional roof space for detached and semi-detached houses
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • The development must not include a window in any wall or roof slope forming a side elevation of the dwelling house
  • The roof pitch of the principal part of the dwelling must be the same as the roof pitch of the existing house
  • A dormer wall that is set back at least 20cm from the existing wall face
  • Has windows that are non-opening if less than 1.7m from the floor level
  • Has side windows that are obscured/frosted

Building a new storey or flat onto your property

  • No windows in wall/roof slope of side elevation in additional storeys
  • On existing multi-storey properties, you can add up to two additional storeys on the topmost storey of a detached house of two storeys or more. (Existing accommodation in the roof space of the existing house, including a loft extension, is not considered as a storey)
  • Maximum height limit for the newly extended house is 18 metres
  • Terraces to be no more than 3.5m higher than the next tallest terrace

Please note: there are many variables which depend on whether you’re building above a residential space or a commercial / mixed-use property. The type of your property will also affect your options, as will your intentions for the space (do you want it to become a new dwelling in its own right?).

With this project, we do highly recommend you talk to an expert to get a proper understanding of your planning rights. Book a consultation here.

Risks to bear in mind

It can be easy to think when you hear ‘no need for full planning’ that you can breeze on through to the construction stage. In fact, one of the risks facing homeowners is that some contractors might even suggest just this.

However, should your designs fail to meet the above requirements, your project could be subject to hefty fines and even demolition. What’s more, there are other requirements a project needs to cover, such as…

  • UK building regulations
  • Party wall matters
  • Build over agreements
  • Right to light

And much more!

How to protect your project

The best thing you can do for your home is to get an experienced expert by your side from the start.

At Resi, we’re able to help our customers navigate everything they’ll need to start construction, including…

Therefore, no matter which planning route you choose, our team can provide a tailored plan to ensure you avoid any costly missteps.

If you’re looking to fully protect your build, here are our top tips for using your permitted development rights safely…

Get a lawful development certificate

This handy document essentially proves your project was legal at the point of construction and is a useful way of getting your local planning department to review your designs. What’s more, you’ll find many potential buyers requesting some documentation regarding any improvements you’ve made, so they can ensure they won’t inherit any legal problems.

Put together a building regulations package

All UK homes must adhere to building regulations. These are a set of statutory requirements which cover everything from the structure, thermal performance, sound-proofing, drainage, all the way to fire safety - to name just a few!

To ensure your project is in line with UK building regulations, we recommend you commission a set of technical drawings of your proposed build, so your contractor has detailed instructions on meeting all legal requirements.

This package can be prepared by an architect, such as Resi, but will also need input from other specialist professionals, such as a structural engineer, party wall surveyor, and CCTV drainage surveyor. All these experts will ensure that, once you get onsite, your contractor has a detailed plan to work from, greatly reducing the risk of any mistakes being made.

Learn more about building regulations.

Is permitted development right for me?

Ultimately, permitted development is just one planning option, and it isn’t always right for everyone. Not only might your home be excluded from the scheme, but the restrictions in place might also stop you from realising your home’s full potential.

To fully understand what’s possible with your home, we always recommend getting tailored advice from our experts. Book your free consultation here.

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