Do you need planning permission?

From January to March 2018, authorities undertaking district level planning in England received 116,700 applications for planning permission, down 5% on the corresponding quarter in 2017.[1]

If you’re considering building new, renovating, or simply adding an extension to your home, you’re probably thinking about planning permission too. It can be a daunting prospect. However, you may not actually have to go through planning permission- not all home improvement projects require it.

Sometimes certain renovations must meet Building Regulations however so it’s best to check before you get started.

Here’s a list of improvements and installations that don’t always require planning permission:

House extension

You can often extend or add to your house without the need for planning permission, provided you meet certain limits and conditions. These typically involve: the dimensions of your proposed extension, the position on the house and the proximity to your boundaries.

Planning permission is needed if more than half the area of land around the ‘original house’ would be covered by additions or other buildings.


Conservatories fall under the same restriction as single storey extensions. As they are typically modest in size, planning permission isn’t needed. It is important to check that you meet Building Regulations and certain planning conditions, for example, that the conservatory does not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the house.


Garages can generally be built in your garden or on land surrounding a home, without the need for planning permission.

However, Building Regulations approval is required for the construction of a garage attached to an existing home, and for converting a garage into habitable use.


Adding a porch to any external door of your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, unless: the porch has a ground area of more than 3 square metres, it’s higher than 3 metres above ground level, or it’s less than 2 metres away from the boundary of a dwelling house with a highway (which includes all public roads, footpaths, bridleways and byways).

Loft conversion

If you’re simply converting it to living spaces then planning permission is not needed. However, if you’re extending or altering the roof space, beyond certain limitations then planning permission does apply. These limitations include a volume allowance of 40 cubic metres additional roof space for terraced houses and 50 cubic metres additional roof space for detached and semi-detached houses.

Roof windows

You don’t need planning permission to install roof windows as long as the new window is no higher than the highest part of the roof, and it does not project more than 150mm from the existing roof plane.

Solar panels

Planning permission is not required, but certain limitations must be met. This includes, for instance, that panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.

Windows & Doors

Repairs, maintenance or minor improvements, such as repainting, to windows and door frames don’t require planning permission. The same applies for the insertion of new windows and doors- as long as the appearance of the house isn’t materially altered.

An instance where you might require planning permission is if you’re inserting a new bay window, as this is treated as an extension.

For more detailed information on the above and to find out about other home alterations which don’t require planning permission, you can visit

If you would like to get your project kicked off, Bryburn would be happy to assist. Please feel free to get in touch:


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[1] Planning applications in England: January to March 2018. Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, June 2018. Available at: