The Government has recently indefinitely renewed its Permitted Development Rights scheme, which has been created to encourage more homeowners to expand their existing homes. Under these rights, some types of extensions can go ahead without the need for planning permission. To qualify, your extension must fit within these guidelines:
* The extension is no more than half the area of land around the original house (curtilage). The “original house” is seen as it was in 1948; after this date how it was newly built
* The extension is not higher than the highest part of the roof
* The maximum height of your single-storey rear extension is not higher than four metres
* In the case of single-storey extensions, it must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres in case of an attached property or by four metres in case of a detached property.
* In case of single-storey side extensions, the maximum height must not exceed four metres and the width must be no more than half that of the original house
* The extension is not forward of the principal elevation or side elevation onto a highway
* Extensions of more than one storey do not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres
* Two-storey extensions are no closer than seven metres to rear boundary
* It must not include the construction of a veranda, balcony (except for Julliet balcony) or raised platform
* Windows inserted on a wall or roof slope forming a side elevation of the house must always be obscurely glazed, and non-opening unless they are more than 1.7 metres above the floor
* The materials used in any exterior work should be similar to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing property
Permitted development does not apply to flats or maisonettes, and their owners still have to apply for planning permission. There may also be exceptions if you live in a listed building or a conservation area. If you have had building work done in the past, you may have used up some of your permitted development rights.
Types of house extensions
When it comes to expanding your home, there are several options to choose from, each with its planning considerations.
Rear House Extension
A popular type of single-storey extension often seen in interior design blogs and magazines, because it takes in the fashion for a bright open-plan kitchen, dining room, and sitting area, with sliding glass doors to extend the space out into the garden too.
Planning permission is sometimes required with this option.
Side Return Extension
If you have an unused alleyway at the side of your home, you could turn it into a side return house extension. You could create a bright open-plan kitchen/dining area by adding floor to ceiling sliding glass doors or panelling and roof lights.
This type of renovation project rarely requires planning permission.
Wrap Around House Extension
To maximise ground floor potential in your home, you could have a wrap-around extension built. This type of expansion is effectively a combination of both the rear and the side extensions. You could use your new space to accommodate a larger kitchen or a sitting room.
This option always requires planning permission.
Two Storey House Extension
Double-storey extension tends to be more cost-effective than a single storey, as you will be using the same foundations and roof for both. Two storey extensions are typically used to create an open plan kitchen with sliding glass door access the garden on the lower half and a spare bedroom, study or a playroom on the second floor.
This type of extension often requires planning permission.
If your house has an attached garage or a previous single-storey kitchen extension, you could create a new extension on top of it. This type of home extension project is ideal if you want to add a large bedroom with en-suite to your home or a large playroom for the kids.
Planning permission is usually required with this option.
If you are still unsure about whether or not you need planning permission, most construction companies in London will be able to advise you on every aspect of building a house extension, including planning regulations and applications.