19 Home Projects you can do without Planning Permission

16 October 2015

updating or remodelling without planning permissions

Gaining planning permissions can be a long process and the thought of the bureaucracy puts some homeowners off making any alterations to their homes.

However, there are a number of projects you can undertake without any planning applications required.

Internal remodelling

Changing internal layouts, removing internal walls and creating open plan living areas can dramatically change internal living spaces and improve living conditions. As long as your home isn’t listed these internal changes don’t require any type of planning permissions.

Even small changes like installing a new modern kitchen or updating your bathroom can improve your home with little fuss.

House Extensions

You can add additional rooms onto the rear or side of your house and, as long as they fall within the restrictions, are covered by the government permitted development rights.

A single-storey extension can extend up to 4m from the rear of a detached house and 3m from the rear of an attached house. Two storey rear extensions are also covered as long as they don’t extend more than 3m from the rear of the building.

If you are extending to the side of the house the new extension cannot be more than 50% the width of the original home.


The size limitations for permitted development conservatories are the same as a house extension. But you have to ensure that the new conservatory is being attached to the original house rather than a subsequent extension.

Replace Windows

You can replace or update windows in your home without any planning permission needed, as long as the home isn’t in a conservation area or listed.

You are expected to take steps to ensure that the replacement windows are of a similar design to the ones they are replacing so that the external design of the building is not dramatically changed.

Keep in mind that any new bay windows are classed as an extension and any side windows need to use obscured glazing to maintain your neighbour’s privacy.

Loft Conversions

You can change your loft or attic into a habitable living space and as most of the works involved with this type of works are internal, no planning permissions are required.

If you wish to add a Dorma window or similar roof extension they are allowed as long as they do not extend beyond the existing plan of the roof.

Garage Conversions

In most council districts in the UK, you are able to convert your existing garage without planning permission needed, as long as the works are internal of the garage structure.

Some council boroughs in the UK are slowly removing this right so always check before beginning works.


You can improve the entrance area to your home by adding a porch. No planning permissions are required as long as the porch is not more than 3m high and the ground floor area covered by the new porch is not more than 3m2.

You could also consider adding a new front door to improve the design and insulation of this entrance space.


You can build a standalone outhouse in your garden with no planning permissions required, as long as the intended use of the new space is not a bedroom.

Possible uses for this new space include home gyms, offices or relaxing living areas.

The outhouse must be behind the house and cannot take up more than 50% of the garden area.


Repairing existing roof coverings, or replacing roof coverings with similar material, can all be done without planning permission as long as the new roofing material does not protrude more than 150mm from the existing plane of the roof


Installing rooflights into an existing roof is covered by permitted development rights. The rooflights can bring in lots more natural light to internal living spaces and all you have to ensure is that they do not protrude more than 150mm from the existing roof.

External Building Cladding

As long as your home is not listed, or is not located within a protected area, then you can paint, repair or replace any external cladding without planning permission required.

The new house cladding must match the existing as much as possible.


Most additional insulation that would be added to your home is classed as internal works and therefore no planning permission are required.

If the insulation is going to be added to the exterior of a home it is covered by Permitted Development as long as the new insulation doesn’t increase the height of the building or move the front wall closer to a highway boundary.

Solar Panels

The government is keen to reduce the amount of carbon emissions from our homes and therefore have made it easier for homeowners to add these renewable energy sources. No planning permission is required to add solar panels to your roof as long as they do not protrude more than 200mm from the face of the roof and are installed below the highest point of the roof.

External Swimming Pools

Building a swimming pool within your back garden has the same rules as building an outhouse. The new pool cannot take up more than 50% of the rear garden


You can add decking to the rear of your house as long as it doesn’t rise more than 300mm above the existing external floor.

Using similar constraints to outbuildings, the decking cannot take up more than 50% of your garden. You could also consider installing a patio roof, such as an IQ Outdoor Living structure, to protect the new decking area from rain and excessive sun.

Gates, Fences and Boundary Walls

You can build new boundary elements with no planning permission required within certain size restrictions. Any new walls or fences facing the highway cannot be more than 1m high with all other boundary elements with a maximum height of 2m.

External Paving or Driveways

Laying or replacing hardstanding is covered by permitted development rights but if you are covering more than 5m2 of land in front of your house you must ensure that the floor material is either porous or rainwater is directed into a lawn or flowerbed.

Soft Landscaping

Obviously, the majority of gardening works and changes are possible without any planning permissions but major changes, such as planting hedges, have restrictions.

Some trees may also be protected so cannot be removed or trimmed back.

Change of Use

Under permitted development rights it is possible to change the use of many different types of agricultural or commercial buildings into residential properties under certain constraints. See our article about barn conversions for further details.

View our Pinterest Board for more design inspiration without planning permission.

With all changes to your property, it is always advisable to check whether your works require any permissions, or if they are covered by permitted development rights before your begin the work.

Any houses in conservation areas, protected areas or listed buildings will be subject to additional planning requirements due to the more sensitive nature of these homes.

Check www.planningportal.gov.uk for more help and advice. 

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