Great Home Improvement Projects that Require No Planning Permission

Great Home Improvement Projects that Require No Planning Permission

Planning permission exists in order to ensure that any new development to a property has no adverse effect on the local environment. As a result it applies to changes made to the exterior of a property – anything that anyone else can see or be affected by in some way. If you do need to get planning permission for your development, it can be a time-consuming and costly process, so if there is an agreeable alternative, it is well worth considering.
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The good news is that there is a surprising amount of home improvement projects, even to property exteriors, that are classified as ‘permitted development’, which means they don’t need planning permission. As a general rule, if your property is on ‘designated land’ you are far more likely to have to apply for planning permission. Designated land is either a conservation area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a World Heritage Site. Listed buildings also have much greater restrictions in this regard.

Here is an outline of the home improvements you can make to your home without having to get planning permission.


double glazing In most cases replacing windows and doors, adding new ones and getting double glazing installed are all PD (permitted development), although it is worth remembering that bay windows are classified as extensions (see below).

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Rooflights are also PD, provided they don’t extend forward of the roofplane if the property fronts a highway, or is on designated land. Gates, walls, fences, cladding and solar panels are also PD for homes which are not on designated land.


Garages, lofts and basements are all permitted developments, and don’t need planning permission, unless the property is a listed building. This is because these are essentially internal developments and you will not be increasing the footprint of the property in any way.

basement conversion

However, building regulations are very likely to apply, particularly if there are to be any structural changes or electrical works. Similarly, internal remodelling is also classed as PD, but again, building regulations will likely apply. Image source:


In most cases, outbuildings do not need planning permission, and the great news is more things are classed as outbuildings than you might think. Sheds, summer houses, kennels, sauna cabins, tennis courts and even swimming pools all come under the term outbuildings as far as planning permission authorities are concerned.

outdoor sauna

If your property is on designated land, or is a listed building, the limitations are much stricter, but most properties can have outbuildings provided they are not too tall (particularly if they are close to the property’s boundary), and they don’t take up over 50% of the building’s curtilage.
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Depending on height, footprint, and the far wall’s distance from the main property, you made not need to get planning permission for a house extension, bay window or porch. Recently, the government has proposed enlarging the maximum size a house extension can be to remain PD, in an attempt to encourage more people to extend their properties. At the time of writing negotiations are still ongoing, so keep checking in with the House Extension Online blog for the latest developments.

house extension

If you need accurate information on how the restrictions currently stand for extensions, outbuildings, alterations and conversions, or if you are still not sure if your home improvement plans may be affected, visit the government’s Planning Portal, it explains all planning permission and permitted development limitations in detail. Image source: