residential development guide for home extensions and new dwellings 


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Householders wanting to extend and improve their homes will benefit from the changes to the planning system which comes into force on 1st October 2008, say the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Changes to permitted development rights for householders will mean that many home extensions will no longer require planning permission. This is good news for householders wanting to improve their properties and for builders in the current economic climate. The new changes will mean that most householders will be able to build a loft conversion and a ground floor rear extension without having to apply for planning permission.

In simple terms a householder will be able to build a single storey ground floor rear extension provided that: 

  • The extension does not extend beyond the rear wall of the original dwellinghouse by more than 4 metres in the case of a detached dwellinghouse or 3 metres in the case of any other dwellinghouse.

  • The height does not exceed 4 metres or 3 metres where it is within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse. 

In addition a householder can also build a loft conversion provided that:

  • The cubic content of the extended roof does not exceed 40 cubic metres in the case of a terrace house or 50 cubic metres in any other case.
  • Any enlargement, other than in the case of a hip-to-gable construction, would be 20 centimetres from the eaves of the original roof.

However, the changes to the planning system will also benefit those householders who have previously extended their home. Where a property has benefited from a single or two storey extension the new permitted development allowances will allow a loft conversion to be installed without having to apply for planning permission. Similarly, where a property has benefited from a loft conversion being installed most single storey extensions, and in some cases a two storey extension, can be constructed without the need for planning permission.

The majority of projects will still have to comply with the building regulations and the relevant applications will need to be submitted. However, the relaxed permitted development allowances will help householders to avoid the long delays, inconsistencies and frustrations commonly associated with the planning process.

Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the FMB said.

"The new changes to the planning system will make it easier for both householders and builders wanting to extend and improve homes. Avoiding the need to submit a planning application, which can cost £1000 or more, will save months of frustration and in some cases bitter disappointment. It will also help overstretched local planning authorities by removing routine householder planning applications from their desks."

Berry concluded:

"At a time when the building industry is suffering from the credit crunch anything that makes it easier for householders to get work done to their home can only be a good thing for builders. Over recent months builders have seen a dramatic fall in the number of consumer enquiries. Hopefully these changes will generate more work and help stave off the downturn in the building sector. At a time when house prices are falling maintaining and improving a property becomes essential if householders are thinking of moving. A well maintained property can be the difference between a sale or not."

10th September 2008

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Planning Permision in the Open Countryside