7 home improvements you can make without planning permission

Homeowners looking to upgrade their homes have been informed about seven surprising renovations that can be done without having to apply for a building permit.

TheMoneyPig.com personal financial experts have researched and exposed the rules and regulations for do-it-yourself work – and households may be able to make changes that are easier to do than they think thanks to development rights.

Permitted development rights allow homeowners to make certain changes to a building without having to apply for a building permit.


Here are some examples of what you may be able to do under permitted development rights. However, you should always check with your local planning authority, as in some cases your rights may have been removed.


Porches are the only type of addition that you can make beyond the front wall of a property that is permitted under approved construction. As long as it is no more than three meters, it has an outer footprint of no more than three square meters and no part of it is closer than two meters from any highway.

Do-it-yourselfers without planning permission

Photography: Alicia Taylor

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2. Walls, gates and fences

As long as you don't raise the height of the original structure, you can remove a gate, fence, or wall, make changes or repairs, or do improvement and maintenance. If you want to increase the height, you need a building permit.

Do-it-yourselfers without planning permission

Photography: Annaick Guitteny


Solar panels can help homeowners save money on their electricity bills, and along with fume cupboards and antennas, are approved for development.

Smart home improvements

Photography: Polly Eltes


External buildings that are separated from the main house are permitted within the permissible development, but must be located in a rear or side garden. They cannot be built in a front yard. They can only be one story, and the footprint of an outbuilding must not exceed 50% of the land surrounding an apartment.

Do-it-yourselfers without planning permission

Photography: Simon Bevan

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Building a winter garden on your property is considered a permitted development and does not require a building permit unless more than 50% of the property around the house needs to be covered (this includes all other buildings), or the winter garden needs to be built on the property are in front of the house that faces the street.

Do-it-yourselfers without planning permission

Photography: Jonathan Gooch


Converting your loft can be an ideal tool if you don't have enough space at home. In general, you do not need a building permit if the cubic content of the converted loft does not exceed 40 square meters. With the development allowed, you can even add skylights. Just make sure that they are not higher than part of your existing roof or that they extend above the roof level at the main height.

Photography: Davide Lovatti


Save yourself the hassle of finding a parking space near your home by creating parking spaces within your living space. This is permitted under Class F of the General Permitted Development Order, but certain restrictions still apply. It may be worth asking the council for advice – and to ensure that your PD rights have not been completely removed from this local planning authority.

Photography: Mark Luscombe Whyte

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"Whatever your reasons for expanding or renovating your home, there are many changes you can make without going through the process of applying for a building permit," said a spokesman for TheMoneyPig.com.

Most houses have allowed development rights, but apartments and maisonettes have not. A building permit is therefore required. Some of the improvements and upgrades that are eligible include building porches, garden rooms, and conservatories, and even converting lofts.

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