Eight projects that don’t need planning permission

We’ve done the research and we’ve uncovered several home renovation projects you can tackle to upgrade your home

Posted: April 6, 2021

planning permission

Have you ever wondered what home improvements you can carry out without going through the expensive and timely process of planning permission?

We reckon there’s probably more than you might think. We’ve done the research and we’ve uncovered several home renovation projects you can tackle to upgrade your home without going through the painful planning permission process. So, if you want to add some more projects to a never-ending renovation list, then keep reading…

1 Internal Renovations Including New Kitchens/Bathrooms

One of the most obvious projects you can tackle without planning permission is decorative internal renovations, including the addition of a new kitchen or bathroom. Even if you’re switching rooms around and moving the position of rooms (along with plumbing and pipework to go with it), there’s no planning permission needed. You can even move a bathroom from downstairs to upstairs.

The only exception to this is if you live in a listed or conservation building which protects your house in order for it to stay true to its original form. In this case, the rules will vary, so check with your local council about what you can and can’t do. Otherwise, you can get stuck in with a sander and paintbrush.

2 Removing Internal Walls

If you feel like taking a sledgehammer to knock down an internal wall and open up some much-needed space, you can. Provided you know what you’re doing, of course. There’s no planning permission for removing internal walls, however, if you’re removing a load-bearing wall, you should file a building notice to let your council know this work is being carried out, as it will be subjected to certain building regs.

Once the work is complete, the job should be inspected by either your local building control or a private building inspector who will be able to certify the job has been done correctly. There may be a fee for this, so you should check with your local council first. For more information, check out the Planning Portal page for removing internal walls here.

3 Adding a Conservatory

Conservatories can be a cheaper alternative to a full new build extension and a quicker way to add an extra room to your home. They can be installed under the “permitted developments rights” without the need for planning permission. However, there are several conditions your house and conservatory would need to meet, such as size and height limitations which are dependent on the size of your house and the land around it.

The Planning Portal has a great mini-guide which details these conditions in more depth and in a simple interactive way. There may be other conditions based on your local council too and your conservatory may also be subjected to the “neighbour consultation scheme” which requires you to consult with any adjoining neighbours. They are, however, usually exempt from building regulations, as long as they’re below 30 square metres, built at ground level, have an independent heating system and are separated from the main house by an external door.

4. Adding a Driveway

If you own outdoor space at the front of your house, then you can easily add a driveway, no planning permission required. You’ll need to make sure you
use a permeable material that allows rainwater to drain through, which is commonly gravel or block paving. You will also need to obtain permission from your local council if you need to drop a kerb on a pavement and cross a footpath in order for your car to reach the drive. Some councils may request their own contractors are used for this job, so it’s worth investigating before moving forward with this project, as the cost can vary greatly.


5 Fencing and Garden Walls

Is your garden lacking a bit of privacy? Adding either fencing or garden walls can be completed without planning permission and the rules are pretty straightforward. For most fences, they would need to be no higher than 2m, or 1m where it adjoins a road or path. You may need to consult with a neighbour if the boundary is shared, otherwise, that’s it, you can start digging!

6 Sheds and Other Garden Buildings

For most sheds and outbuildings (summer houses and log cabins included!), planning permission is not required. This is another project which is covered by your “permitted development rights” which allows you to build without planning permission, providing your build meets certain criteria.

For sheds and outbuildings, this means they shouldn’t cover more than 50% of your garden, they should be single-storey and no higher than 4m or 2.5m, depending on the type of roof structure and how close it is to a boundary. There are also conditions based on usage too. For more information, waltons.co.uk has a thorough guide.

7 Garages and CarPorts

If you’d prefer to invest in a garage over a shed then thankfully this too can complete without planning permission. If the garage is attached to the house, then it must be less than 30 square metres in size, or if detached, less than 15-square metres. It must also be under 4m in height (or 2.5m in height if within 2m of a boundary) and not provide a living space.

Garages attached to a house may require building regulations, however, those detached are usually exempt unless they are above 30 square metres in size.

8 Decking

Decking is a great way to add a modern and practical outdoor floor, particularly if you’re looking for a project that’s quick, easy and DIY-friendly. If it’s not raised more than 30cm from the ground level and won’t cover more than 50% of your garden, then this is an incredibly straightforward job that won’t require planning permission.


Information supplied by Russ Jones – go to propertyworkshop.com to see his home improvement blog