Check out these 21 home improvement projects you can do without needing planning permission

Apart from the obvious lick of paint or a new carpet, here are some home improvements you can carry out without going through the expensive and timely process of planning permission.

Monday, 24th August 2020, 12:29 pm

The research is all done and we’ve uncovered at least 21 house renovation projects you can tackle to upgrade your home without going through the painful planning permission process. Take a look at the list below.

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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!
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.
Fancy upgrading or adding in some new extra windows and doors? Whether you’re looking at replacing with sash windows, aluminium windows, bi-folding doors or even the trendy Crittall glazing, you can install any of these, hassle-free, without planning. If you use a FENSA approved installer you won’t require any extra certification either as all FENSA installers are able to self-certify their own work for compliance to building regs. It means you will automatically receive a certificate as part of your install. If you chose to DIY-fit or use a non-approved installer, you may need to apply to building control for them to carry out their own inspections to provide certification. Depending on your local council, there may be a fee for this, so it’s always best to check the cost of this first!
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.
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.
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 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.
If you’d prefer to invest in a garage over a shed then thankfully this too can be completed 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 as a living space.
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. Perfect for the summer!
Renewable energy is fantastic for cutting bills, reducing your carbon footprint and some may say, is the future for energy in general. Luckily, solar panels don’t require planning permission and can be installed under “permitted developments” alike.
Much like garages and outbuildings, many single-storey extensions are treated in a similar way and can be done under the same “permitted developments”. The rules for a single-storey extension state that the new-build must not extend more than 6m from the rear wall of the original house, or 8m for a detached house. Likewise, it should also not exceed 4m in height. Side-extensions are also included within these same “permitted development rights”, although should be no more than half the width of the original house, and 4m high.
Surprisingly, some two-storey extensions may also be excluded from planning permission. For this, your two-storey extension is required to be no more than 3m deep from the rear wall of the original house and it must also be no higher than the original house too. No balconies may be permitted and the materials used must match the original house.
Replacing a roof can be a costly affair, so you’ll be pleased to know, no planning consent is required for this job, providing you are not altering the height or plane of the roof.
If you’re lucky enough to have space underneath your house, either in the form of a basement or cellar, this can provide a valuable living space when properly converted. Although there are several obstacles when completing a basement conversion (such as damp proofing and ceiling height), planning permission isn’t one of them, provided it doesn’t alter the external appearance of the house.
Roof lights and roof windows do an amazing job at bringing extra light into a building! For a roofer, this is usually a fairly simple job that simply involves cutting away roof timbers and adding new ones to strengthen the roof to carry the weight.
For many people, having a swimming pool is the dream. Who wouldn’t want to wake up and head straight downstairs for a dip? If building a swimming pool is a possibility for you, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can build either an indoor or outdoor pool without planning permission.
If you want to add value to your house, a loft conversion could be the perfect solution. Normally you won’t need planning permission for this as long as you’re not altering the roof space and it doesn’t exceed the volume allowed, which is 40 cubic metres for terraced houses and 50 cubic metres for other houses.
A great way to change the external aesthetics of your house and give it some curb appeal, whilst at the same time adding a bit more storage space, is by adding a porch. Most porch additions with a floor area no greater than 3m2 and 3m in height can be done without planning permission. Additionally, you can also avoid building regulations by keeping the existing front door in place too.
If you have the cash, consider buying up the neighbouring attached property and turn two houses into one! Not only can you double the size of your house, but usually you can do so without any planning permission needed.
If you fancy the cosiness of a log burner, the only restrictions you’ll need to consider is whether or not you live in a smoke control area. There’s no planning permission for the installation of the log burner or multi-fuel stove, you’ll just need to ensure the model you pick complies with local rules for smoke control.
Whether it’s a warehouse, a barn or something more quirky, planning permission is not always required to convert a non-domestic building into your dream home. This depends entirely on the nature of the building, its location and its use. Therefore, you will need to notify the council of your intentions and they will let you know if it is doable or not.