Permitted Development- what can you do to your house?

Usually I use my posts to show recently completed projects, but I thought it would be useful to take some time to write some explainers (and perhaps help dispel a few myths!)- and the first is about Permitted Development.

Permitted Development allows home owners to adapt and extend their homes without having to go through the planning process. If your house benefits from PD rights and your proposed project falls within the allowances PD gives, then no one can stop you building it (though you still need to comply with building regulations, may need permission from your drainage provider, and party wall agreements, covenants and other restrictions may potentially be in place), so it can be a simple way to pursue your project and gain that all essential additional space.

Permitted development allows you to add a porch (up to 3 sq m), covert your garage, build a single storey rear extension (up to 4m deep, depending on the type of house you have), a side single storey extension (up to half the width of your existing property), create a small rear first floor extension and to convert and extend your attic (up to 50 cubic metre, depending on your house). It also allows you to build outbuildings, decks, patios and boundary walls, among other things.

So- there’s a lot you can potentially do! Given the space (and budget), you could even do all of the above. An average modest semi detached home of approximately 5m width and 8m depth (80sqm in area), could potentially add 35sq m to the ground floor + a 3sq m porch, 15 sq m to the first floor, convert their loft (including large dormers to the side and rear) and also add large outbuildings to the rear, more than doubling the house square meterage.

Even better- since 2013, there is also potential to build a single storey rear extension up to a whopping EIGHT metres deep (again, depending on the style of your house) via a simplified planning process called Prior Notification which asks your neighbours for their opinion first and foremost.

However (here comes the rub…), NOT all houses have all their PD rights- they might have had some or all of their rights removed or limited. This is typically (though not exclusively) in post 1980 properties, and may also be in place on previous planning permissions for the property. This doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your project- but you’d have to ask permission via a planning application. Listed buildings, flats and maisonettes don’t have PD rights, commercial properties have different PD rights and houses in conservation areas, national parks etc have limits on what they can do under PD.

If you do have rights- there are limits on what you can do with them- for instance- as well as the size and volume limits, materials must be ‘similar in appearance’ to the original house (so you might have to forget that lovely cedar clad dream…) and there are other restrictions to heights (relative to the existing house and to boundaries), additions of decks and balconies etc. Practical considerations may also play a large part in whether PD rights are useful to you- for example, if your house is on a hill, the height limits might be more difficult to comply with because they are taken from ground level. Also, PD allowances are given from the original house- so any previous additions may have absorbed some or all of the potential already.

I offer free initial consultations which often help highlight what and where you can best build under PD and how it might be applicable to your home.

Your PD rights can be checked with your local authority (this is something I can help people do), but the best way to verify your rights and whether your proposal falls within them is to submit a Certificate of Lawful Use which, if granted, is a legally binding document which gives you peace of mind and will be useful when and if you come to sell the property. CLU applications are something I frequently apply for on behalf of home owners. If you are interested in exploring your PD rights get in touch!

Double & Single Storey extension Henleaze

This classic 1930’s semi in Henleaze has recently (almost!) completed a double storey side extension with a full width rear extension. The house, previously extended on the ground floor, has improved and opened up the layout, creating a large kitchen/diner/snug space, which leads to the garden and also now has a ground floor WC, utility and very useful store/workshop area. The kitchen, relocated into the original dining space is in an efficient L shaped layout, with a social island. A very generous dining space adjoins a snug area, with sofas and TV, and a fantastic picture window overlooking the garden.

On the first floor, 2 additional bedrooms and an ensuite, give this family home 4 great sized bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The owners built this during the pandemic, so it’s taken a little longer than expected, but the additional space is now highly valuable, especially now home working is the norm.

Lodge House, Bath

This project has been a bit of a slow burner, nearing completion after nearly 4 and half years. Building work was delayed by the pandemic and the owners have been incredibly patient, taking on plenty of the renovation works themselves.

This property, originally a lodge for a large estate nearby, was in great need of some care and attention. A beautiful and unusual Bath stone and timber cottage, with a steeply pitched roof and generous overhangs. A metal corrugated shed was attached the rear and formed the entrance to the small and cramped kitchen. The owners wanted to create a larger kitchen, diner and sitting space, which faced their generous garden, and an accessible ground floor guest bedroom and ensuite.

The details of the building, including the deep, large windows, called for an sensitive solution, which didn’t obscure the many features of the existing property, and had a low impact on the front of the house, which faces the road. A generous rear extension forms the new kitchen and dining space, knocked into what was originally a dining/sitting room. The original kitchen will soon be refurbished into a generous utility room.

The kitchen roof is an asymmetric design, ensuring lots of generous and dramatic height, and avoiding the feature first floor window. New windows echo the existing design.

Large rooflights pour light into the kitchen space, and the stonework, ridge tiles and window design all echo the original house. The owners have spent hours renovating the existing house- uncovering original bath stone walls, carefully and tediously using wire wool to clean them, laid their own patio, and decorated throughout. New bath stone fire surrounds have also been fitted.

A further side extension has provided has provided a guest bedroom and ensuite, creating a lovely private area for visitors to enjoy.

This unusual and fascinating house was a joy to work on, finding creative solutions to compliment the beautiful cottage, and the owner’s hard work and patience has been well worth it!

Single Storey extension Henleaze

This single storey side extension, recently completed, in Henleaze, helped the owners create a large kitchen, diner and seating space over looking their garden, along with a utility and downstairs shower room. The existing dining room has become a new guest bedroom, and in doing so, an additional room has been added without the need to extend on the first floor.

A wonderful fixed pane window gives an unimpeded view out to the garden, and bi folds open up the kitchen to create a lovely inside/outside space. The addition of a wood burning stove to the seating area ensures a cosy, warm secondary sitting area for the house.

Bradley Stoke extension

This single storey extension in Bradley Stoke replaced an existing conservatory which didn’t make the most of the footprint it took up, and blocked light into the existing kitchen. The original dining room at the front of the house was disjointed from the kitchen, making it impractical for social occasions.

ACHD designed and gained planning permission for this extension, which created a large kitchen/diner. The kitchen window was removed and opened up leading to a large new dining room with french doors leading to a refurbished garden. The dining space benefits from the high ceiling, giving an airy feel for this social room!

Accessibility extension in Portishead

I first worked with the owners of this property in 2013 and created an extension which provided two ground floor bedrooms and a shared bathroom for their children, who both have limited mobility. The original post can be found here As their children have become teenagers, their needs have altered and it became necessary to provide larger bedrooms and individual bathrooms, with facilities suited to their needs as young adults.

This property is on a modern estate, and space to expand further was limited, so we had to be creative! The existing double garage was converted and a small extension was added to the front of it, along with a modest additional extension to the rear. The internal arrangement was altered considerably to create two large bedrooms, two adjoining large bathrooms, and to create an uncluttered, open living space, suitable for wheelchair access.

As the ground in this area isn’t suitable for standard foundations, so piled foundations were necessary, and after a 7 month build, the extension is complete. The external alterations, as viewed from the street, are very modest, but internally the modifications are huge, and the extension has made a considerable difference to the comfort and independence of the family. ACHD designed, sought planning and building regs approval for this project, and we again worked in conjunction with Wider Arcada engineering.

Orangery extension on Rodborough Common

This house, originally a lodge on the edge of the Cotswolds, is a beautiful home with lovely period features. The house had an aging timber conservatory, and ACHD replaced this with an Orangery style extension.

This conservatory was beginning to dilapidate, and was separated from the main house with internal doors, limiting its use and making the adjoining living room dark. The owners wanted to replace the existing conservatory with a more useful extension in an Orangery style, and knock through into the living room to make a larger and more open room. ACHD designed the extension and sought planning and building regulations approval.

The Orangery has corner bi folds, which open to the garden and a large flat roof window which floods the space with light. The extension is built in matching stone, and the simple, modern detailing blends with the original house. The knock through creates a much larger space, creating a brilliant social room, perfect for family gatherings and parties.

Emersons Green extension

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working on this house in South Gloucestershire. We designed a shallow, full width single storey extension, combining the existing kitchen and dining rooms to create an open plan kitchen/diner. The room has huge bi folding doors, creating the perfect indoor/outdoor space. The owners have fitted a grey gloss kitchen with a stunning and unusual granite worktop, really giving the space personality. The large central island looks out over the garden, a perfect view! This extension was another collaboration with local builder Ed Buckland, who once again did a brilliant, well finished, job. 2020 hasn’t been the greatest year for socialising of course, but when life returns to normal, this room will be a great space for hosting.

Bath extension

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a completed job with the disruption this year has brought on us all, so it was a real treat to be invited to see this completed project in Bath. This single storey extension to a modern house created a kitchen diner with bifold doors leading to a semi enclosed patio area. A flat roof, hidden behind a parapet, with a lantern window creates a contemporary space. Beautifully finished by a local contractor, the whole house has been exquisitely redecorated and refurbished by the owners, who also had the garden re-landscaped and planted, which has given it a really consistent and flowing style inside and out.