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What are the most popular home improvements you can make without planning permission?

home owners guide

Upgrading your property is a great way to increase its capital value and enjoy a better quality of life while you’re living there. There’s no limit to what you can do to improve your home but, unfortunately, many proposed works require planning permission before you can get the builders in, which adds extra paperwork, delay and expense. However, if your house benefits from permitted development rights, there are plenty of refurbishments and alterations you can make without needing planning consent.

What is permitted development?

The government introduced the General Permitted Development Order in 2015 as a statutory instrument to grant a ‘blanket’ consent for a wide range of works to qualifying properties in England and Wales, meaning homeowners are able to improve their houses with fewer hindrances. Take a look at our homeowner’s guide to permitted development for more details.

Do be aware, though, that leasehold properties – typically flats and maisonettes – do not qualify for permitted development rights, and neither do listed buildings or properties in Conservation Areas, National Parks, AONBs or World Heritage Sites. It is highly recommended that you check with your local planning authority to make sure you meet the relevant criteria.

Assuming that your home and the proposed works are eligible, here are some of the most popular, and most profitable, home improvements you should be able to make.

Loft Conversion

One of the easiest ways to add value to your house is by transforming an unused loft into habitable space that you could use for, say, a home office, additional bedroom or hobby studio. Most regular loft extensions fall within permitted development as long as you keep to the same roof pitch as the existing roof, stay within a maximum of 50 cubic metres of additional roof space (40 cubic metres for terraced houses), and use similar building materials as the rest of the house. Velux, dormer and hip-to-gable conversions should all be fine but new side elevation windows may not be allowed.

Roof Work

If you wish to make repairs or alterations to roof finish or even replace the roof with a different material, you can do so using your permitted development rights. You may also be interested hear that permissible roof works include the installation of solar panels. The visual impact of the new array should be minimised, and you can also put solar PV installations on outbuildings. With the current energy crisis eating into household budgets, many homeowners are considering the move to solar energy. According to some industry experts, the investment could repay itself in less than 5 years.

External insulation

Effective home insulation is one of the best ways to combat heat loss in the home and can help to significantly reduce household energy bills. We wrote a recent blog on this popular topic that you can read here. Insulation can be installed internally or externally and both can be carried out under permitted development. Installing new or refurbishing existing external insulation using cladding or rigid board must not result in an increase to the height of the building nor move the front elevation closer to the roadside, while the external appearance of the property should remain broadly the same.

Home Extension

Building extensions are permitted at the front, side and back of the house. You can extend your home at the front to a maximum of 3 square metres – enough for a generous porch. The size of a side extension can be up to 50% of the width of the original house. You can build a single storey rear extension up to 4 metres from the original (detached) building, while double storey rear additions must be no longer than 3 metres. You must use building materials that match the existing house as much as is practicable and observe all applicable proximity to boundary rules.

Get in touch

At Cosey Homes, our team of Chartered Surveyors, structural and building engineers is highly experienced in all areas of residential surveying and building consultancy for homeowners and property buyers. We can help with RICS HomeBuyer Surveys, in-depth RICS Building Surveys and a host of specialist property investigations to provide professional insights into the condition of your building. For expert advice from our friendly team, please feel free to get in touch.



Our friendly and helpful team are happy to talk you through your options. Contact us by phone at 01744 412 700 and e-mail at

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DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only and not intended as advice. Each property has its own set of unique circumstances, all potential issues should be investigated by a surveyor on a case by case basis before making any decision.

UK Wide Chartered Surveyors
UK Wide Chartered Surveyors
Cosey Homes offer the full range RICS home surveys from Level 1 - 3 with national coverage provided by our experienced local property surveying team.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only and not intended as advice. Each property has its own set of unique circumstances, all potential issues should be investigated by a surveyor on a case by case basis before making any decision.