Do I Need Permission/?

The short answer is yes; at the very minimum, you will need to get building control approval so you can’t build entirely without permission. However, it could be very straightforward to obtain and does not need to delay you getting started (see below). The other main approvals to consider are:

  • planning

  • freeholder consent

  • party wall award

  • covenants in the title to your property which may mean you will require someone else’s agreement


Planning Permission / Permitted Development for an Extension

You could build an extension or conversionwithout permission if your proposal falls within the permitted development guidelines. But first there are restrictions to consider:

  • Be aware that flats and maisonettes do not have permitted development rights, so you won’t be able to build your extension without permission.
  • You may have restricted or no permitted development rights if you are in a conservation area, National Park, AONB or World Heritage Site.
  • There are restrictions on position, size and materials when building an extension under permitted development.

If you want to be certain that your proposal falls within permitted development guidelines, you can apply for a certificate of lawful development. This may come in useful when you come to sell your property, to show the buyer or buyer’s mortgage lender that your construction without planning permission was legal.


Building Control Approval

This one is a big yes; you will need building control approval for your home extension, conversion or refurbishment.

There are certain standards, set out by government, that all building projects must follow. There are a set of documents called ‘Approved Documents’ that act as a guide to achieving these standards.

There are three options on getting approval for your home project:

  1. A ‘building notice’ is where you/your builder gives notice to the council that works are about to start. This makes things much quicker, but there is more of a risk that you will be asked to change aspects of the design as you go. Also, there is less scope for appealing their decisions. However, this route could be suitable for a simple house extension/.

  2. A ‘full plans’ application to the council means that you submit plans and details for approval before work starts. This information is usually much more detailed than a set of planning drawings. Once submitted, the decision takes a minimum of five weeks. Once work starts on site, regular inspections will be made.

  3. Using an ‘approved inspector’. An approved inspector is a private individual or organisation employed by you to ensure that your project complies with the building regulations. They will check and inspect the work instead of the local council.


Do You Share a Wall Or Fence With a Neighbour?

Or even if you plan to excavate some ground near a neighbour’s property, you may need to have a Party Wall Award in place before starting work. You are legally obliged to give your neighbour 1-2 months’ notice (depending on what the works involve). If you’re unsure whether the Party Wall etc. Act applies to you, have a look at Party Wall Matters or give us a call on 01342 833448


If you wish to discuss the approval process in more detail, or for further information on any of our professional services please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can be reached on 01342 833448 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, you can complete the enquiry form below and we will contact you immediately.