Planning Permission

Garage conversions? Convert your garage to a living space

Do you still park your car in your garage? We've lost count of how many homes we've visited with garages, it's a lot. Out of all those garages the total number that actually had vehicles parked in them was two, yes two! One had a vintage car under a old dusty blanket and the other had a quad bike. So if you do actually use your garage for parking your car, in our opinion you're in the minority.

What if you could make efficient use of your garage and convert it to extra living space? Which could also make pretty good financial sense too. Garage conversions that have been converted to high standards could increase your property value by 10%-12% and that's quite a substantial increase.

So you may now be wondering, do you need planning permission to convert your garage?

Firstly we advise you to check whether you have permitted development rights for your house and that there are no restrictions on the garage when it was originally granted planning permission preventing other uses. If you do not have permitted development rights, you will automatically need to apply for planning permission for your proposed changes.

If you do have permitted development rights and want to convert an integral/attached garage, then as long as the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building, you will not usually require planning permission.

If your garage is detached from the house it may not require planning permission if the proposed conversion is to be used 'incidental' to the enjoyment of the main house. However if the conversion involves the installation of a kitchen, bathroom or sleeping accommodation then your conversion may require 'change of use' planning permission to convert the building to habitable rooms, due to the greater degree of independence from the main house.

So, planning to convert a detached garage to an annexe under permitted development could be possible if it's only to be occupied by guests or dependents of the main house. However, if you want to let it out, you will have to obtain planning permission for independent use. Our advice here is to seek help as this can seem like a grey area and internet research can leave you even more confused about whether you need planning permission or not. 

The issue here is the potential for the garage to become a self contained unit as a dwelling house is only considered as one planning unit. So now the converted garage becomes an 'ancillary' use rather than an 'incidental' use. In simple terms ancillary use would mean it could possibly be used as a standard house (separate unit), where as if the use was incidental it could not exist without the main house. In this case you would likely require planning permission.

In both situations if you intend to develop within your permitted development rights, we would advise applying for a certificate of lawful development (CLD) for the proposed use. A CLD will mean you'll receive a legally binding decision as to whether a proposed development is lawful and doesn't require planning permission.

Building Regulations:

In most instances you will require building regulations to bring your garage conversion up to date with building regulations. Each garage will be different and require different works to bring the building up to standard, such as moisture proofing, insulation, fireproofing, means of escape, ventilation and structural soundness. An inspector will want to check your project as its constructed and will issue you with a completion certificate when satisfied with the finished conversion.

We hope this helps answer your questions with regards to converting your garage. As always if we can be of any further assistance then please get in touch or email us at

Do I need planning permission for a shed or garden room?

summer house_1.png

Lately we are getting a lot of questions about planning permissions and permitted development rights. One of the most popular planning permission queries are shed’s (outbuildings).

A shed or garden room will come under the subject of outbuildings and it’s easier to discuss this topic that way.  An ancillary outbuilding could be a garage, summer house, garden office, pool house, kennel, garden studio, home gym or a storage room (shed). So if you are thinking about adding any of these to home, you will need to assess whether you need to gain planning permission or not.

If you are already thinking about adding an outbuilding, you probably have an idea of the size of the building in mind and what you want to use it for. If you have permitted development rights on your property, we can now move forwards and check if your proposed building falls within those rights. If so, then the good news is you will not require planning permission for your proposed outbuilding.

shed permitted development

Keeping your proposed building in mind. Does it conform with the following?

  • Outbuildings on land in front of the principal elevation require planning permission and do not come under permitted development.
  • Outbuildings and garages are to be single storey.
  • Maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres.
  • Maximum overall ridge height of 4 metres for a dual pitched roof.
  • Maximum overall height of 3 metres for any other roof.
  • Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, or container within 2 metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the house.
  • Decking and raised platforms are permitted development, but must not exceed a maximum height of 300mm.
  • Balconies, verandas or raised platforms are not included under permitted development rules and require planning permission.
  • No more than half (50%) the total area of land around the "original house"* would be covered by additions or other buildings.  (This includes extensions.)
  • In places such as National Parks, the Broads, (AONB) and World Heritage Sites, there are additional constraints. The maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house are to be limited to 10 square metres.
  • On designated land* buildings, containers and enclosures at the side of properties do not come under permitted development rights and will require planning permission.
  • A proposed outbuilding within the curtilage of a listed building will require planning permission.
  • New buildings that are separate, self-contained, living accommodation or have TV antennas do not come under permitted development rights and require planning permission.

*The term "original house" means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). 

If you can comply with the above for your proposed outbuilding, it is now important to understand whether or not your property has permitted development rights. Permitted development rights apply to houses but do not include flats, maisonettes or other buildings.

Why is it important for you to check that your house has these rights?

It is possible that permitted development rights have been removed by the local authority by “Article 4 directions”. For this reason we would always advise that you check with your council whether permitted development rights apply to your house.

We also recommend to people that it is good practice to apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development (CLD) when proposing to construct an outbuilding. A Certificate of Lawful Development means you will receive a legally binding decision as to whether your proposed development or alterations is lawful and doesn't require planning permission.

Building Regulations

You may also be exempt from submitting building regulations, this will generally depend on the size of the outbuilding and its type of construction.

So to provide you with some general information to help you comply with Building Regulations when building a new outbuilding within the boundaries of your existing property, such as garages, carports, a summerhouse, sheds or greenhouse you need to consider the following:

Any outbuilding containing sleeping accommodation will require building regulations.

Attached Garages and Carports:

If you are building a new garage that will be attached to the existing home, then you would normally need building regulations approval for the construction. If you are constructing a new attached carport (Carports must be open on at least two sides) then you would not normally require building regulations approval if its floor area is less than 30 square metres.

Detached buildings:

If you are building a detached garage or other outbuildings with a floor area of less than 30 square metres you would also not normally need building regulations approval if:

A)   The floor area of the garage is less than 15 square metres.

B)   The floor area of the detached garage or outbuilding is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, provided the building is a minimum of 1 metre from any boundary, OR it is constructed from substantially non-combustible materials.

We hope this helps answer your questions with regards to outbuildings for your property. As always if we can be of any further assistance then please get in touch or email us at

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory?

conservatory planning

This is one of our most common questions and is normally followed up by will we need building regulations too?

Firstly I want to give you a building regulation definition of a conservatory, this is important as these factors determine to your local council the difference between your conservatory being a conservatory or an extension:

“A single storey part of a building at ground floor level, where the roof and walls are substantially glazed with a translucent or transparent material, intended for growing plants, but often used as occasional living space. A conservatory has not less than three-quarters of the area of its roof and not less than one-half of its external walls made of translucent material."

This development although the roof is over 75% translucent and has over 50% translucent walls would not be considered a conservatory due to not being separated from the main house. In this case this development is not exempt of building regulations.

This development although the roof is over 75% translucent and has over 50% translucent walls would not be considered a conservatory due to not being separated from the main house. In this case this development is not exempt of building regulations.

So we want to address this as simple as possible to make it understandable for all. Do you need planning permission?

There are some exceptions but in general no. Your conservatory can be built under permitted development rights, subject to the limits and conditions below:


  • Conservatories (including any previous extensions) must not exceed more than half the area of land around the "original house"*. This includes other buildings including sheds and outbuildings.
  • The conservatory is not forward of the front or side elevation facing a road (highway).
  • Rear conservatories must not extend beyond the rear wall of the “original house”* by more than three metres if an attached house, or by four metres if a detached house.
  • In addition, outside Article 1(5) designated land** and Sites of Special Scientific Interest the limit is increased to 6m if an attached house and 8m if a detached house until 30 May 2016.These increased limits (between 3m and 6m and between 4m and 8m respectively) are subject to the neighbour consultation scheme.
  • The maximum height of a single-storey rear conservatory is four metres.
  • A conservatories maximum eaves height that is constructed within two metres of the boundary must be no more than three metres high.
  • Maximum eaves and ridge height of conservatory must be no higher than the existing house.
  • Side conservatories are to be single storey with maximum height of four metres and a maximum width of no more than half the width of the “original house”*.
  • On designated land* there is no permitted development for rear extensions or conservatories of more than one storey; no cladding of the exterior; no side extensions or conservatories.
  • The permitted development allowances above apply to houses only.
  • Flats, maisonettes and other buildings are not included in the permitted development regime.
  • Conservatories proposed to a listed building need listed building consent.

* The term "original house" means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

** “Article 1(5) designated land” - this is land within a National Park, the Broads, an area of outstanding natural beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites.


If you are still in doubt you should always check with your local councils planning department or your architectural service professional. Although planning may not be required you can also obtain a “certificate of Lawfulness”.

A certificate of lawfulness is confirmation from you local councils planning department that your proposed conservatory doesn’t require planning permission.


Does my conservatory require building regulations?

Conservatories are normally exempt from building regulations but there are limits and conditions to check before you start construction:

A Building Regulation application will be required for a conservatory in the following situations:-

a) If the conservatory is to be located in a position that will obstruct access by ladder to an escape window e.g. first floor inner room, second floor alterative escape window, etc. (Regulation 3 (2) material alteration affecting B1 – Means of escape).

b) If the conservatory is likely to obstruct access or facilities for the Fire Service (Regulation 3 (2) material alteration affecting B5 – Access and facilities for the fire service).

c) If the conservatory is likely to affect access or facilities for disable people (Regulation 3 (2) material alteration affecting Part M – Access and facilities for disabled people).

d) If the position of the conservatory is likely to impair the airflow across a balanced flue and subsequently the correct functioning of a boiler (Regulation 3 (2) material alteration affecting a controlled fitting).

If the above items (a) to (d) are met, a conservatory will be exempt from the requirements of the Building Regulations providing:-

1) It is single storey at ground level.

2) Your conservatory has a floor area that does not exceed 30m2.

3) Has at least 75% of its roof and 50% of its exterior walls made of translucent material as stated above in the definition of a conservatory.

4) Has glazing that satisfies Part N of Schedule 1 in the most recent Building Regulations document.

5) It is separated from the dwelling by existing doors or windows. (must not be open to the existing dwelling.

6) For energy conservation the conservatory should be unheated, but if fixed heating installations are proposed, they should have their own separate temperature and on/off controls.

As of the 1st January 2005 any electrical work within the conservatory (the source of which is located within or shared with the dwelling) should be carried out by a person registered under a ‘Competent Person Self-Certification Scheme’


We hope this article helps you with your conservatory planning permission questions. This article has been written as advice and we always advise you to thoroughly research your project before making those steps to construction. If you have any question please do not hesitate to get in contact with us here at