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What Home Improvements Can I Make for My House Extensions?

3rd October 2014

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Planning Permission for House Extensions: What You Need To Know

House extensions –  or any major improvement works to your home – will require planning permission in order to comply with building law. But there are still various home improvements that you can undertake without needing to apply for consent first.

Providing you aren’t considering house extensions at this stage – and don’t live in a listed building or a conservation area – any of the following alterations and improvements can be made without the need to gain approval from your local planning department first.

Permissible alterations:

  • Changes to the fascia of your home will be permissible; for instance, repainting in a different colour, or changing the outward material for something, such as adding cladding or pebble-dashing.
  • House extensions may require planning permission or need to pass building regulations. Converting a loft into a living space by removing internal walls or creating a new door is normally fine.
  • Adding certain types of small external structures to your home or garden, including (but not limited to) sheds, rooms, garages, or conservatories will normally be allowed by your local authority.
  • Adding a security alarm or monitoring system to your home does not fall within the same remit as house extensions, so you will be able to make your property safer without consultation.

house extension improvements


Other Alterations that Don’t Require Planning Permission

As long as you aren’t in the process of planning house extensions, there are alterations that you can make to your property that will preclude the need to jump through administrative red tape, as long as you check local regulations carefully and take some caveats into account.

The list of allowed alterations includes:

  • Changing or replacing external doors or windows; for instance, installing double glazing. However, building a new bay window in place of an existing plain window may require planning permission, as this falls within the remit of house extensions.
  • Building a porch onto your property. This is assuming your new porch's area does not exceed three square metres of floor space, reach more than three metres high, or end nearer than two metres from the boundary of your driveway or garden.
  • If you have any doubts about whether planning permission is needed, or if you are unsure whether or not your home or local area have any special rules regarding home improvements surrounding them, check with your local council ahead of time.
  • You can resurface or replace your driveway of any size – as long as you use a permeable surface material designed to allow for the drainage of groundwater – and add solar panels to your roof or external walls to make your home ecologically friendly.

What Happens If My Plans Fall Under ‘House Extensions?’

If you have already made the permissible changes outlined earlier in this blog, you may now want to proceed with some major refurbishment work. Our customers are often reluctant to begin this process because they are convinced it will be extremely complicated – and don’t want to have to wade through the complex jargon.

Planning Permission vs Building Regulations

Once you understand the difference between these two terms, the planning process becomes a lot easier. Investigating the benefits of house extensions? Planning permission is about what you can build and where to put what you’ve built. Building regulations are concerned solely with how the process you follow.

The Guidelines that You Need to Follow

When researching and planning your design, you’ll be pleased to find that – just like a conservatory – house extensions are viewed by local authorities as permissible developments and so long as certain criteria are met.

  • House extensions must:
    • Occupy no more than half the land surrounding your home. You will need to subtract the dimensions of existing buildings – like greenhouses – from the space you have available.
    • Not exceed the height of your home’s roof and, if they are higher than one storey, tie-in with the architectural themes of the property to which they are going to be attached.
  • If built on designated land:
    • Not be higher than one storey
    • Exclude the addition of cladding
    • Not be designed as a side extension

The above exclusions are not limitless. You will need to speak to your nearest approved Ultra Installer for guidance on house extensions and how to build them compliantly.

home improvements


Want Help with House Extensions? Find Your Nearest Ultra Installer

Begin your search now by using our free search tool to locate professional fitters in your area that have been approved by Ultraframe. Our network of excellence extends throughout the UK and Scotland, so you’ll be able to find an Ultra Installer near you.

You can also speak to a member of the Ultraframe team by sending us a message at the end of the search process. Ask about our Extensions Plus collection, Livinroof or glass extension range when we contact you, and we will be very happy to answer your questions.

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