What home improvements can I do without planning permission?

While adding an extension or making any major improvement works to your home will require planning permission in order to comply with building law, there are still various home improvements that you can undertake without needing to apply for planning permission first.

Providing that you do not live in a listed building or a conservation area (both of which come with their own set of caveats and guidelines as to what alterations you can undertake), any of the following alterations and improvements can generally be made without the need to gain approval from your local planning department first.

• Changes to the fascia of your home; for instance, repainting in a different colour, or changing the outward material for something, such as adding cladding or pebble-dashing.

• Converting your loft into a living space, or making internal changes to your property, such as by building or removing internal walls or creating a new doorway or thoroughfare.

• Adding certain types of small external structures to your home or garden, including (but not limited to) garden sheds, garden rooms, garages, or conservatories, within the remit of certain size limitations.

• Adding a security alarm or monitoring system to your home.

There are also various other alterations that do not generally require planning permission, providing that you check local regulations carefully and take some caveats into account. These include:

• Adding solar panels to your roof or external walls.

• 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 is treated as an extension.

• Building a porch onto your property. This is assuming that your new porch's area does not exceed more than 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.

• You can also resurface or replace your driveway of any size, as long as you use a permeable surface material that is designed to allow for the drainage of groundwater.

If you have any doubts about whether or not planning permission is needed for the work that you wish to undertake, 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.