If you are considering starting a construction project on your home and you’ve started carrying out some research, you might well have come across the term permitted development. To put it simply, permitted development is the building work that you are allowed to carry out on your premises without the need for prior planning consent. However, it can be tricky to know what planning rights you have, if any, unless you have all the deeds to your property. Even then, it’s not always easy to understand your exact rights.


If you have permitted development rights, you will be able to make property changes such as:

  • Enlargements and improvements
  • Additions or alterations to the roof
  • Adding porches
  • Adding outbuildings
  • Converting outbuildings
  • Adding chimneys and flues

It is worth noting that this only applies to houses – there are different rules for flats, maisonettes and commercial buildings. If you want to make alterations to buildings of this type, you will usually need planning permission.


For most people going through a highly technical permitted development order will be intimidating and confusing. It is often worth thinking about what changes you would like to make to your property first, then finding out whether you will be able to make them.

You might think that this is a long-winded way around things, but even if you have permitted development rights, we would usually advise getting a lawful development certificate anyway. This is essentially a way of tidying up the paperwork, making absolutely sure that building work falls within permitted development rights and does not require planning permission.

Getting your lawful development certificate will usually take 12 weeks, which is the same amount of time taken to secure planning consent when there are no issues that need further investigation. We understand that this can be frustrating for people who are sure that they have permitted development rights, but as experts in architectural design and planning permission we would always recommend that you have one. A lawful development certificate isn’t compulsory, but you may need it in future and it’s well worth having if you want to sell your house in future. If you aren’t granted a lawful development certificate, or you are not given the permission you expected, you will have a chance to appeal. Plus, the 12-week process is the perfect time to track down your ideal contractors, so you are ready for the building work to begin as soon as you have your paperwork ready.


There are some locations where permitted development rights may be restricted, or you may find that a property does not have permitted development rights at all. You may find this is the case if your property is within:

  • a conservation area
  • a National Park
  • an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • a World Heritage Site
  • the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads

This means you are more likely to need planning permission to make any alterations or additions to your property and you might need planning permission for adjustments that would normally be allowed under permitted development rights. If this is the case, you should ensure you seek proper advice ahead of carrying out any changes. There may still be alterations you can make, but you need to have a full understanding of your legal obligations before making them.

If you think your property may fall outside of the usual permitted development rights you will need to speak to a lawyer and have them look over your deeds. If there are alterations that you already know you would like to make, you can speak to architectural designers like us. We will be able to offer you advice and support every step of the way, draw up preliminary plans, and if it transpires that you need planning permission we can guide you through the process. We can also advise you on the likelihood of securing planning consent, so you know whether it is worth pursuing your new property alterations.

Do you want to find out more about permitted development rights, planning permission, lawful development certificates or home improvement projects? We are your experts. Call 0208 306 5110, email ku.oc1720877319.sngi1720877319sedba1720877319w@ofn1720877319i1720877319 or fill in our form. We are always happy to chat and offer advice. We can also book in complimentary design appointments where we can discuss your ideas in more detail, produce drawings based on your requirements and advise you further on the permission you will or won’t need.

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