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Green Light For Two-Storey Extensions

Until now, building an extension has required planning permission. However, homeowners hankering to extend their home can now go ahead without getting permission, thanks to new government rules. The easing on legislation is designed to address the housing and care crisis by allowing for extended families to easily live together, and to boost the building and trade industries, which have been left vulnerable by the pandemic.

Exceptions to the rule

If you are planning on extending upwards – wait until after August 31st, when you can add two extra floors. If you’re living in London, however, it isn’t that simple; the new easing of legislation only applies if you live in a detached home built between 1948 and 2018. Victorian homes, terraces and top floor flats are, therefore, not able to enjoy the new freedom to build.

The bigger picture

Not everyone is celebrating this change in legislation. The practicalities of adding two whole floors – removing the roof and potentially doubling the height of a home – are far more complex than simply adding a loft extension. It takes a skilled architect and experienced builder to undertake such a job, with considerable disruption and at a much higher cost than doing a conversion.

Home transformations that don’t need planning permission

While extending up without permission seems to be a fairly radical concept, this is not the only home transformation that you can do without permission:

  • Kitchen extensions up to four metres at the back of a detached home or three metres behind a semi or terrace, providing it doesn’t take up more than half of the outside space and uses materials in keeping with the original building.
  • Two-storey rear extensions of less than three metres, provided that they leave seven metres of garden.
  • Side return extensions that don’t exceed four metres in height and aren’t more than half of the height of the original house.
  • Single-storey side extensions of detached homes, provided they are in keeping with the original building.
  • Loft extensions smaller than 40 cubic metres in terraced homes and 50 cubic metres in terraced or semi-detached homes.
  • Single-storey outbuildings – some restrictions apply based on the size of your plot.
  • Front porches are permitted providing they are no bigger than three square metres and are more than two metres from your boundary.

If you want to make the most of your home, speak to an experienced builder. They will have a good idea of what you need planning for, and will be able to offer guidance based on their extensive experience. If you decide not to work with a local architect, it is best to contact your local authority to ascertain that your works are permissible.

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