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Permitted development – what you can build without planning permission

This is a great article from Tamara Kelly in the "Ideal Home Newsletter".

The article lists 15 home additions you can build without planning permission

and is correct when it says you'll be surprised what you're permitted to do, to improve your property without planning permission.

For example adding a standard loft conversion. This usually involves a new dormer in the rear and Velux window in the front.

The article states that you won’t need planning permission as long as the loft conversion is no higher than the highest part of the roof and a similar material to the rest to the house is used. If you live in a terraced house the conversion can have a volume allowance of 40 cubic metres of additional space. Detached and semi-detached houses can have an extra 10 cubic metres on top of this. However, the roof enlargement can’t hang over the outer wall of the house.

Even though you don't need planning permission you will probably need to serve party wall notices if you are in a semidetached or terraced house.

Why do I need to serve party wall notices?

In most cases you will be inserting steel beams into the walls either side to support the roof that you will be cutting away from to produce the loft conversion. If this wall is shared by another neighbour in a semidetached or terraced house you need to notify them by means of a party wall notice. This will be a Section 2 party structure notice. It is fairly simple to serve.

It needs to include the following details:

  • your own name and address (joint owners must all be named, e.g. Mr A & Mrs B Owner)

  • the address of the building to be worked on (this may be different from your main or current address)

  • a full description of what you propose to do (it may be helpful to include plans)

  • when you propose to start (which must not be before the relevant notice period has elapsed).

It should be dated and it is a good idea to include a clear statement that it is a notice under the provisions of the Party Wall Etc. 1996 Act.

If the neighbour consents in writing you can proceed with the work. If the dissent you and your neighbour will need to appoint a party wall surveyor each, or one between you known as an Agreed Surveyor. The Surveyor(s) will likely visit the neighbours property to take a schedule of condition before work starts. They will then serve a party wall award (sometimes referred to as a party wall agreement) on you and your neighbour setting out how the work should be done in a safe way. After that and the prescribed time in the notice has elapsed you may begin your project.

Next week we will be looking at rear and side extensions.

If you need any help with party wall notices or do you need a party wall surveyor in the following areas please don't hesitate to give us here at bluegrass surveying a call.



Thornton Heath






West Wickham



Crystal Palace


Loft Conversion
Loft Conversion in Crystal Palace

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