When you want to extend your property, you’ll usually need to check if you need planning permission before you start drawing up the plans. Doing any renovations safely and legally should always be your first priority, regardless of the work you’re undertaking.

However, what if repurposing existing space in your home could make the transformation you’ve been longing for? In the following guide, we’ve offered some ideas for making the most out of your home – without the need for extra paperwork.

When do you need planning permission?

Some projects don’t need planning permission, but these exceptions are usually only made for industrial buildings. Permission is generally required for new buildings, major structural changes to existing buildings, and changes to the intended use of a building.

If you’d like to improve part of your home but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve offered a few suggestions below.

How can I change my home?

  1. Renovate your loft

The majority of loft conversions are considered permitted development – so it’s unlikely that you’ll need prior planning permission. Your project will need to meet certain criteria.

An acceptable loft conversion shouldn’t extend beyond the highest part of the existing roof – and does not include any verandas or shared balconies. It shouldn’t be any larger than 50 cubic metres for semi-detached and detached houses, or 40 cubic metres for terraced houses.

There are a few terms on windows, too. Any side-facing windows should be privacy-glazed and must also be at least 170cm from the ground. If you live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you might not be able to convert your loft.

  • Refresh your garage

Got a garage full of junk? If you can only see boxes in your garage, it could be time to clear things up. As long as you’re not making any external or structural changes – especially if your garage is connected to a neighbour’s garage – you can clean up your garage on your own terms.

Whether you install some comfortable chairs, a home office setup or a workbench for your future DIY projects, the garage could be a fantastic place to start.

  • Divide your living room

Depending on your internal wiring and plumbing, you could divide a large room like a living room into two rooms. For smaller jobs like attaching doors with latches, hinges, and handles, you should be able to undertake the handiwork by yourself – especially if you’re on a tight budget.

You might need to ask professionals for help with large work such as building a new internal wall, so don’t attempt anything that makes you feel out of your depth.

  • Convert an outbuilding

If you have an empty space or an external room you’re just using for storage, why not transform it into something new? Whether you build a gorgeous summer house with paned windows or your own miniature workshop, outbuildings offer so many possibilities.

Outbuildings can be considered a permitted development – meaning they don’t require planning permission – as long as they meet certain criteria.

We’ve offered tips based on general guidelines in our article, but if you’re planning renovation or structural work on your home, you should always check with your local authority first.

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