Permitted Development FAQ – Is Your development really permitted?

As a homeowner the idea that you can extend your property without the formal pre-requisite of planning consent can sound very attractive, especially the thought of a glazed rear extension. This is called ‘Permitted Development’ and was revised and came into effect 1st October 2008.

However, ‘Permitted Development’ as clear as the guidelines may appear does not give you carte blanche to commence construction nor should it be treated as a means of sidestepping you local authority planning department.

From our recent experience with Permitted Development we present some typical questions and situations a home owner should be aware of before calling a builder.

Q: My neighbour says his builder told him that ‘with Permitted Development Rights he doesn’t need planning permission for an extension’, is this true?

A: Yes, under the rights for ‘Permitted Development’ (PD) you are allowed to build an extension without formal planning consent but you will need to get retrospective permission after construction is completed. This means making an application for a ‘Certificate of Lawful Development’. In this way it is your responsibility as the homeowner to ensure that the building works carried out meet the conditions of ‘PD’ and building regulations. Should the works not comply, you will be liable for any enforcement action by the council which means you will bear the cost of any remedial or demolition works to bring the works up to standard, not the builder.

Q: Can I just copy my neighbour’s extension; my house is after all exactly the same?

A: It may not be that simple. Any extension you propose may fall over a sewer access point or storm drain in which case Thames Water would need to get involved and you may need to arrange a ‘Build-Over’ agreement. Any works that build on a party wall which is jointly owned by yourself and your neighbour would be subject to a party wall agreement; there would be fees attached to both of these.

Points to consider.

– You still have an obligation to inform the council of any building works you planning or indeed have already built.

– Advice from a neighbour or builder may not always be reliable, neither of them are qualified to give professional advice nor are they liable for the cost of remedial or demolition works should things go awry.

– Always consult your local architect prior to approaching a builder and where possible engage an architect to make an application for a ‘Certificate of Lawful Development’ for you. This will cost but is the safest course of action for a homeowner looking to develop their property.

If you would like any further advice on Permitted Development, Party Wall Agreements please call Bash on 0208 954 6291 or 07961 319 721 or

One response to “Permitted Development FAQ – Is Your development really permitted?”

  1. Gerard Stewart says:

    My neighbour has planning permission to build right up to our boundary line. We objected but permission was granted. Now we have a PWA in force that I pointed out should be in place as builders, and neighbours did not know about it.
    I have now found that they have adjoined our property on the garage with brick work without my consent. Is this allowed when it did not form part of the plans nor was I advised in writing and we had stated from day 1 we did not want to be joined as this would inherantly make us a link.
    Any advice would be appreciated