A Guide to Planning Permission and Building Regulations in England and Wales

This is a basic guide to help you understand planning permission and building regulations for residential developments in England and Wales. What you are and aren’t permitted to do with regards to extending and developing your home and the standards to which all building work should conform.


Planning Permission

Most new building or major changes to building will require consent from your local council (Known as planning permission)

This planning system is to ensure we save what is best of our heritage and improve the infrastructure upon which we depend for a civilized existence.

Without a planning system people would be free to construct/demolish buildings and use land in anyway they wanted without regard for neighbors and the community.

Any major building work to your property will more than likely require planning permission; however, the following gives an indication of some exemption categories.

Planning permission may not be required for your proposed extension if the property has not been extended before, meaning the house should have permitted development rights allowing you to extend without needing planning permission.


The law as to what constitutes a permitted development changes regularly and you should always check with your local planning authority.

Extensions that are Exempt from Planning Permission:



No more than 3 sq M ground area (measured externally)

No more than 3 m height above ground

At least 2 m from a public highway (road, footpath, bridleway or byway)


Small Extensions and Conservatories:

No more than half of the land around the original house would be covered by additions or other buildings

Not to be extended forward of principle elevation or side elevation fronting a highway

No higher than the highest part of the existing house.

When within 2 m of your properties boundary, in no part higher than 4 m

No bigger than 15% of the existing house volume or 70 cu m (whichever is greater)

Definitely no bigger than 115 cu m in volume


Extension to the roof (such as a dormer window):

The roof extension will add less than 50 cu m to the volume of the house

The roof extension is to a roof slope which does not face the highway

The roof extension does not increase the height of the roof.

Special Cases: Terraced houses, areas of outstanding natural beauty, national park and conservation areas

The extension is no bigger than 10% of existing house in volume or 50 cu m (whichever is greater)

Definitely no bigger than 115 cu m in volume

An extension to the roof is only exempt in the case of a terraced house, providing it is less than 40 cu m in volume

(Please note: in special cases listed above planning permission will be required)

In all cases volume is measured externally and includes roof space



No part of the extension is nearer to a public highway than any part of existing house unless it is at least 20 m away from your finished house (as extended)

No more than 50% of the total area of land around your house has been built on by additions or other buildings.

There are no permitted development rights for extensions to listed buildings

No article 4 directives in force on your property, removing permitted development rights.


Please remember this is just a brief guide into permitted developments and should not be taken as gospel. Click the link for more information about planning permission

Always check with your local authority before extending your property!



Building Regulations

Building Regulations apply in England & Wales and promote standards for most aspects of a building’s construction, energy efficiency, health and safety and the needs of all people accessing and moving around buildings.

Providing you meet the minimum standards in the design and construction of your extension, new build or development, you will receive Building Regulation Approval.

In England and Wales the building regulations requirements are contained in 14 approved documents lettered A to P and issued by the DCLG as guides

Part A – Structural safety

Part B – Fire safety

Part C – Resistance to contaminants & moisture

Part D – Toxic substances

Part E – Resistance to sound

Part F – Ventilation

Part G – Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency

Part H – Drainage & waste disposal

Part J – Heat producing appliances

Part K – Protection from falling

Part L – conservation of fuel and power

Part M – Access to & use of buildings

Part N – Glazing safety

Part P – Electrical safety

Workmanship and materials – Basically this is to make sure the builder is competent and doing the work properly using the right materials and equipment for the job.


For more information regarding the 14 approved documents please see the planning portal website


Exemptions from Building Regulations

Any construction work should always meet the minimum standards set by building control, however, there are some permitted developments exempt form acquiring building regulations approval. Please note: Although exempt from building regulations, they may still require planning permission.

Class 2 – Buildings not frequented by people

Class 3 – Greenhouses and agricultural buildings

Class 4 – Temporary buildings

Class 5 – Ancillary Buildings

Class 6 – Small detached buildings (A detached single storey building, having a floor area which does not exceed 30m2, which contains no sleeping accommodation)

Class 7 – Extensions (A conservatory, porch, covered yard or covered way or a carport open on at least two sides; where the floor area does not exceed 30 m2 and glazing satisfies the requirements of Part N of Schedule 1)


For more information about construction work that is exempt from Building Regulations click here


If you have any questions or would like to know more about building regulations and planning permission for any building work you may require in Sheffield or throughout South Yorkshire, feel free to Contact Us at anytime


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