Like the B&Q ad suggests, summer seems to bring out the handy man in all of us.
A lick of paint here, a new hedge design there, you start to see ways to improve the curb appeal of your home. Or maybe you don’t need the reminder and it’s simply time to roll out major renovations that you’ve been saving for all year.
Either way, many homeowners balk from tackling home improvement, when they have to face the dreaded planning permission application.
For some, it’s that plus seeking the approval of neighbours, that crush their home improvement plans.
Like you probably know, it is against the law to do ‘any building work’ without asking your local planning authority. The law requires planning permission for:
• Building or adding to a property if it will affect the external appearance of the building.
• Separating parts of a property if it is to be used as a separate home.
• Sectioning segments of your land if a caravan will be parked and will be used as a home.
While the law protects homeowners from neighbours who may otherwise take advantage, it can also be difficult to understand. Take the case of converting a garden to a driveway; on one hand, you won’t need permission if the ground is porous, but if it will be made out of an impermeable material, you do.
Applicants have also reported long wait times when they applied for permission; if you wait much longer, winter will come back around! But all is not lost as there are certain improvements that can increase property value, improve curb appeal and can be done without planning permission.
No, we are not recommending you break the law; just that you pick and choose your battles. An illegal build will net you a visit from the Council with the prospect of a hefty fine and a request to demolish the project.
Thanks to a loophole known as Permitted Development (PD), homeowners can remodel and even extend their property without fear of Council reprisal. Some of the modifications are subject to size constraints, but you’ll find that being able to remodel and increase the value of your home is well worth it. Six high-value home improvements you can start today are:
• EXTENSIONS – Single storey extensions can be built if they don’t exceed 50% of the total area of land around the house. It must also not exceed four metres in height with the eaves being no higher than the existing house. A two-storey extension can also be built without permission if it is built at the rear of the house and follows the same guidelines as the single storey extension.
• LOFT CONVERSIONS – These are an excellent way to open up space in the home and they don’t require permission, as long as they do not sit higher than the highest part of the existing roof. Estate agents claim that the extra living space you can put here, like a bedroom, can increase property value by up to up to 30%.
• GARAGE – On the ground floor, you can also convert existing garage space to an additional living space. To skirt permission, ensure any work done is internal and does not involve enlarging the building. You can do so under PD provided you are not increasing the overall footprint of the dwelling.
• BIFOLD PATIO DOORS – As long as you don’t live in a listed building, you can install bi-fold doors on your patio. These can also be used to enclose an existing conservatory without any problems.
• SHED CONVERSION – For homeowners with larger plots, under permitted development, you can build multiple outbuildings. Yes, there are caveats, such as it can’t be used as a residence, it must be single storey and the total area covered by the building must not exceed 50% of the total area of the land. But still, you get to create an extra ‘room’ away from the main building, ideal for a home office, store or gym.
• GOING GREEN – The installation of solar panels and wind turbines are permitted, as long as they are not on listed buildings.
With these improvements increasing the value of your home, your comfort and overall aesthetics, what are you waiting for? With the Council out of the way, which mod will you roll out first?
Whether it’s bi-folds for your patio or a roller shutter for your outbuilding, SRL limited is committed to helping you create your dream home. Contact us today!