Planning Permission


Planning permission can seem like a daunting task but Braidwood Building Services has on worked on extensions all over London and if required are able to recommend architects who may be able to help. Outlined below is some insights into the planning process, which may be useful as a starting point.

Types of Planning Permission

Planning permission for extending your home needs to be granted by your local authority. The type of permission you will require  will depend on the type of works you wish to carry out and your property.  Below is some information on the two different types of planning permission –

1) are Permitted Development and 2) Prior approval and their criteria and requirements.

Permitted Development

All houses in the UK that aren’t listed or otherwise restricted and are not situated in a conservation area have Permitted Development rights. This enables the owner to extend the property in certain ways without applying for Planning permission. The developments listed below would come under Permitted Development:

Detached Houses

  • Ground floor extensions which are a maximum of 3 metres in depth and 4 metres in height.

  • Loft conversions adding up to 50 cubic metres in volume

Semi-Detached Houses

  • Ground floor extensions which are a maximum of  3 metres in depth and 4 metres in height

  • Loft conversions adding up to 50 cubic metres in volume

Terraced Houses

  • Ground floor extensions which are a maximum of 3 metres in depth and 4 metres in height

  • Loft conversions adding up to 40 cubic metres in volume

Prior Approval

The Government introduced a temporary scheme know  in 2013 known as Prior Approval, which has given home owners the opportunity to double the depth that their properties can be extended under Permitted Development. Achieving approval under the scheme requires that  your neighbours do not object to the proposal when they are notified. If a neighbour does voice an issue with the proposal, then the  council will determine the application using a similar criteria to Planning Permission.

Planning Permission

Any type of extension that does not comply with the Permitted Development regulations must receive full Planning Permission. An application must be made to the local authority, and they will decide whether it meets approval.  Planning policy differs from each boroughs and every application is judged on an individual basis. If required we can advise you on what we think is possible, based on our experience within the local area but as each case is different we will only know the final outcome once we have feedback from your local authority.

Party Wall Matters

If you are digging foundations or cutting into a party wall within 3 metres of your neighbour’s property, you must provide them with a party wall notice. This will give your neighbour the chance to instruct a Party Wall Surveyor and have a formal Party Wall Award drawn up. A Party Wall Award will document the condition of your neighbour’s property before the project progresses, and will serve as reference point if any damage is caused by the work. If your neighbour consents to the notice there is no need for a formal award, but if an award is needed you will be responsible for both your own and your neighbour’s surveyor.  Before any works begin you must have signed a Consent Notice of a formal Party Wall Award. 

Freeholder Permission

If you own a share of freehold or you are a leasehold owner, you will need to obtain a License to Alter before you can carry out any works to your property. The process for this will depend on the provisions in your lease agreement, and it is therefore advisable that you consult a solicitor on the matter. Usually, freeholder consent cannot be unreasonably withheld, but this will depend on the terms of the lease and the freeholder. It is worth investigating this before instructing an architect to put together your plans. 

Thames Water

You will require a Thames Water Build Over Agreement if you are carrying out excavation work within 3 metres of a public sewer. You will need to submit your plans to Thames Water so they can advise on whether the  proposed works is going to have an adverse effect on the drain. A drainage survey will be carried out on your property to see if current drainage has any implications on the build. This must be done before works start when there is access to the drains. If the drainage on your land only services your property, then you will not need a Build Over agreement as the drains will be considered to be private.