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Common Permitted Development Mistakes: How to Avoid Them

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Are you thinking about making some changes to your home or property? Before you start, it’s essential to understand what is and isn’t permitted under current development rights. In this blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at the basics of permitted development rights and what can potentially be allowed. We’ll also explore some common mistakes that people make when undertaking development projects, such as taking planning advice from someone other than a qualified town planner and not meeting all the permitted development criteria. These common permitted development mistakes can have serious consequences, including receiving an enforcement notice, an unlimited fine and in the worst case having to demolish the build or restore the property to its original state or use. However, there are steps you can take to ensure compliance with permitted development policies, such as seeking expert planning advice from a qualified town planner and applying for a lawful development certificate or prior approval. Building regulations are also crucial to consider when undertaking a permitted development project. If you’re worried about whether your planned changes comply with permitted development policies, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Our experts are here to guide you through the process and ensure that your project is lawful.

Avoid Common Permitted Development Mistakes

Understanding UK Permitted Development Rights

Permitted development rights, which allow certain types of building work without planning permission, come with limitations and criteria. Before starting any building project, it’s crucial to research and familiarise yourself with these rights. Consulting a qualified town planner can help clarify your permitted development rights, minimise risk, and avoid costly mistakes.

Understanding UK Permitted Development Rights

The Basics of Permitted Development Rights

Permitted development rights grant homeowners the freedom to make specific alterations including extensions, loft conversions, and conservatories to their properties without seeking planning permission. However, it’s important to note that permitted development rights differ based on the type of property and its location. To qualify, the size and scope of the proposed work must fall within the specified limits and conditions. For instance, if you live in a listed building, you will have to apply for listed building consent, or if you live in a conservation area or another designated area (eg, an area of outstanding natural beauty) without permitted development rights, you may have to submit a planning permission application. It’s always wise to consult the local planning authority or a qualified town planner to ensure your project meets the criteria for permitted development.

What Can Potentially Be Permitted Development?

Examples of permitted development projects include small-scale home extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions, outbuildings, porches, driveways, dropped kerbs, fences, windows, doors, solar panels, HMOs and even a change of use can sometimes be considered permitted development. However, certain alterations may require approval under building regulations. Permitted development rights do not apply to properties in conservation areas or listed buildings. Flats, maisonettes, and commercial buildings generally do not have permitted development rights.

Permitted Development Loft Conversion

Common Permitted Development Mistakes

Failing to meet all the criteria for permitted development can lead to enforcement action by the planning authority. Hidden planning constraints can catch many people off guard, these can remove their permitted development rights and mean that planning permission is required. Planning policies can change, and councils have the power to remove Permitted Development Rights at any time in the future. Without a Lawful Development Certificate, there is a risk of enforcement action, even if it was permitted development at the time the work was carried out. It’s crucial to fully understand the limitations and requirements of permitted development. These are the 5 most common reasons that people end up in trouble over permitted development;

Taking Planning Advice From Someone Other Than a Qualified Town Planner

Seeking advice on planning from an unqualified source can result in inaccurate information, leading to non-compliance with regulations. To avoid these common permitted development mistakes, consult a qualified town planner. Only they have the qualifications and expertise to offer accurate guidance and ensure your project meets all necessary criteria. Taking chances without proper advice can lead to potential legal issues and even demolition. Don’t risk it – seek guidance from a qualified professional.

The Design Does Not Meet All Permitted Development Criteria

Careful design is essential to meet all criteria for permitted development. Even one missed criterion requires planning permission. In addition to the length, width, height, minimum living space and materials etc. it is also important to assess the impact on the surrounding area. Architects are qualified in design, but not planning laws, so their designs may not comply with relevant policies. A town planner will be able to advise whether your design meets these criteria. In the event that it does not, you have the option to either modify the design accordingly or apply for planning permission.

Permitted Development Rights Were Used Up On Previous Developments

Permitted development rights are limited, and it’s important to keep track of any previous developments to your property that may have used up some or all of your PD allowance. To ensure compliance with current regulations, consulting with a qualified planning consultant is crucial. Failure to comply with permitted development rules can result in costly fines or even the need to tear down the new construction.

Permitted Development Rights Removed Before Commencing Work

Before you start construction, it’s important to check if your property’s permitted development rights have been removed. Many people make the mistake of assuming they can proceed without planning permission, only to face enforcement after it’s built. Even if your project meets the criteria for permitted development, if the rights have been used or taken away, you will need to obtain planning permission. To determine the status of your property’s permitted development rights, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified town planner.

Permitted Development Rights Removed After Commencing Work

It’s important to be aware that while you may have permitted development rights when you begin a project, the council has the power to remove these rights at any time in the future, which could lead to enforcement action. If your permitted development rights are removed after completing the work and you don’t have a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC), you run the risk of facing enforcement action. To avoid problems, it’s important to apply for an LDC. This provides legal confirmation and may be needed when selling or remortgaging your property. If you think a development was allowed, but there’s no legal proof, speak with a town planner. You can also apply for a retrospective LDC if your project meets the criteria and still has Permitted Development rights.

Permitted Development Extension

Consequences of Permitted Development Mistakes

Making mistakes in permitted development can result in enforcement action by the planning authority. Enforcement notices may require you to undo or alter the work done, resulting in additional costs and delays. Non-compliance with permitted development criteria can lead to legal issues and penalties. Mistakes in permitted development can negatively impact your property’s value and future saleability.

You May Receive an Enforcement Notice

Failing to comply with the criteria for permitted development could result in receiving an enforcement notice, which may require you to rectify any non-compliance or face legal consequences. Responding to an enforcement notice can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. Consulting with a qualified town planner can help ensure your project meets all necessary requirements and minimise the risk of receiving an enforcement notice. Under the neighbour consultation scheme, if you apply for retrospective planning permission you must give notice to the council, allowing your neighbours the opportunity to raise their concerns and objections, which can sometimes result in refusal.

You May Receive an Unlimited Fine

Failure to adhere to permitted development policies can result in significant financial consequences. Ignoring planning regulations or non-compliance with permitted development rules may lead to severe penalties, including the possibility of receiving an unlimited fine. It is essential to be aware of the potential fines associated with violating permitted development guidelines and to avoid the risk by strictly adhering to the policies. By doing so, you can protect yourself from the hefty payments that may result from these common mistakes.

You May Have To Restore The Property To Its Original State or Use

Non-compliance with permitted development policies may require undoing any alterations made to the property. If you have changed the use of a property and receive enforcement you will need to stop using it as the new use until retrospective planning permission is approved, if it is approved. For a business, this can lead to many months of lost income in addition to the cost of a retrospective planning application. If your development is very low cost, for example, a cheap fence you might feel comfortable with the risk of tearing it down but for larger developments most people are not comfortable with the risk.

You May Not Be Able to Sell or Remortgage

Non-compliance with permitted development policies may impact your ability to sell or remortgage the property, creating obstacles in the process. Ensure compliance with these rules to avoid potential difficulties. Often this only comes to light once an offer to buy has been accepted and the solicitor asks for proof the development was lawful. This often leads to buyers pulling out of the purchase.

Your Development May Not Increase The Value Of Your Property

If you do not have a lawful development certificate to prove that your development is lawful and does not require planning permission it may not increase the value of your property. If you want to create new space to increase the value of your property you need to ensure you have the legal paperwork. Specifically a Lawful Development Certificate, Prior Approval or Planning Permission and Building Regulations as applicable for your development.

Don't risk enforcement action

How to Ensure Compliance with Permitted Development Policies

To ensure compliance with permitted development policies, it is essential to seek guidance from a qualified town planner. They can provide expert advice and help navigate the complexities of the regulations. Another important step is to apply for a lawful development certificate or prior approval, which is the only way to obtain a legal determination. Informing your insurer about any changes made to the property is crucial to maintain coverage and ensure compliance. Planning policies are ever-changing so what may have been permitted development before may now require planning permission so it is vital to seek up-to-date advice on current policies.

Seek Expert Planning Advice From a Qualified Town Planner

When it comes to navigating the complexities of permitted development regulations, seeking expert planning advice from a qualified town planner is a good idea. Hiring a professional town planner can provide valuable guidance on complying with permitted development policies and ensure adherence to guidelines. With their expertise, they can help you avoid common mistakes and make informed decisions throughout your project.

Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate or Prior Approval

Applying for a certificate of lawful development certificate or prior approval is the only way to get a legal determination that your project is lawful and does not require planning permission. Formal consent from your planning authority will ensure your development is lawful, adds value to your property and protects you from retrospective planning issues or enforcement action. It is important to bear in mind approval is not guaranteed even for permitted development, just like a planning application it will either be approved or refused. If it is refused you would need to apply for planning permission. However, as the council can only asses the application against the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) rather than all planning policies, if your project meets the criteria it should be approved. Another big benefit of applying for an LDC vs planning permission is that, unlike a planning application, your neighbours do not get an opportunity to object.

Why Informing Your Insurer Matters

Informing your insurer about any changes made to the property is crucial to maintain coverage. Failure to do so may void your insurance policy. Keeping your insurer informed about modifications ensures continued coverage and protects you financially. Don’t forget to notify your insurance provider about any permitted development changes to avoid potential gaps in coverage and hefty payments. By informing your insurer, you can ensure that you have the necessary protection in place for your property.

Apply for a lawful development certificate to protect development

The Role of Building Regulations in Permitted Development

Paying attention to building regulations is essential when undertaking permitted development projects. Building regulations ensure that these projects meet safety and quality standards, contributing to their success and longevity. Compliance with building regulations is necessary to avoid penalties and complications. Understanding and adhering to these regulations is crucial for the smooth execution of permitted development projects. By following the guidelines set out by the relevant authorities, such as the local planning department, homeowners can ensure that their project meets all the necessary building regulations approval.

Why Paying Attention to Building Regulations is Crucial

Ensuring compliance with building regulations is essential for the success of permitted development projects, including loft conversion building regulations. These regulations are in place to guarantee structural integrity and safety throughout the construction process. By following building regulations meticulously, you can avoid potential hazards and ensure that your loft conversion project meets the required standards. Ignoring these regulations can lead to costly mistakes and safety concerns. Therefore, paying attention to building regulations for developments including loft conversions, garage conversions, and extensions is crucial to ensure the smooth completion of your permitted development project.

The Impact of Ignoring Building Regulations

Ignoring building regulations in permitted development projects can have severe consequences. It can lead to structural issues and safety hazards, compromising the integrity and quality of the project. Non-compliance with building regs, can result in legal actions and financial penalties. Additionally, ignoring these crucial guidelines can cause complications and difficulties throughout the development process. To avoid the negative impact of ignoring building regulations, it is essential to ensure compliance and seek professional advice before you start and as required throughout the process.

Building regulations

When to Seek Professional Help with Permitted Development

Understanding permitted development can be challenging, so seeking professional help is advisable. Experts can ensure your project complies with regulations, saving you time and money and helping you navigate the planning process. Working with professionals provides peace of mind for a successful project.

The Value of Getting Expert Advice First

Seeking professional advice first thing, before you start work is crucial when it comes to permitted development projects. Experts can help determine if your project falls within the scope of permitted development rights and guide you through the process, ensuring compliance with building regulations. By seeking expert advice, you can identify potential issues early on and receive valuable insights and recommendations based on their experience. This will allow you to make informed decisions, avoid costly mistakes, and ensure the success of your project.

What Do If You Are Worried About a Permitted Development?

If you find yourself concerned about a permitted development, it’s best to seek advice from a planning consultant or local authority as soon as possible. Our town planners are here to offer guidance if you have already completed work and have any concerns. You can also apply for a retrospective Certificate of Lawfulness to confirm the legality of your development assuming it does meet the criteria and there are no constraints that removed your permitted development rights.

How Can We Help You With Permitted Development?

Our team of experts are here to assist you with your permitted development project. We offer a free consultation to get started and can conduct a planning appraisal also known as a feasibility study, to determine if your project qualifies as permitted development. Our chartered architects and town planners will ensure that your design meets all requirements and submit the necessary applications on your behalf. With our help, you can have peace of mind knowing your project is in capable hands.

Get professional advice from a qualified town planner


In conclusion, it is crucial to understand the implications and consequences of common permitted development mistakes. Seeking expert planning advice from a qualified town planner is essential to ensure compliance with permitted development policies. Applying for a Lawful Development Certificate or Prior Approval can provide legal protection and peace of mind. Additionally, it is important to inform your insurer about any permitted development work to avoid potential issues. Ignoring building regulations can have serious repercussions, including fines and the need to restore the property to its original state. If you have concerns or questions about permitted development, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Our team of experts is here to assist you. Get in touch with us today for personalized guidance and support.

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