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Do You Need Planning Permission to Build a Garage?

Wooden garage


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Building a garage is a popular choice for homeowners looking to increase storage space, protect their vehicles, or even create a workshop area. However, before embarking on this project, it’s essential to understand the regulations and permissions required for building a garage. One of the most common questions homeowners have is whether planning permission is needed to build garage. In this blog, we will explore the topic of planning permission for garages, including permitted development rights, the necessity of planning permission, building regulations, and the potential risks of neglecting the relevant approvals.

Understanding Permitted Development Rights

Before we dive into the need for planning permission, it’s important to understand the concept of permitted development rights. These rights essentially grant homeowners the ability to undertake certain building projects without the need for a formal planning application. Permitted development rights typically apply to detached and semi-detached houses. Flats, maisonettes and commercial properties do not have any permitted development rights. They can allow you to build a garage within the boundary of your property without the need for planning permission. However, it’s important to note that there are restrictions and limitations to these rights.

The Basics of Permitted Development

Permitted development rights take into consideration the size, height, and placement of the garage, as well as the original house. These rights ensure that the garage is suitable for domestic purposes and does not exceed a certain maximum height and square footage. It’s important to check the specific requirements outlined in the permitted development rules to ensure that your intended garage meets the size and location criteria. Permitted development rights typically apply to the original house, so any previous owner’s building works may have already used some or all of these rights.

Requirements for Permitted Development

To qualify for permitted development rights, the garage must meet certain requirements. These requirements include restrictions on the maximum height, square footage, and positioning of the garage. The garage should not exceed a specified maximum height and square meter area. Additionally, the garage should not be closer to the road than the original house, respecting the property’s original boundary. These regulations aim to ensure that the garage remains proportionate to the size of the property and does not have a significant impact on the street scene. It’s important to consult the local planning authority to determine the specific requirements for permitted development in your area, especially if you live in a conservation area or a world heritage site.

Limitations and Constraints of Permitted Development

While permitted development rights offer flexibility for building a garage without planning permission, there are limitations and constraints to consider. Permitted development rules do not apply to certain properties, such as flats, maisonettes, commercial buildings, listed buildings, areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks, or conservation areas. These areas have additional planning restrictions in place to protect their historic or natural significance. If your property falls within one of these categories, you will likely need planning permission to build a garage. Additionally, it’s important to note that the size, height, and location of the garage, along with the total area of the property, can also impact permitted development rights. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with the local planning authority or a qualified town planner to verify the presence of permitted development rights for building a garage on your property.

Detatched wooden garage

Necessity of Planning Permission for Building a Garage

While permitted development rights can provide homeowners with the ability to build a garage without planning permission, there are situations where planning permission is necessary. If the garage exceeds the limitations set by permitted development rights or falls within a property category that is not eligible for permitted development, planning permission is typically required. The local planning authority is responsible for granting planning permission, so it’s essential to consult with them to understand the specific regulations that apply to your property.

Situations When Planning Permission is Required

  1. Building a garage that exceeds the height, size, or placement restrictions set by permitted development rights.
  2. If the garage conversion involves altering the structure of the building, planning permission may be necessary.
  3. Garages built for purposes other than domestic use, such as commercial storage space, often require planning permission.
  4. Properties located in conservation areas, listed buildings, national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, or world heritage sites usually need planning permission for building a garage.
  5. It’s important to check with the local planning authority or a qualified town planner to determine the exact planning permission requirements for building a garage in your specific area.
  6. It’s crucial to consider the planning permission requirements, especially if your property falls within a conservation area, listed building, national park, area of outstanding natural beauty, or world heritage site.

The Process of Applying for Planning Permission

If planning permission is required to build a garage, the process typically involves submitting a planning application to the local planning authority. The planning application should include detailed plans and specifications of the proposed garage, including its size, design, and location. It’s important to consult with the local planning authority and adhere to their specific requirements when preparing the application. The planning application can be submitted online through the planning portal, which provides a centralised platform for handling planning applications. The local planning authority will review the application, considering factors such as the impact on the local area, the structure of the garage, and compliance with planning rules and regulations. Consulting with a planning consultant can provide valuable guidance throughout the application process, ensuring that the garage construction project aligns with the planning permission requirements.

Building Regulations For Garages

Building Regulations for Garages

In addition to planning permission, building regulations also come into play when building a garage. Building regulations focus on the structural stability, health, safety, and energy efficiency of the garage. They ensure that the garage meets certain standards to protect the occupants and the property itself. Building regulations approval may be required for a new garage, a detached garage, or a garage conversion to habitable living space. Compliance with building regulations is crucial to ensure that the garage is suitable for its intended purpose while meeting the necessary safety standards.

Understanding Building Regulations

Building regulations cover various aspects of the garage, including the floor space, storage space, and structure of the building. These regulations determine the reasonable size, maximum eaves height, and distance from the property boundary of the garage. Building regulations also address ventilation, insulation, and the overall impact of the garage on the living space of the property. Compliance with building regulations is crucial to ensure the garage’s safety and suitability for domestic use. Understanding the specific building regulations can help homeowners plan and execute their garage construction project while adhering to the necessary regulations. Building consent, which can be obtained from the local authority, is required to confirm that the proposed garage design complies with the building regulations.

When Building Regulations are Required

Understanding when building regulations are necessary for a garage is crucial for a successful project. Whether it’s a new garage, a detached one, or a conversion to habitable living space, building regulations will likely apply. Even garages used solely for domestic purposes may need to comply. Additionally, any extension that increases the floor space or height of the structure usually requires adherence to building regulations. The structure of the garage, materials used, and impact on the original property can all influence the need for building regulations approval.

Wooden garage

The Risks of Not Getting the Relevant Approvals

Neglecting to obtain the relevant approvals for building a garage can lead to severe consequences. A garage constructed without proper authorisation may have to be altered or even demolished, resulting in wasted time and money. Additionally, legal implications such as fines and injunctions could arise, causing further delays and financial strain. It’s crucial to understand the necessity of obtaining planning permission and adhering to building regulations to avoid these risks and ensure a smooth garage construction process. For full details of the key risks, mistakes and consequences read our blog on Common Permitted Development Mistakes: How to Avoid Them

Consequences of Neglecting Planning Permission and Regulations

Neglecting planning permission and regulations can have serious repercussions. Violating regulations may result in enforcement notices from the local planning authority. Unapproved buildings can lead to restrictions on future development, while non-compliance with building regulations can pose safety risks. Additionally, structures without planning permission may hinder the property’s marketability and value. It’s essential to adhere to planning policies and building regulations to avoid these potential consequences.

Legal Implications of Unapproved Buildings

Unauthorised constructions may trigger planning enforcement measures, potentially leading to the property being labelled as non-compliant. Unapproved structures can influence the property’s adherence to building regulations and may result in legal conflicts and penalties. It’s essential to comprehend the full implications before embarking on any building project to avoid potential legal ramifications.

New garage

How to Determine if Your Garage Needs Planning Permission

To determine if your garage needs planning permission, consider measuring the square meters, especially in relation to the area of outstanding natural beauty. Look into the distance of any part of the garage from the property boundary, which should not exceed half of the land. Additionally, assess the side elevation of the original house and the rear of the house for any potential impact. Considering these aspects will help you understand whether planning permission is necessary for your garage.

Option 1 – Pre-Application

Considering building a garage? Seeking preliminary advice from the local planning authority can provide valuable insights. By submitting a pre-application, you can discuss your construction proposal and explore the feasibility of proceeding without planning permission. This process also offers guidance on the applicable planning rules and regulations, aiding in gaining clarity on the planning system. You will require architect drawings and a detailed written proposal. A pre-application costs up to £600 and the process takes 5 to 8 weeks to get a response. However, this is still not a legal determination and does not guarantee your application will be successful.

Option 2 – Planning Appraisal

Alternatively, one of our expert town planners can conduct a planning appraisal. We do the same checks as the council including checking the relevant planning policies, planning history and constraints at the site address. The difference is you don’t need architect drawings or a detailed written proposal and we can give you the answers in a day rather than 8 weeks. Evaluate the most suitable choice for constructing a garage within the property’s limits by requesting a planning appraisal to determine the necessity of planning permission. Obtain professional guidance on the rules of permitted development to comprehend the planning limitations and regulations through a planning portal. Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation.

Tips for a Smooth Approval Process

Creating a comprehensive plan that includes the square metres and metres of the property boundary for the garage construction project can aid in a smooth approval process. It’s essential to consider any area of outstanding natural beauty, especially if it covers more than half of the land, as this may influence the approval. Additionally, providing detailed drawings of the side elevation of the original house and the rear of the house, particularly with the part of the garage, can facilitate the approval process. Seeking professional help from an architect and town planner could also streamline the approval process.

Creating a Comprehensive Plan

When creating a comprehensive plan for your garage, it’s essential to maximise the available floor space while also incorporating storage areas for domestic use. You should carefully consider how the garage extension will impact the original structure of your house and evaluate its total area in relation to the size of your property. Additionally, the positioning of the garage in relation to your original property is a crucial factor to address.

Get professional help from an Architect and Town Planner

When building a garage, collaborating with an architect is crucial for ensuring compliance with regulations. Engaging with a town planner helps in effectively navigating the local planning system. Seeking expert advice on garage construction ensures compliance with building regulations, while professional expertise aids in understanding planning permission requirements and facilitates a smooth approval process. Leveraging architectural and planning support significantly enhances the garage construction process.

Do You Need Planning Permission to Build a Garage

Case Studies of Garage Construction with and without Planning Permission

Case studies provide real-life examples of garage construction, illustrating scenarios with and without planning permission. Understanding how situations were navigated successfully under permitted development rights sheds light on the viability of this option. Conversely, delving into cases where planning permission was neglected highlights the repercussions and legal implications. Examining the square meters and potential limitations, such as when part of the garage extends beyond the original house’s rear or side elevation, reinforces the necessity of adhering to regulations. This approachable insight aids in evaluating the complexities involved and making informed decisions. You can view lots of example garages in our Portfolio.

Successful Garage Builds under Permitted Development

When building a garage, it’s important to understand permitted development rights, as some garage builds can proceed without planning permission. These rules allow for garage construction under specific conditions, including a maximum eaves height and total property area criteria. As long as these conditions are met, you can build a reasonably sized garage without planning permission. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with permitted development rules to ensure compliance when constructing your garage.

What Happens When You Build a Garage Without Planning Permission?

Building a garage without planning permission can lead to enforcement action from the local planning authority for violating the council’s rules. Failure to obtain permission may deem the structure unauthorised, resulting in an enforcement notice. Additionally, there may be implications for property value, fines, and limitations on selling or remortgaging the property. Understanding these consequences is crucial to avoid future issues.


In conclusion, it is crucial to understand the regulations and requirements surrounding building a garage to avoid any legal complications in the future. While permitted development rights may allow you to build a garage without planning permission in certain cases, it is still important to ensure that you meet all the necessary criteria and follow building regulations. Neglecting planning permission and regulations can lead to consequences such as fines, legal implications, and even having to demolish the unapproved structure. To determine if your garage needs planning permission, consider options like pre-application or planning appraisal, and seek professional help from an architect and town planner. By following these steps and creating a comprehensive plan, you can navigate the approval process smoothly and build your garage without any issues.

Grant Singlehurst-Ward

AuthorGrant Singlehurst-WardFOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR

A serial entrepreneur with background in sales and marketing, Grant is the founder and managing director. He founded Planning By Design to provide clients with the highest possible level of service at unbeatable prices.

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