Planning Permission & Building Regulations for Outbuildings Garden Studios,
Garden Offices, Garden Rooms, Garden Buildings, Outdoor Kitchens and Granny Annexes
and Accommodation Buildings for family members
Will planning permission be required to build this in your garden?
We design and build complete projects and everyone wants to know
You found it! Here is all the information needed to answer
the question - Do I need planning permission for my Garden Building
project or Annexe and what about Building Regulations?
"It is very very important to
understand that Building Regulations and Planning Permission are two completely
I cannot emphasise this
enough so here it is again Do not confuse
these two things if you want to build something under 30 square
metres building regulations may not
apply. If you want to build something larger then building regulations will apply.
Above - latest annexe completed - on the left low pitch roof full
living annexe April 2016 and on the right - latest Garden Studio
with curved roof - high spec... - May 2016 (Both meet PD
This document applies to all types of Garden Rooms and
outbuildings from Garden Sheds, Studios , Offices to Granny Annexes and sleepover
buildings. (ancillary accommodation buildings). Prepared and updated regularly
by Richard Grace (updated 22/06/2016).
Very recently (April 2016) there was an attempt by George Osbourne to change
tax rules relating to this but now withdrawn The best
info is here:
I guess it's no surprise that this is our most visited web page.
If you are considering building something a bit more than a shed in
your garden you will need to know about this subject. Over my 13
years in the business I must have been involved in answering most of
your questions coming from all over the UK. In the last 12 months
there have been 63,422 visitors to this page spending on average more
than 6 minutes. You are not alone! March 2016 was
another record month!
For Garden Office, Garden Studio or Granny Annexe sample
plans and clear information about how to negotiate this minefield "yourself" email firstname.lastname@example.org
with brief description of your project. Specific questions answered
by email. Our DIY kits bespoke full build and consultancy services
are available nationwide. A planning application service is available including site
survey, planning application management and full set of drawings /
specifications and costings from £800.00.
Read on - Here is a mass of free information about planning
permission and Building Regulations for Garden Buildings. Right here
and right up to date - Addressing one of the most important
questions that everyone asks - here it is!
In the News on Council Tax and Granny Annexe Planning
Eric Pickles annonced (in the last parliament) help for families
wishing to provide Granny Annexe accommodation. The help is in the
form of re-imbursing councils for loss of council tax on new
dwelling units. This cleared up the objections councils had for this
type of accommodation. You can see the government announcement here. goverment statement on Granny annexes and family accommodation accommodation
The PD (Permitted Development) newest
changes (see below became law 30th May Info below has been changed and is right
up to date. For info about
house extensions and Garage Conversions see: "Planning portal
latest update here-(class E applies)- updated technical guidance
Recent new changes further streamlining the planning process came into force on 25 June
My comments after studying all the recent changes:
It is interesting that these new changes reinforce a softening in the
approach to accommodation for elderly relatives or teenagers. It
does however make it clear that additional accommodation for rental
"beds in sheds" is not included. Having studied the changes my conclusion is that our government is
recognising that families are wanting to extend and change without
having to move. This can only be good news for those wishing to
develop their existing home and of course for small builders. The
introduction of a "neighbour consultation scheme" makes a lot of
sense. So the key word must be that a garden development must be
"ancillary" to the main property if it is to be used as
Previous News on Granny Annexes (see above)
Eric Pickles (Past Government Communities Secretary) originally
made his statement about making it easier to obtain
permissions to develop living annexes as part of your own home. This
was driven by the economic need to
provide more housing. The proposals represent
a whole lot of common sense and are aimed at benefitting families
considering options for elderly care. It is now real and filtering
to the planning regime which traditionally catches up slowly.
In any case the debate has ended and at least these new changes
somewhat reflect the trend confirmed by enquiries and questions
received from readers of this page. There are a lot but we are
gearing up to handle demand.
Clarification regarding granny annexes in particular. I understand
there may be some confusion, but so long as they are still within
the size constraints of the garden out-buildings set out in Class E
of the GPDO, the use of the outbuilding as a granny-annex is not
relevant. The test is whether the use of the proposed outbuilding is
incidental to the use of the house. So long as it is an annexe ( ie
essentially another room of your house), and not a separate dwelling
(or other use that might create a separate planning unit), it is
permitted development. Permitted development rights are reduced
by being in Conservation Areas only (ie article 1(5) land);
location within green belt is irrelevant.
The government does want planning to be easier as part of
their economic strategy.
This page concentrates on planning and building regulations for
detached back garden buildings of any type including garden studios
for living / Sleeping over.
Our own business is designing and building full projects. We also provide Planning
consultancy and advice to clients in the reseach phase of a project.
Plans Garden Studios, Granny Annexes and Garden Accommodation Buildings
Searches and enquiries about accommodation buildings in
particular Granny Annexe type buildings are growing fastest. We have
prepared example plans for buildings of which provide full
accommodation facilities at project cost between £32,000 and £72,000
(depending on spec). If you would like to receive specific info about process - send email
me at email@example.com
Please state brief description of your project. Editable plans,
drawings and documents are available for
Buildings from Sheds to Annexes for leisure, work or accommodation
This document is written / updated and designed specifically to help you interpret the planning rules
governing developments in and around your garden. To see the
government paper and mini-guide without our comments + other sources
please follow the links in the side bar.
You are welcome to email with any questions regarding planning or
building regulations direct to firstname.lastname@example.org
To read about running a business from home in a garden building -
legislation, taxation change of use etc. see the
Many people spend more than 15 minutes reading this page if you
would like it in pdf format please email
. (ask for
planning document in pdf)
permitted development rules 2008 (planning)
remain ambiguous and subject to local interpretation particularly in
relation to size, eaves height and proximity to your boundary. For buildings up to
30 sq. m planning permission is often not required.
In some cases it is better to apply for permission or obtain a
"letter of conformity" - rather than take a risk or accept a design
simply to comply with an interpretation of the "permitted
development" rules. If you wish to make a planning application or
seek a letter of conformity we are able to assist. The process has
been made somewhat easier as all authorities accept on-line
applications through the planning portal which works well (and
more than 1 million applications). "Well done guys this has
saved an enormous amount of paper" in their words:
- "if stacked up would be more than four times higher than
the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, or the
same height as seven Empire State Buildings with Canary Wharf on
We are experienced users of the planning portal
and can confirm it works well.
Another important note - probably
the most important.
By far the most important planning issue remains - "how your project
will effect your neighbours". You simply need to ask yourself if the
building and its intended use is reasonable and does not affect your
neighbours enjoyment of their own property.
You should consider
carefully traffic patterns, noise and blockage of light (ask
yourself if it is reasonable development) and talk with your
neighbours. Put simply if you have a problem with planning
permission it is usually a neighbour issue. In every application
neighbours are consulted and it is the duty of planners to take this
into account. (makes sense! you have these rights about development
they wish to make and we all live in an open democracy.
Here are the 2008 Permitted Development rules and how they apply currently to building
in your garden - Government statements in green my comments
follow in black and are regularly updated
How to use this section
The comments are written by Richard
Grace our Project Director, qualified by communications with
The current planning guidelines relating
to Garden Buildings issued by central government are shown in green italics
General advice on planning and Building Regulations
Nearly everyone is concerned about planning issues. We are in a good
position to advise (having discussed these issues in relation to
more than 2500 garden building projects throughout the uk with both
clients and planners).
We cannot take responsibility for any dispute that may arise. If in
doubt you should check with your local planning authority and seek a
letter of compliance for your project. In any case we would advise
against going ahead without planning permission if your project was
either in flagrant contravention of the rules or clearly detrimental
to your neighbours enjoyment of their property. The retrospective
route will still be open but can be quite stressful.
The rules with my comments:
Planning permission and Building Regulation compliance are separate
issues dealt with by different departments. Planning covers positioning and design. Building regulations
cover safety and energy use. See list in Building Regulations section below:.
Government Statement - Rules governing outbuildings apply to sheds,
greenhouses and garages as well as other ancillary garden buildings
such as swimming pools, ponds, sauna cabins, kennels, enclosures
(including tennis courts) and many other kinds of structure for a
purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house.
We are interpreting this to include Garden Offices, Garden Studios,
Garden Rooms Leisure Buildings Granny Annexes etc. etc. Our thoughts
on the reason for the official statement not being so specific are
that the government has to leave space in the general guidelines for local
Government Statement - Other rules relate to the installation of a
satellite dish, the erection of a new dwelling or the erection or
provision of fuel storage tanks.
This seems to be clear you cannot erect a new dwelling in your
garden without planning permission This certainly prevents the
division of your property and the sale of part of it with dwelling
house rights without full planning permission. We do know that
Granny annexes and lodges (sleepover buildings) are treated in a
different way by planners in different parts of the country. The key
word is ancillary so always make it clear that your developmentt is
"ancillary" to the use of the main property.
Government Statement - Under new regulations that came into effect
on 1st October 2008 outbuildings are considered to be permitted
development, not needing planning permission, subject to the
following limits and conditions:
No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal
Quite clear, if you take into account these guidelines you
can build in your side or back garden without applying for planning
permission. However you cannot build in your front garden without
planning consent. The definition in the guidelines here could be
expanded to mean closer to the highway at the front of your
property. Reason The local authority may need to change the highway.
Further to this interpretation our advice is that you should always
take into account the effect on your immediate neighbours of any
Government Statement - Outbuildings and garages to be single storey
with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height
of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any
This is very confusing but here is our attempt to make sense of it.
You cannot build a two storey garden building without planning
permission. In the case of a conventional gabled roof the eaves
height should not be higher than 2.5m. The planning portal mini
guide shows the eaves height and final roof height are different by
the thickness of the roof e.g. it is ok to start the "barge boards"
at 2.5m and reasonably go over this to the total height say 2.7m to
accommodate insulation (makes sense). A hipped roof can have
different pitches on the ends and sides but the eaves should not
exceed 2.5m. The highest part of the roof should not exceed 4 metres
in any case.
In a sloping garden the maximum height measurements are measured
from the highest point of the land on which the building stands. We
have met situations where local planners interpret this in a
different manner however our experience and written communications with government
confirm our interpretation to be correct.
we desined a new roof
system which complies and is not flat. A curved roof developed by
ourselves in conjunction with Tata-Steel this new roof offers a real
alternative to flat roof garden office with a span up to 5.6m and
height of 2.5m centre with 2190mm head height internal a warm roof
system 139mm thick including 100mm urethane (kngspan type
insulation) with 30 year no leak guarantee. intallation and photo
detail available from
more on website in a few weeks at launch.
Government Statement - Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a
building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of
the curtilage of the dwelling house.
Any confusion now cleared
up with newest explanation on portal see (mini-guide link below)
(examine point 8) If you build an outbuilding closer than 2 metres
to your boundary no part of it must be higher than 2.5m. Planning
permission will be necessary if so, however where a taller building
closer than 2 metres seems reasonable to neighbouring properties
there should be no reason for refusal. There are many sites where it
is better to apply for permission.
Government Statement - No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
Seems clear and makes sense in relation to balconies and raised
platforms. The building should not include balconies or raised
platforms because in many cases neighbours privacy would be
threatened by such structures. Where neighbour privacy would not be
threatened then we see no reason why planning permission or letter
of consent should not be given but it is best to check. With
regard to verandas the word of course can be used to describe a
balcony or raised platform it certainly does not mean you cannot
have a roof over a seating area at ground level.
Government Statement - No more than half the area of land around the
"original house"* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
Very clear and makes sense. Taking into account all of the land
except the footprint of the house you cannot cover more than 50%
with outbuildings. We have come across situations where this applies
but only in very small gardens.
Government Statement - To be permitted development, any new building
must not itself be separate, self contained, living accommodation
and must not have a microwave antenna.
Very clear regarding the microwave antenna and makes sense.
Regarding self contained living accommodation not so clear. Our
interpretation is that this is to prevent properties being used in a
way which would allow the bending of taxation rules. We are asked on
many occasions if it is ok to build an outbuilding in the garden
where our son, daughter or other family member can live. From a
technical standpoint the answer is yes of course. It would not
however be fair on existing neighbours to exploit this by building
multiple structures taking the property beyond the use "family
dwelling" for which planning permission was granted in the first
instance. So our view is that common sense must prevail until this
Government Statement - In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area
to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more
than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.
Very clear and makes sense. You can't put up large structures using
permitted development rights in these designated areas if they are
more than 20 metres from the house.
Government Statement - On designated land* buildings, enclosures,
containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning
Very clear and makes sense. You cant put up structures using
permitted development rights at the side of your property in these
Government Statement - Within the curtilage of listed buildings any
outbuilding will require planning permission.
Totally clear if you live in a listed building then you have no
permitted development rights
Government Statement - *The term "original house" means the house as
it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built
before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to
the house, a previous owner may have done so.
*Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage
This means that in a conservation area you have no
permitted development rights. Please note: the permitted development allowances described here
apply to houses not flats, maisonettes or other buildings.
This seems to be clear.
Building Regulations Section for Garden Buildings (This is very
important to understand and is separate from planning rules)
As previously stated Building Regulations are
from Planning issues however when
considering Garden Buildings the following Building regulations need to be taken into
account. (Key * = sometimes, ** always
- Part A Structure *
- Part B Fire Safety *
- Part C Site preparation and resistance to moisture
- Part D Toxic substances
- Part E Resistance to the passage of sound *
- Part F Ventilation
- Part G Hygiene *
- Part H Drainage and waste disposal *
- Part J Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems *
- Part K Protection from falling, collision and impact,
opening and cleaning
- Part L Conservation of fuel and power*
- Part M Access to and use of buildings *
- Part N Glazing
- Part P Electrical safety **
Here are my comments on the most important issues relating to
Garden Buildings and Structures: (Same format as planning section)
Government Statement (this statement has changed recently) - If
you want to put up small detached buildings such as a garden shed or
summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally
apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square
If the floor area of the building is between 15 square metres and 30
square metres, you will not normally be required to apply for
building regulations approval providing that the building, contains
NO sleeping accommodation and is either at least one metre from any
boundary or it is constructed of substantially non-combustible
Still not that clear but here goes: This is almost certainly a
volume related statement and brings into play two things:
1. The Building Regulations in relation to the spread of fire "which
dates back to the fire of London in 1666". i.e. more volume = more
risk involving spread of fire to neighbouring properties. For
example you may wish to conserve garden space by building close to
your boundary, your neighbour may also do the same in which case
there would not be a sufficient gap between the two buildings. The
statement is not that clear but does make sense in that if the
building footprint is more than 15 square metres then the building
which has significant volume (over 15 square metres) must be at
least one metre from your boundary. Or - you must be able to
demonstrate it is constructed of substantially non-combustible
This is not a planning issue as we are already aware (see above) the
planning restriction in relation to boundary proximity is that the
height of the structure if nearer than two metres to the boundary is
restricted to 2.5 metres roof height - presumably to ensure there
will not be neighbour issues about restricting light.
2. The regulations exemption table see:
seems to be aiming towards energy conservation in that buildings
over 15 sqm but not more than 30 sq. m could require energy saving
measures (Part L) if the building is intended for regular use. This
seems to take some account of the fact that many Garden Buildings
are used as a Studio or office / place of work. In most of these
cases it makes sense to provide energy saving insulation.
Regarding the statement "contains NO sleeping accommodation
This is just not clear - here is my interpretation:
4. This was originally the subject of Housing Minister Grant Shapps
so called "Beds in Sheds" review that the Government don't want
householders to rent out sheds as accommodation. (Announced on the
Planning Portal 3/05/2012 and still no change). This seems perfectly understandable.
building has a "bedroom" then it must be safe to protect against fire
and anything which is life threatening for people whilst asleep
(this is simply common sense). No legislation of any type exists to
stop anyone sleeping in your garden, in a tent, your
garage or your shed.
-- it does make sense to ensure that any
regularly used accommodation building is safe for people whilst
asleep. So my view is that is particularly bad wording - there is no
such thing as a clear definition of what is sleeping accommodation.
I have researched this and neither are there any rules laws or
guidelines regarding where a human being may fall asleep.
Let common sense prevail. We have noticed over recent years a massive increase in
enquiries for outbuildings with sleeping accommodation driven by
economics - I guess this is no surprise!
Throughout this document I have stressed and re-stated the
importance of not upsetting neighbours. Martin Goodall a
specialist-planning lawyer has written an interesting article this
subject. He talks about the current statements regarding the use of
outbuildings as a legal anomaly.
You can read his contribution here
Legal anomaly over the use of outbuildings
There is no definitive answer yet.
Other Important Issues about safety
Outside of this specific statement there are some very important
issues to consider regarding garden buildings and building
regulations in general:
1. Any electrical system in a garden or garden building should and
comply with building regulations Part P and must be installed by a
competent / qualified person. see my blog post at
Garden Office and Studio Electrical Safety article
2. Any plumbing (toilets kitchenettes showers etc.) should be
correctly installed so as to operate hygienically in relation to
waste disposal. see my blog post at
Garden Studio and Office Plumbing article
3. Any Gas appliance must be installed by a competent / qualified
4. Any wood burning stove, fire or heater installation must comply
with building regulations and must be installed by a competent
We have built Garden Buildings, Garden
Offices, Garden Studios, Garden, Rooms and Garden Accommodation
Buildings all over the UK. Here is a list so-far by nearest large
Bedfordshire, Luton Berkshire Reading, Bracknel, Maidenhead,
Newbury, Wokingham, Buckinghamshire Aylesbury, High Wycombe
Cambridgeshire Cambridge, Wisbech, Cheshire Chester x 9, Stockport,
Sale, Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead, Wallasey, Runcorn, Macclesfield,
Crewe Cornwall None yet Cumberland Penrith, Keswick Derbyshire
Derby, Chesterfield, Buxton, Ashbourne Devon Barnstaple Dorset not
yet Durham not yet Essex Chelmsford x 2, Basildon, and 5 times in
Buckurst Hill Gloucestershire Gloucester, Bristol, Cheltenham
Hampshire Winchester Hertfordshire Watford, St. Albans x3, Hemel
Hempstead, Stevenage, Huntingdonshire St. Ives, St. Neots, Kent
Maidstone, Canterbury, Bromley, Greenwich Merseyside Liverpool,
Lancashire Southport X 3 Manchester, Preston, Bolton, Warrington
Leicestershire Leicester, Lincolnshire Lincoln, Grimsby, Louth
Middlesex, London, x 11, Enfield x3, Staines, Ealing Norfolk
Norwich, Cromer, Hunstanton Northamptonshire Northampton, Kettering,
Wellingborough Northumberland None yet Nottinghamshire Mansfield,
Worksop, Newark, Oxfordshire Oxford, Banbury, Witney,
Henley-on-Thames, Thame Rutland one in the sticks Shropshire
Shrewsbury, Somerset Bath, Staffordshire Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent,
Suffolk Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds Surrey Guildford x 6 Croydon,
Woking, Sutton, Kingston-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Wimbledon x4 Sussex
Crawley, Warwickshire Warwick, Birmingham, Coventry,Rugby,
Stratford-upon-Avon Westmorland Windermere, Wiltshire Devizes
Worcestershire Evesham Yorkshire Beverley, Halifax, Harrogate,York
North Wales x 8, Wrexham Scotland x 1, South Wales x 4, Cardif.
Planning permission for Garden Studios,
Garden Offices and Insulated Garden Buildings - webmasters are free
Planning Permission and Permitted Development
written By Richard Grace Project Director
Garden Structures Ltd Bracken House CH4 6LB Tel 01244 679502 email
webmaster links - please use text
(Garden Building Planning and Building Regulations)
Garden Offices | Garden Studios| Granny Annexe| Garden Structures |
Outbuildings | Outdoor Kitchens | Planning Permission | Building Regulations
for Garden Rooms
Consultancy and pre-planning advice services available
Services including planning advice, architectural drawings and
specifications, structural engineering / thermal efficiency
calculations, supplier selection and project management. If busy we
can recommend alternative sources.
You can ask your local authority for Pre-Planning-Advice directly and speak to a
planning officer, to get the best out of this. My advice is to be
completely prepared with drawings and proposals having talked
firstly with your neighbours. For a visit most authorities make a
charge of around £175- £250. They cannot at the pre-planning stage tell
you if your project will succeed.
You can read "My amazing 3 hour visit to a London
Planning Office" here
http://www.gardenofficeproject.com/ (South West London area!!).
This is a blow by blow account of a difficult situation.
If you found this page useful or have comments please let me know-
Thanks - Richard - please send comments direct to
It's a lot of info here but I hope it helps clarify a few things.
Planning permission and Building Regulations for Garden
Structures, Garden Offices Granny Annexes and Outdoor Kitchens