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Permitted Development and Building Regulations

Rules and regulations surrounding garden rooms in the UK

You might be wondering whether you need permission for your garden building. Yes, some garden structures like summerhouses, garden sheds, and garages need planning permission to be built. However, most of the garden structures do not need planning permission for erection. The need for planning permission depends on the position of the building in your garden and if you live in a national park, conservation area, world heritage site, the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

Outbuildings are considered as permitted development under class E. They do not require planning permission if they fulfillcertain conditions like:

• The structure is not higher than 2.5m from the bottom to the rooftop.

• The structure does not take more than 50% of the garden area.

• The structure is not used for accommodation or living.

What is permitted development?

There are certain constructions you can perform without having to apply for planning permission. They are referred to as permitted development rights. They are not granted by the local authority but by parliament. According to the Planning Portal, you should consult with the local planning authority and discuss your project before commencing any work. You will be advised if your work needs any planning permission. This is incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling except in the following instances:

1. An outbuilding that projects forward from the original house.

2. The outbuilding must be of a single storey and have a maximum height of 2.5 meters. For a dual pitched roof the height should not be more than 4 meters and 3 meters for any other type of roof.

3. If the position of the outbuilding is within 2 meters of the boundary of the property it should not exceed 2.5 meters in height. Below 2.5m height it can be practically closer to the boundary.

4. Planning Permission is mandatory for balconies or verandas to be allowed in the outbuilding.

5. Raised platforms and decking can be fitted around the outbuilding up to a height of 300mm.

6. Any outbuilding should not be used for living accommodation and must not have an aerial for a TV or satellite. Otherwise, Planning Permission is needed.

7. Extensions and outbuildings should not take more than half of the land around the original house. 

8. The original house here means the state of the house as it was first built or the way it was since 1st July 1948. When calculating this area, the timber sheds, extensions, and other outbuildings must be considered.

9. In areas of natural beauty like National parks or conservation areas the size of an outbuilding within the distance of 20 meters from the house will be 10 square meters.

10. Outbuildings that are on the side of the house on designated land will need Planning Permission. Designated land insinuates areas of interest like Broads, National Parks, Conservation Areas, World Heritage Sites, and areas of natural beauty.

11. If the building has listed status, then the outbuilding will need Planning Permission. Listed buildings are structures that have been judged by the Secretary of State for Media, Culture, and Sport to be of a country’s importance in terms of historic and architectural interest. Once approved these structures are included on a register referred to as the List of Buildings of historic and special architectural interest.

12. The outbuilding should not be closer to a highway or a road than the original house.

Building Rules and regulations

Some of these regulations are not important unless you want to sleep in the outbuilding.

You can install an under 15m2 internal floor space near the rear boundary.

Above 15m2 until 30m2 needs not be less than 1m from the boundary.

Building regulations will not be applied if you are putting up small buildings like a garden room or a garden shed if the internal area of the floor is less than 15 square meters and has no accommodation for sleeping.

If the internal area of the floor is between 15m2 and 30m2 you do not need to apply for building approval. This is so if the outbuilding has no accommodation for sleeping and is 1m from the boundaries or is made from non-combustible material.

Following building regulations

Generally, garden buildings apart from Part P for electrical works need not comply with building rules and regulations. At Croft Garden Rooms we follow Part A of the rules and regulations to ensure our clients that not only are our buildings durable but are also safe and sound to stay in.

Part A of the regulations is fully adhered to guarantee our customers that the structure is carefully constructed in that the imposed loads (maintenance, snow), combined dead loads (weight of the structure), and wind loads are up to the required standards.

Planning permissions for specific garden structures

A majority of typical garden sheds do not need planning permission but others will need planning permission if you consider putting up one of them in your property.

Log Cabins and Summerhouses.

Summerhouses, Log Cabins, and other large structures require planning permission. The guidelines for putting up a summerhouse or a log cabin are very direct. Planning permission will be needed if the structure is big and used for sleeping accommodation.


A greenhouse is usually a permitted development and it is not necessary to have planning permission. But any greenhouse made in a front garden will need planning permission. Title documents may restrict the construction of greenhouses so checkout your title document to verify that these exemptions are not in place.

Outdoor offices.

If your outbuilding is a garden office you need to consider its location, the building and its purpose to determine if planning permissions are required. You should consider the following factors:

• Number and frequency of visitors

• Total number of persons that will work out of office

• If goods will be brought in and out of the garden office

If you are intending to run a business out of your outbuilding, planning permissions will be needed. However, if it is a home office, planning permission is not needed. Also consider other issues like internet connections, electricity supply, and water and waste management if you are constructing a home office.

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