Advice on A House Extension

Modern living has resulted in a popular option among homeowners to extend their home, creating open-plan kitchen and living spaces with a multifunctional purpose. 2020 Architects explore what options are available to extend your home and avoid through the formal Planning process.

The desire for outdoor-indoor living has also meant people are increasingly opting for glazed extensions to their homes to enable a seamless existence with the outdoors.

The beauty of today’s glazed extensions is that they can be enjoyed all year around due to highly engineered glass technology. It’s no surprise therefore, a common question our team at 2020 Architects receive is; “What is the Planning Policy determining house extensions, alterations and loft conversions?”

In some instances, it is possible to carry out a small extension or make alterations to your property without planning permission. But, as with everything, this must meet specific requirements which are set out under Permitted Development (PD) rights.

2020 Architects have compiled a list in order to assist anyone thinking of extending.

In order to extend your property under PD rights (thus avoiding submitting a Planning application), your extension must meet certain criteria, including that;

  • The ground area covered by the extension is not more than half the total area of the property, excluding the original house.
  • The roof must not be higher than the highest part of the roof of existing house.
  • The extension must not exceed beyond the rear wall of the original house by 4m (if a single storey), or 3m if more than one storey.
  • The side extension must not exceed 4m in height or be wider than half the width of the original house.

Loft Space

Internal alterations to convert a roof space to provide additional living accommodation do not require planning permission. However, installing dormer windows, inserting roof lights or carrying out other works to alter the roof may need permission – particularly if the roof slope faces onto a road and forms the principal or side elevation of the house

If you fail to meet this criteria and formal Planning Permission is required, the relevant Planning Policy for your proposed extension is set out in Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 7.

Lucky for us in Country Antrim, we have the shortest planning application processing time of any other council area in Northern Ireland, with an average processing time of just 28 weeks (compared to over 70 weeks in County Tyrone), according to NISRA Planning statistics for 2015/16.

It must be remembered that the penalties for unsanctioned development are sever and it is ill- advised for anyone to begin any development without all the statutory approvals.