Do I Need Planning Permission for an Oak Garage?

Before planning or building, do I need planning permission for a wooden garage? This is usually the first thought of anyone seeking to undertake such a project. With the ready availability of build it yourself garage kits on the market, construction itself is now simple. Adding an oak framed garage to your property has a number of benefits. Firstly, and most obviously, you gain the additional space for parking and storage. Aesthetically, the addition of a timber framed garage improves the appearance of your property. Finally, the value added to your property by the addition of a garage far outweighs the cost of construction.

Planning permission and building regulations can seem like a daunting obstacle. Often this is down to a lack of knowledge of exactly what is required. However, the rules and processes involved are relatively simple. It should be noted that the responsibility for following these is down to the property owner. Whether building a timber frame garage yourself or employing professionals, you will ultimately be responsible for the finished structure. If in any doubt, visit to check if you need planning permission. It could save a great deal of time, expense and trouble.

How big can a garage be without planning permission?

This largely depends on whether you plan to attach the garage to your existing home or build a free standing structure. If you plan on building a garage or carport that is detached from the main building on your property it is considered an outbuilding. Outbuilding planning permission is generally not required provided they fall within the following parameters:

  1. The floor of the garage is no more than 15 square metres.
  2. The height of the eaves is no more than 2.5 metres.
  3. The overall height must be no more than 4 metres.
  4. The outbuilding should not be erected forward of the main building.
  5. The outbuilding should not be within 1 metre of the property boundary.

If the garage is attached to the existing property, it is classed as an extension and is subject to a different set of rules. As long as a side extension is no more than half the width of the original house, planning permission should not be needed. This is worth considering if extending a garage that already exists or planning a large new build. The extension should also obey the following rules:

  1. The height should not be more than 4 metres, or higher than the roof of the main building.
  2. The construction materials are consistent with the appearance of the existing structure.
  3. A single storey extension should not extend more than 3 metres beyond the rear wall.
  4. The extension should not include any balconies or verandas.

If you are planning to build an oak framed garage with room above, it will usually require planning permission. If you are unsure, book a provisional meeting with your local planning authority. They will review your oak frame garage plans and advise on the best course of action.

Do I need building regulations for a garage?

Building regulations are the minimum standards applied to building projects to guarantee the safety of occupants. These govern structural integrity, electrical safety, plumbing, fire hazards, ventilation and similar issues. Again, these are the responsibility of the homeowner. If employing a professional such as a structural or civil engineer, they will be able to advise on whether approval is needed. Generally, a free standing garage or carport will not need approval. However, if plumbing or electrical fittings are included in the design, approval will be necessary. It must also conform to the following rules:

  1. The floor area of the garage must be less than 15 square metres.
  2. It must be a one storey building.
  3. If the floor area is between 15 and 30 square metres, the structure must be at least one metre from any boundary.
  4. It must be mainly constructed from non-combustible materials.

Obviously, an oak garage with room above will be more than one storey high and require planning permission. Although oak, being wood, is technically a combustible material, it has a slow, predictable burn rate. Many structural engineers favour it as a construction material for this reason. As a result, it could be exempt from this rule. If in doubt, it is worth contacting your Local Authority Building Control for confirmation.

If building an attached garage or extending an existing one, building regulations approval will normally be needed. Attached carports with at least two sides are exempt from this as they are classed as a temporary structure.

What happens if you build without planning permission?

If you build an oak garage or carport that obeys all the rules listed above without planning permission, you are safe. No laws have been broken and no punishment can result. If you build a structure that requires planning permission without obtaining it, you have committed a planning breach. This need not be deliberate. Occasionally building projects will need to be amended during construction. This can cause the end result to violate the original planning agreement or require permission that was previously unnecessary. If this is found to be the case, it is possible to submit a retrospective application to your local council. If this is successful, no harm has been done and no further action is required.

If this application fails, the council are permitted to issue an enforcement notice to remedy the breach. This could demand alterations, or at worst tearing down the illegal structure. Obviously, this can result in a lot of wasted time, money and effort. While committing a planning breach is not a criminal act, failing to comply with an enforcement notice is. This could result in prosecution, fines and the council carrying out demolition and billing you for the cost. While some councils are open to negotiations after a failed application, it is best avoided altogether. It is always worth taking legal advice if in any doubt before construction begins.

Hardwoods Group have a wide range of garages and carports designed with strength and style in mind. These can be supplied as kits for ease of construction that still allow the addition of personal details. We also offer bespoke oak frame buildings, designed by you and our expert staff to meet your exact requirements. Contact us to discuss your needs, we will be happy to help.