A porch is by far one of the easiest home improvements to add, but do you need planning permission for an oak porch? An oak porch can create a striking focal point to a home, particularly those with an existing external oak frame or cladding. They also serve a practical purpose, providing shelter from bad weather when entering the house or as storage for umbrellas, coats and outdoor boots. Using a pre-made oak porch kit makes short work of building a porch, improving the appearance of a home and adding value well beyond the cost of the kit itself. This also allows you to discuss whether any features or dimensions could make the porch liable for planning permission with the manufacturer.
The subject of planning permission and building regulations can seem daunting to the uninitiated. They are often discussed in hushed and exasperates tones as a source of endless red tape and obstacles to creating your perfect living space. In fact, the rules are relatively straightforward and in the case of porches few, if any, apply. Despite effectively being small house extensions, porches are exempt from many rules and regulations for extensions due to their limited size. Exceptions to this will be discussed below. www.planningportal.co.uk contains a comprehensive list of the rules governing planning permission and building regulations for all UK building projects.
Many common domestic construction projects, including porches within the correct dimensions (see below) fall under what are known as ‘permitted development rights’. These are part of a system of general planning permission granted by parliament rather than local authorities. They only apply to houses and not flats, maisonettes, former commercial properties converted into homes or non domestic properties. Additionally, in ‘designated areas’, permitted development may be restricted. These include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, World Heritage Sites and Conservation Areas. If the house is a listed building you will need Listed Building Consent for any alterations unless this has been granted already. It is always worth contacting the local planning authority for your area before starting work to ensure permitted development applies.
Adding a porch to any external door of a house should be permitted without planning permission provided it follows the following limits:
- Ground Floor Area – The footprint (ground floor area) of the porch should not exceed three square metres. This should be measured externally, if the footprint within the frame is three square metres or more, planning permission will be required.
- Height – The height of the proposed porch must not exceed three metre for flat or single pitch roofs. For dual pitched roofs the height limit is raised to 3.5 metres. This should be measured in the same way as other extensions, so the height should include any tiling or other roof covering, not just the frame.
- Distance From Boundary – In common with other types of extension, no porch should be less than two metres from the ‘boundary of the curtilage’ of a house and the highway. This is the edge of the enclosed grounds surrounding the house, usually separated from surrounding properties by a wall or fence. The term ‘highway’ includes all public roads, byways, bridleways or footpaths. These are only guidelines and your local planning authority should be consulted as they may define the legal boundary of the property differently.
- Appearance – The porch must be of similar appearance to the rest of the house, although it is unlikely an owner would choose a contrasting design. This avoids violating any ‘eyesore’ or ‘nuisance’ laws and future complaints from neighbours. The Development Management Team of Local Planning Authorities use planning permission to guide the way towns and cities develop. As a result, new buildings or additions must be sympathetic to the existing surrounding buildings.
Although building regulations are often mentioned together with planning permission, they are separate legislations and governed by different laws. They are designed to ensure any building is a safe environment for residents or workers within and those in its immediate surroundings. Porches that adhere to the above planning permissions exemptions should not need building regulation approval. Any glazing or electrical fittings in the porch must comply with appropriate building regulations. As long as this is the case, porches must satisfy two further specific requirements to be exempt:
- The existing outer door must remain in place to separate the porch from the main dwelling or be replaced with another of similar construction.
- If the house is already fitted with ramped or level disability access, it cannot be removed and the porch should not negatively affect this access.
What Happens If You Build Without Planning Permission?
Provided your new porch meets the above criteria, planning permission should not be necessary. If construction is completed without necessary planning permission, a planning breach will have been committed. As the homeowner, you will be held ultimately responsible for this regardless of whether you were aware or not. It is possible plans will have to be changed during construction due to unforeseen circumstances, but this is not an acceptable excuse for violation. Should this happen, you can submit a retrospective application and some councils will consider appeals if this is refused. If unsuccessful, you will be issued with an enforcement notice to remedy the breach and failure to comply is a criminal offence. The homeowner can then face prosecution and fines and the council can conduct demolition work and bill the homeowner for the cost.
Hardwoods Group have a wide range of oak framed porches designed with strength and style in mind. These can be supplied as kits for ease of construction while still allowing the addition of personal details and decoration. We also offer bespoke oak frame porches, designed by you and our expert staff to meet your exact requirements. Contact us to discuss your needs, we will be happy to help.
Do I Need Planning Permission for a Wooden Garage?
How To Choose The Right Oak Framed Porch For Your Home
Planning Permission For timber Frame Extensions