Every month, we help homeowners who are facing enforcement action after building a dormer extension to the roof of their property.
In most cases the homeowner has made an innocent mistake. They thought their dormer was ‘permitted development’ (not requiring any kind of planning permission), but planning permission was required in their case.
Councils issue hundreds of Enforcement Notices ever year requiring householders to remove dormers that have been built without permission. This causes huge amount of stress and difficulties for homeowners.
Dormers are generally permitted development under Class B, Part 1, Schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order (the GPDO), meaning you don’t need planning permission.
However, there are limits to the size of dormers that can be built under permitted development.
Roof extensions are not permitted development if you are in a conservation area.
In addition, some modern houses have had their permitted development removed – perhaps by a condition on an early grant of planning permission or because of what is called an Article 4 direction.
Finally, flats do not have permitted development rights at all. Check out the separate post we have written about the houses v flats anomaly. For more on what is and isn’t permitted development, check out the government’s interactive house.
It is important that you are very careful when using your permitted development rights to build a dormer (or any kind of extension, for that matter). The best approach is to apply for a certificate of lawfulness (also known as a lawful development certificate) first – this is a certificate that confirms that what you are proposing is permitted development.
If you have built the dormer and are facing enforcement action, don’t panic! The most important thing is never to ignore an enforcement notice (more on that here). Our consultants can help – check out our planning enforcement page for more information on our services. Our lovely planning consultants can give you independent advice and can appeal against the notice.
Our chief executive recently wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph about a case where we won an appeal on behalf of a client who had built a dormer without realising that his house did not have permitted development rights.
For more information on householder planning applications, extensions and permitted development, check out Martin Gaine’s book, ‘How to Get Planning Permission – An Insider’s Secrets’.