Adding value to your home without planning permission

March 2020

Adding value to your home doesn’t mean you need to carry out substantial building works that require planning permission. Real value is achieved not through adding square footage but by creating well-functioning spaces that work and make the occupants’ lives as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

A large house with a small kitchen with no connection to the garden or living space, for example, will have less value than a much smaller home with a well laid out kitchen and living space. So, it is possible to increase the value of your home without doing work which requires planning permission. Here are some of the things to consider before you start your home renovation project.

Do you need to extend?

The best advice I can give anyone planning an extension or renovation is to spend some time re-evaluating the layout of your home. The single most important element of any scheme is to get the space working right. So, before you start, assess the layout of the room or house. Identify any unused spaces or rooms and re-work the plan so it all pulls together. You might actually find that simply reconfiguring the existing layout would be a better solution to extending.

Look for things that will enhance your day to day life, for example if your home is cold or uncomfortable in the winter months this is where you should invest your budget. Replacing your windows for example is a fantastic way to improve your BER rating, enhance the comfort of your home and save you money on your heating bills.

What size of extension can I build without planning permission?

Small scale domestic extensions, including conservatories, do not require planning permission if the extension is to the rear of the house and does not increase the original floor area by more than 40 square meters, where the house has not been extended before. Otherwise, the combined floor area of the proposed extension and the floor area of any previous extension, including those for which you got planning permission, cannot exceed 40 square meters.

For terraced or semi-detached houses, the floor area of any extension above ground level should not exceed 12 square meters; again, this figure should include any previous extensions carried out.

Attic conversions

Attic conversions are a great way to increase the value of your home. The addition of a bedroom and bathroom can increase the value of your home by as much as 15%. Unless you plan to add a dormer window or roof lights to the front of the house, an attic conversion is exempt from planning.

Make the most of your living spaces

The key to significantly increase the value of your home is to make the most of the functional living spaces. This might mean sacrificing formal areas such as dining rooms to create more space for family living areas and open plan spaces. These kinds of upgrades, if planned properly, will pay off as family living is now firmly centred on large combined living and dining areas, making them a huge selling point to future buyers.

Connect with your garden

Working your garden into your home improvement and linking your ground floor living space with the garden is another great investment and one that will not require planning permission unless your home is a protected structure.

It’s important you make the transition between inside and out as seamless as possible. Your choice of finish will have a big part to play in how successful this transition is. Choosing a floor finish that can be used internally as well as externally works wonderfully well.

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows such as lift and slide doors and bi-fold doors are successful ways to link inside and out. Whether the doors are left open or closed, the boundary between the two areas is blurred. When choosing your new glazing, consider the specification of your glass. Your choice of glass will have a big impact on the U-value and insulation it provides giving you more comfort in your living space and reducing your heating bills too.

Stay on top of your budget

Finally, maximise your investment by ensuring you stay on budget. The easiest way to do this is to make sure all design decisions are set in stone before the contractor starts. This way you will have the peace of mind that everything is included in the contractor’s price. If you start making these kinds of decisions when the job is on-site or worse start changing your mind it will cost you time and money.


Denise O’Connor

Managing Director Optimise Design, B.Arch. RIAI RIBA
& Senator’s Expert Design Consultant
This blog post is sponsored, but the views expressed by the author are her own.

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