How Close to My Boundary Can I Build an Extension? (the minimum gap between neighbours’ extension)

by | May 25, 2023 | Loft Conversion | 0 comments

Are you wondering how close you can build an extension to your property boundary without breaking the rules? The regulations on permitted development for extensions differ depending on the location, property type, and surrounding area. In this blog, we have tried our best to highlight the main considerations you must consider, such as the minimum gap between neighbours’ extensions. 

Here’s a general rule: you can construct a single storey extension up to four meters maximum at the back. Now let’s dig deeper. 

When Do You Need Planning Permission for Extensions?

In some cases, if the extension is bigger, closer to the boundary, or higher than the existing roofline, it may require planning permission. But if you live in a detached property, you can typically build an extension up to four meters via permitted development. Failing to obtain planning permission when required can result in enforcement action and legal consequences.

Size Limitations for Single-Storey Extensions

Constructing a one-story expansion that surpasses the prescribed size restrictions may lead to regulatory measures and legal implications. If your extension has a single storey, it cannot surpass the back wall by more than four meters or be more than four meters high. If you plan building an extension with more than one floor, you cannot extend beyond your rear wall by more than three meters.

Consider Depth for Total Extension Size

The depth of your extension is a critical factor to keep in mind when determining its overall size, as regulations restrict the total volume of the structure. Failing to account for the depth can lead to enforcement measures, legal ramifications, and potential costs for remediation. 

This blog covers several aspects of building an extension close to your boundary, including permitted development rules for extensions, boundary restrictions, designing an extension up to a street boundary, building extensions in restricted development areas, and more.

Guidelines for Permitted Development of Extensions Based on Size Restrictions

The size of your extension is the first thing to consider. If you want to build under permitted development, the new structure cannot be over 50% of your property’s land, based on the original layout, excluding any additional outbuildings. This size restriction ensures that your extension is proportional to the existing property and surrounding neighbourhood.

Here are other permitted development conditions to bear in mind:

-The new extension cannot be higher than your roof’s highest point, and the maximum height for a one-story extension is four meters.

-You cannot extend more than three meters past your original rear wall for two or more story extensions.

-Single-storey extensions built on a side return cannot be wider than half your home’s original size.

-A double-storey extension cannot exceed seven meters from your boundary.

Note that local authority planning offices may have specific rules that apply. It’s important to double-check whether permitted development still applies to your planned extension if it’s located near the edge of your property.

Remember, your extension must comply with planning regulations to ensure a successful building extension project.

Boundary Limits for Extensions Under Permitted Development: Rear, Side, and Sight Line Restrictions

An extension of over one storey high cannot exceed the building’s rear boundary by more than three meters. However, if another property is built on the land behind your property, this does not apply.

Most homeowners can build up to their side boundaries, depending on the neighbouring building and its proximity to your property.

Privacy matters: The 45-Degree Rule for Lawful Extension Design

Is your extension a privacy invader? Planning authorities use the ’45-degree rule’ to check whether it’s lawful. They draw an ‘imaginary line’ between your home and your neighbour’s and assess if your elevation intrudes on their sight lines or privacy. 

Before starting any construction work, it’s crucial to communicate with your neighbours, particularly when it comes to extensions near boundaries. Addressing any concerns they might have will save time and hassle in the long run.

When building a side return extension up to your boundary, it’s best to follow the 7.2 feet (2.2 meters without any issues) rule as a general guideline. 

Building Extension on a Shared Boundary: Permitted Development and Party Wall Considerations

Building an extension on a property with shared boundaries can be delicate. While it’s true that you can often build an extension under permitted development up to 50mm from the boundary, it’s important to note that this option may not always be available. 

Another option is to build up to the boundary with a party wall agreement. It allows you to maximise the available space for your extension. It can also allow your neighbour to build their extension if they desire(now or in the future). However, it’s essential to ensure that all parties involved agree and that the necessary legal steps are taken to avoid future conflicts or legal issues.

Keep in mind not all neighbours are happy neighbours. In some cases, you may need to follow the party wall act rules. 

Party Wall etc. Act 1996: Regulations and Notifications for Building Work on Shared Property Boundaries

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is a UK law regulating the building works on or near the shared walls, party structures, and boundary lines between two properties. 

When carrying out construction work covered by the Act, homeowners must give their neighbours a formal notice and give them 14 days to respond before starting work. 

Should I Hire A Surveyor? 

Hiring a surveyor can be helpful, as they will be responsible for drafting an agreement outlining the project’s details and any potential impacts on the party wall. However, if both parties are at crossroads, the primary surveyor may need to act as an arbitrator to settle the dispute.

Is shifting the extension away from the boundary a solution to prevent potential issues with your neighbours? 

Consider the case of a property with limited space. Shifting the extension further away from the boundary may not be feasible, and other solutions may need to be explored to avoid a party wall agreement. For example, building upwards or incorporating the extension into the existing structure of the property could be viable alternatives.

Design Considerations for Building an Extension Up to Your Property’s Street Boundary

If you plan to build an extension that faces a public road, you will need to consider its impact on the street’s appearance. 

The design and materials used for your extension must match or complement your existing property and fit the street’s character.

Local planning authorities also have specific guidelines on the materials and design you can use for a street-facing extension. So, don’t forget to check with your local planning authority before proceeding with the project.

Constructing Extensions in Areas with Development Restrictions

Living in a designated development zone, such as a protected conservation area or a picturesque Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, means that homeowners must seek planning permission for most extensions. Additionally, if the building in question has special architectural or historical significance, obtaining listed building consent may also be necessary. 

These regulations ensure that any modifications or construction projects in the area preserve their historical or architectural importance.

The local planning authority will assess your application based on the 

  • Extension’s design
  • Materials used
  • Impact it will have on the surrounding environment

They may also have specific guidelines or restrictions on the type of extension you can build.

Several other crucial factors can significantly impact the success and functionality of your extension.

Views from the property:

Consider the views from your home and how the extension may impact them. The breathtaking views from your property are an essential aspect of your home that needs to be considered before constructing an extension. Do you want to preserve the captivating views that you have come to adore or create a brand-new, awe-inspiring panorama to marvel at? Whatever your choice may be, selecting an extension design that not only complements but also amplifies the views you cherish is imperative. Let your extension construction breathe life into your home and turn your dreams into a captivating reality.

Landscaping and outdoor features:

Assess your property’s landscaping and outdoor features, including trees, bushes, and flowers. Consider how building an extension will impact them and if any relocation or removal is necessary. Incorporate these features into the new extension design for a cohesive and beautiful result.

Access points and walkways:

Ensure that the extension doesn’t obstruct any important access points or walkways around your property. Consider the flow of people and traffic and make sure that the extension doesn’t create any dead ends or difficult-to-navigate areas.

Value of Property:

Don’t forget to consider how the extension will affect the value of your property. Maximizing the value of your property requires considering how an extension may impact the home’s worth. Approach the process strategically to ensure that you make a valuable investment in your property.

Summing it up, building an extension near your property boundary requires careful planning, compliance with regulations, and an eye for aesthetics and functionality. If you are wondering, how to build an extension or, where to start. Powerpillar is here to save the day. Powerpillar can be your trusted partner in achieving all of these goals by offering expert advice, access to local contractors, and a wealth of resources to make your extension construction project a success.  

Powerpillar can connect you with local contractors and architects who are experienced in building extensions and understand local regulations and guidelines. This can help you find a team that can help you create a beautiful and functional extension that adds value to your property. We can also contact neighbours and get feedback, research development rules and help you understand minimising the costs of your extension project.

Everything You’ve Been Wondering About, Answered Here!

How close can you build an extension to a neighbour?
You need to check your local planning regulations, but usually, you need to be at least 2 meters away from your neighbour’s property line.
How close can a side extension be to the boundary?

It varies depending on where you live. Some areas may allow you to build right up to the boundary, while others may require a few meters of space. Check with your local planning authority to find out.

Does your neighbour have to leave a gap between their extension and your building?
There’s no legal requirement for your neighbour to leave a gap as long as they follow the local planning regulations. However, they must take care not to damage your property while building.
Can you build within 1 meter of the boundary?
It depends on your local planning regulations. Some areas allow it, while others require a 1-meter setback. Check with your local planning authority to find out.
Can your neighbour take down your fence to build an extension?
No, they can’t do that without your permission. If they need to access your property to build, they must get your consent and make a written agreement to protect your interests.

Emmanuel Nwaebo

Emmanuel Nwaebo is the Managing Director at Powerpillar Ltd and has more than 25 years experience in building construction and renovations. He has a bachelor’s in Electronics and Electrical Engineering with certification in Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST). With an experience in managing construction and renovation services for years, he is extremely passionate about property management and loves helping people find their dream property.

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