One of the most popular additions to a garden is a shed, traditionally used for storage purposes or as a workshop and these days commonly as a man cave and normally a wooden structure. But sometimes you want something stronger than a wooden version – a brick shed is a perfect example. But before you grab that brick calculator to work out how many bricks you need, there’s one question to ask first. Do you need planning permission for a brick shed?
Brick sheds and permitted development
In 2008, the government brought in something called Permitted Development Rights. The aim of this was to allow homeowners to add to their homes in a variety of ways without the need for planning permission.
The rule covers a whole range of outbuildings including sheds, garages and even things like kennels and swimming pools. The main point is that the outbuilding must be for a purpose ‘incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house’. In other words, it must not be used as a living area, bedroom, bathroom or similar purposes.
What you can build under permitted development?
This means that if you are building a brick or breeze block shed for a hobby, storage or other similar purposes, you shouldn’t need planning permission.
But there are some rules to know about that will affect the project regardless.
Some of the key points under permitted develop include:
- The shed can’t cover more than 50% of the total garden space
- It can’t be forward of the front wall of the house (so you can’t put it in the front garden)
- It must be no higher than 2.5 metres at the eaves or an overall height of 3 metres
- If it is within 2 metres of the edge of the property, it can’t be more than 2.5 metres high
When permitted development doesn’t apply
There are some exceptions to Permitted Development Rights and, in these situations, you will need planning permission for your shed.
If you live in a Listed Building, in designated lands or areas such as a conservation area or Site of Special Scientific Interest, permitted development doesn’t apply to you. Also, the rights are different in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Applying for planning permission
If you are unsure whether you can build your shed, it is always best to check with your local council’s planning department. By giving them all the information about the purpose of the shed, the size and design, they can tell you for certain if you need planning permission.
While in most cases, you won’t, if you do then the system is now largely online. The government’s planning portal is where you can work through most of the questions about planning permission and start your application. It can take 8-10 weeks.
Don’t forget whether you need planning permission or not, Building Regulations will always apply. These look more at the standard of construction of the shed. So while they may not be worried about what facing bricks you use, they will look at the level of insulation it may need.
However, if the shed is a straightforward storage area without electricity, few regulations should apply.
Of course with the ever increasing cost of energy you'll want to keep your shed / mancave as warm and cosy as possible by insulating it.
Consider insulating the floor, ceiling, roof space, walls, installing Double Glazed Units and draught excluders around external doors.
A high quality job will leave you with a building you can be proud of, will provide useful and usable space and will hopefully add value to your property as well.