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Do You Need Planning Permission to Demolish and Rebuild?

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Do You Need Demolish and Rebuild Planning Permission?

Changes to planning permission regulations in 2020 mean that if you demolish a vacant property (residential or commercial) and rebuild a domestic home, you may not require formal demolish and rebuild planning permission.

Instead, you can apply to your local planning office for prior approval of permitted development (PD), which means you can proceed without further consent.

Get in Touch for Expert Demolition & Rebuild Planning Advice! Unsure whether your demolition and rebuild project falls under permitted development or requires full planning permission? Get in touch with the demolition professionals for fast, impartial guidance.

The Costs of Demolish and Rebuild Planning Permission

Permitted development consent doesn't necessarily come with a charge. However, planning authorities might levy a fee to offer formal pre-approval or arrange a site visit to inspect your planned works.

However, it is important to clarify before any work begins - if you assume that you won't need consent and start a demolition project, it could become very costly!

In the worst-case scenario, planning officials might even instruct you to rectify the work carried out, so verifying the position with the appropriate planning office makes sense.

If planning approval is necessary, the application costs are as follows:

Application Type Planning Permission Fee
Alterations to an individual residential property £206
Alterations to two or more individual residential properties £407
Building a new individual property £462 per house

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When is Planning Permission for Demolishing a Building Unnecessary?

Several conditions dictate whether a demolish and rebuild project is eligible for permitted development rather than full planning permission for demolishing a building.

As mentioned, if the property is already vacant, uninhabitable or in very poor condition, it will usually be possible to demolish the existing structure and rebuild a new home without having to apply for planning permission for demolishing a building.

However, you must ensure you have prior approval from the planning authorities since this is a relatively large project rather than a minor change that applies to most permitted development works.

If the following criteria apply to the existing structure, then you may have the right to demolish and rebuild it as a permitted development:

  • A maximum footprint of 1,000 square metres.
  • Maximum height of eighteen metres.
  • Constructed before 1990.
  • Outside of conservation areas or other restricted building zones.
  • Vacant for six months or more before the application.

With prior approval, you can demolish the building and build a new home up to two storeys higher than the previous structure, with a maximum possible height of 18 metres.

Demolition and rebuild works must be finished within three years of the date your prior approval is granted. Otherwise, a new application is required.

Applying for Prior Approval Planning Permission for Demolishing a Building

Along with prior approval for the demolition and construction elements of the project, applicants will also need to cover several other aspects within their permitted development paperwork, such as:

  • An assessment of potential flood risks
  • Any impacts on roadways
  • Contamination risks, where applicable
  • Noise and lighting impacts
  • Changes to local amenities

If the building is a vacant residential property, few of these factors are likely to apply, although there may be considerations when demolishing a previous commercial structure and replacing it with a home.

For example, will the rebuild include off-road parking, or is there sufficient roadside parking to accommodate an additional residence?

Local planning officers will also want to see designs indicating room dimensions and the placement of walls, windows and doors.

Although the process is not the same as full planning permission, it is more involved than a standard permitted development project.

Watch Phil Spencer talk about when planning permission in required:

Once you understand the factors involved in whether you need demolish and rebuild planning permission, you can also research other factors associated with demolition and rebuilding, such as understanding whether its cheaper to add to existing buildings or demolish and build from new. If you do decide to demolish and rebuild it's a good idea to understand the rebuilding costs and also waste disposal costs associated with demolition the rebuild.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below we run through some commonly asked questions about when demolish and rebuild planning permission is required and which construction projects will be categorised as permitted developments.

Can You Demolish and Rebuild Without Full Planning Permission?

Sometimes, you can demolish and rebuild a vacant property without full planning permission.

However, you will need prior approval from the relevant planning office to confirm whether they consider the project a permitted development.

The caveat is that the new building (or buildings) must be residential homes.

If you wish to demolish an existing home in reasonable condition or rebuild business premises, you will need to follow the usual planning permission application process.

What Counts as a Vacant Property for Planning Permission Purposes?

Generally, a property will be considered vacant or derelict and eligible for demolition and rebuild planning permission exemption if it is not in regular use, has boarding over the windows, or is in a neglected or uninhabitable condition.

Permitted development is allowed on properties to be demolished and rebuilt since a building in this state is unlikely to be usable or saleable and can often attract negative contaminations or criminal activity to the area - hence the more lenient planning permission rules.

Can I Restore a Derelict Property Without Planning Permission?

A lot depends on the nature of the derelict property you wish to restore and whether that constitutes a full demolition or internal and structural works to bring the existing building back into use.

Demolition and rebuilds are often an easier prospect because there are assurances that building regulations approvals will be involved, and there is less potential for the finished project to be non-compliant.

If a property has been derelict for many years, you may require planning permission to bring the property back into use, depending on the location and your intentions, i.e. whether the building will be a residential home or a commercial place of business.

Do I Need Technical Drawings to Apply for Prior Approval on a Permitted Development?

Yes, even if you don't need full planning permission, you will still need architectural drawings to show how your finished rebuild will look.

These drawings are necessary for the prior approval process but are also important to ensure the structural engineering and design of the final rebuilt property will adhere to building regulations.

Contractors will ask for detailed technical drawings before they can quote on a demolition and rebuild, to identify the materials, design and layout of the planned new property.


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