Can I add two storeys to a house without planning permission?

Thanks to a planning amendment in 2020, it is now possible to extend upwards, even adding a double storey extension to your home, using the prior approval route. However, this permitted development right is not applicable to all properties.


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The new legislation

This new amendment, brought in during 2020, states the following:

Class AA – enlargement of a dwellinghouse by construction of additional storeys

Permitted development


AA.  The enlargement of a dwellinghouse consisting of the construction of—

(a) up to two additional storeys, where the existing dwellinghouse consists of two or more storeys; or

(b) one additional storey, where the existing dwellinghouse consists of one storey,

immediately above the topmost storey of the dwellinghouse, together with any engineering operations reasonably necessary for the purpose of that construction.


Is your property eligible?

Unfortunately, the permitted development rule to extend upwards does not apply to all properties.

The new permitted development rights for extending upwards DO NOT apply in the following circumstances:

  • If your house was built before 1 July 1948 (so unfortunately does not apply to period properties.)
  • If your house was built after 28 Oct 2018.
  • Your house does not generally benefit from permitted development rights due to
    • being a flat or leasehold property,
    • being in conservation area, a national park, the Broads, a World Heritage site, an area of outstanding natural beauty or a site of special scientific interest.
  • The property is listed.
  • Your house has already been extended upwards since it was built.


‘Prior approval’ for extending upwards

This legislation for extending upwards does not mean you can start building without any consent. Instead, it means that you only need to submit a prior approval application instead of a full planning application.

The advantage of a prior approval application is that it’s quick and requires less detail than a full planning application (and so less expensive for your architect to produce).

However, there is certainly no guarantee that your prior approval application will be granted.


Find the right architect to help you

Certain councils are more willing than others to embrace this new legislation so it’s worth finding an architect who has this specific knowledge of this type of development in your local council area. Our architect finding tool allows you to put a request out for architects with this specific knowledge.



Get quotes for your planning or prior approval application

If you’re looking to get quotes for your one or two storey extension, we specialise in matching homeowners to the right architect for their project. Simply post your project below and we’ll match you up with the best architects for your requirements. And it’s completely free!

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Emily  Design for Me

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