How Big Can a Garage Be Without Planning Permission?

Building a new garage is an exciting time for homeowners. However, navigating planning permission laws in the USA can be tricky, especially when they’re normally managed state by state. Now, how big can a garage be without planning permission?

In some cases, you’ll need planning permission to build a new garage unless you follow the exact parameters your local authority sets out. Certain builds, like detached garages, don’t require any development approval, but it will depend on the size.

Everyone’s situation will be different when getting planning permission to build their garage. Don’t let the talk of legislation spook you out, though. 

Let’s give you some peace of mind and show you how big a garage can be without a building permit. Plus, we’ll cover everything you need to consider before proceeding to the next step.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties with reliable contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about how big a garage can be without planning permission – read on to learn more.

Big Garage Set UpPre-Construction For Garage Considerations

Finding out the allowable garage build size without planning permission is one consideration out of many you must be aware of before getting started. There are also plenty of other factors you should be conscious of, including:

  • Attached or detached?: Attached garages are usually cheaper to build, but detached garages are less likely to require planning permission.
  • Footage: Size matters; the bigger the garage, the more likely you’ll need to get planning permission.
  • Location: Make sure the build doesn’t cross certain boundaries, such as your neighbor’s home or out past the front of your wall onto the street.

The Surprising Advantages of a Small Garage

Small Garage without planning permission

Once you’ve determined the basic features your garage should have, it’s time to consider a few aspects that, however small it may be, will be beneficial to you and the value of your property.

For many, a two-car garage represents the standard. But a small one-car garage offers a surprising array of benefits. They’re kinder on the wallet, leaving more room in your budget for other features or a more comfortable living space. Their compact size makes them perfect for maximizing storage with shelves and cabinets, creating a dedicated zone for bikes, tools, or even a hobby workspace. 

Most importantly, they shield your car from harsh weather, potentially saving you money on repairs and insurance. Some insurance companies even offer discounts to homeowners who park their cars in a garage. A one-car garage might be smaller, but its advantages add up to a big win.

How Can You Avoid Having to Obtain Planning Permission?

Some garage builds will be exempt from needing planning permission in certain circumstances. While you may have to follow certain guidelines, this will help you avoid waiting weeks for a building authority to approve your application.

These are the rules you must follow if you want to avoid having to get planning permission:

  • Home boundary: The garage does not fall within a 12-foot perimeter of your residence.
  • Area: The garage can’t be more than half the overall area of your home.
  • Height: The height doesn’t reach past 16 feet.
  • Roof: The roof style must follow the same as your property.
  • Reach: The garage cannot pass the wall that separates your garden and the street out the front of your house.
  • Eaves: The roof’s edges are set back at least 6 feet from the property boundary.
  • Garage use: You utilize the garage solely for residential purposes.

Applying for Planning Permission: What You Need to Do

Big Garage Pathway

If you have big renovation plans in mind, you’ll probably need to apply for planning permission. Someone only needs planning permission if the construction aligns with what ‘development’ is. This is described in detail in section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This will give you a better idea of whether you need to apply or not.

You’ll need to follow these steps to get through the application process:

  • Public proposal: Publish the proposal publicly online or through local news sources. You’ll have two weeks from then to submit it to your local planning authority.
  • Permissions: Figuring out whether you have to get a Full Permission or an Outline Permission.
  • Drawings: Illustrations will be needed to show your local building authority your plans so they can see if they’ll fall in line with legislation.

Full Permission and Outline Permission Explained

When someone needs planning permission to build their garage, they must determine the type they need. 

The two types of planning permission are Full Permission and Outline Permission. Here’s a breakdown of each:

  • Full Permission: You must submit all of the details about the construction, including drainage, drawings, an evaluation of the site, the scope of the project, and more.
  • Outline Permission: You only need to provide basic information about the construction, such as the size, access, and the overall layout of the project.

Local Legislation

It can be difficult in the USA to work around the local legislation, as every state governs by itself. To make things even more confusing, the rules are made on a county-by-county basis. This is why it’s important to seek help from a lawyer, or else you could face a big fine or, in the worst-case scenario, a prison sentence.

You should avoid building your garage until you get the right clarification from your local government office about the steps you must take. If you get caught, they could force you to knock it all down. 

Sometimes, people make mistakes during the construction phase. Luckily, there are ways you can apply for additional permissions in the future if this happens. However, if they get rejected, you might be forced to take it all down, so it’s important to get everything right the first time around.

The application process can take up to eight weeks for approval, but it can take longer if your project is on a big scale. If this is the case, building authorities often ask for more information on the build, which can take up to 13 weeks to get approval.

That’s How Big Your Shed Can Be Without Planning Permission!

It’s not easy to understand the planning permission process for building a garage, especially if you’ve no experience in the field. The laws can be found on your local government website but can be difficult to understand. Fortunately, there will be plenty of professionals in your area who can help you understand these laws and lead you on the right path to build your dream shed.

While the amount of hoops you have to jump through to set up a garage can seem like a lot of hassle, it’s totally worth it. You’ll have more space, and your home will stand out from the others on your block! 

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your contractor search. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call us at 818.317.3567 to get realistic, local price estimates for your garage renovation or any other kind of home remodeling project.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.
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