You can turn that redundant space on the side of your house into additional living space. Side extensions are perfect for semi-detached and end of terrace properties – often, these Victorian or Edwardian properties have small kitchens, which hugely benefit from the additional space that allows you to create a family or dining area as well.

Unlike rear extensions, side extensions typically have to slot into a pre-formed place. While you can extend both to the side and behind your home, you will have considerations with a side extension that aren’t necessarily an issue with rear extensions. For example, you will usually need to consider light sources – especially if you have side windows or the area does not get much natural light – and will need to look at your plumbing to ensure that your extension has a cohesive design rather than just working around what is already there.

What are the Benefits of Side Extensions?

Side extensions offer a lot of opportunities for people who would like to add a little extra room without sacrificing their garden or patio in the process. They’re particularly popular in London where Victorian or Edwardian properties may not have huge gardens but have additional space to the side.

By building a side extension, you can enjoy:

  • Building a home improvement that can often be built without the need for planning permission
  • A larger, open plan home or additional rooms for living, guest bedrooms, or storage
  • Additional space in your home without sacrificing areas you already use
  • Higher home values once you come to sell

What Do I Need to Consider?

With any home improvement, there are decisions to be made. When thinking about your side extension, it’s important to consider:

  • The style: will you build with similar materials or do you want something modern that may contrast with the original style of your home? If it’s the latter, it’s likely you’ll need to apply for planning permission.
  • Your existing space: will you want to remove the existing external wall to create a single open-plan space, or do you want to build an additional room with subtle changes to the current wall?
  • Plumbing: do you need to move pipes and are there manhole covers in the existing area?
  • Light: Side extensions rarely offer the opportunity for standard windows since they are usually very close to boundaries and don’t have good views. You may even have to keep windows facing the front or rear of the house due to privacy concerns. Roof windows are an excellent way to let light into your new space without overlooking neighbours or looking out at a wall.
  • Size and shape: will you want to extend to the rear as well or just keep a simple side extension?
  • Ceiling height: while there are limitations on ceiling height if you are building a permitted development, you have more scope to build a double-height room or vaulted ceiling if you are applying for planning permission already.

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Side Extension?

As mentioned above, most side extensions do not require planning permission and can be built as a permitted development. However, this does place limitations on the size of extension you can build and the materials you can use as well as the style of build. For more information please see our Planning Permission for Extensions page.