Lean to shed

by Michelle
(Wales uk)

Hi John,

I wanted to put up a lean-to shed against the side wall of the house up to the boundary fence with our neighbour. The shed will not be going past the front of the house.

Is this allowed to be done with regard to building regulations.

Many thanks for any assistance.



Hi Michelle,

Thankyou for your question.

The rules regarding what can and can’t be built as a storage shed in the grounds of a domestic house vary widely from country to country and in the US from State to State.

However the general approach to ensure that what you are building is within the rules and won’t be required to be dismantled at a later date are similar wherever in the world you are.

To help you understand this process here's an overview of how the building control system works

The specific regulations will vary but by understanding how the process works you should be able to understand the process better when reading the rules that apply to where you are.

The rules that apply to building any development whether it is a domestic or commercial development are the planning rules. To get permission to build a structure of any house (from a factory to a bridge) the person wanting to initiate the building will need to submit plans/drawings to a local approval authority (often the town or city council).

The drawings should show what they intend to build and how it will fit in to the existing neighborhood. The local authority will then listen to local opinion and rule as to whether the project can go ahead.

Once planning permission has been achieved then the developer will create more detailed plans

These drawings and calculations that will prove how his project complies will all local building standards, laws and regulations. The developer needs to submit these to the local authority to get proof that the building is safe to occupy. The local authority will then issue some documentation proving that the building has Building Regulation approval and is in compliance with building standards. This certificate is often required when the building is sold, as evidence of the buildings suitability to a potential purchaser.

When it comes to sheds and other ancillary buildings

There are so many and they are so insignificant in the grand scale of things that there are rules on structures that are classed as Permitted Development. Permitted Development is allowed so that the planning system does not get clogged up with small projects that don’t have much significance in the big picture. If your shed fits within the rules of a permitted development then you can just go ahead and build regardless without the time and expense of a planning application.

One thing to note is that even though your project is a permitted development it may still require Building Regulation approval if the permitted development rules say so.

The rules of what is a permitted development are what you are interested in

The rules of what is a permitted development vary from place to place and are also occasionally revised so I don’t offer the service of saying what is and what is not allowed.

In relation to sheds and permitted development specific point that will be referred to in the rules will be such things as: the distance of the shed from the house, the area of the floor plan, the height to the ridge or the eaves.

In your case the rule that you are concerned about is whether the shed can be built to the side of the house but not forward of the main building line.

There are two approaches to finding out if this is allowed

The first is to do a detailed reading of the rules and if you are certain that your building complies then to go ahead and build.

If you are not certain then I would prepare some outline plans and take them along to the council to show them what you propose to build.

When you do this their verbal assurance may be enough for you however written advice would be preferable in case there is a later dispute. In some areas you can submit your plans and they will issue a certificate of lawful development.

The certificate of lawful develpment is cheaper than a full planning application and can be issued much more quickly. It proves that your structure is outside of the planning system and complies with the permitted development rules.

I have prepared some sample shed plans that show the sort of thing that would be suitable to submit to a council so that they could confirm if something is a permitted development or not.

I hope that you found this useful and also that your project can go ahead.

I look forward to seeing pictures once the project is complete. ;-)

All the best


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