Planning Permission for that Dream Oak Extension!!!


Useful and helpful information on planning permission, what to consider and whats involved

Jamie Winspear

Author: Jamie Winspear

planning permission oak extension

Planning Permission for that Dream Oak Extension!

Planning regulation can be quite challenging.  So, Oak By Design has highlighted some key facts about which building projects need planning permission and which don’t.

If you are thinking about building something new, or want to make a major change to your building, you will most likely need planning permission.

Listed below are tips and guidelines on initial points you should consider, to ensure your project gets underway.

Oak By Design is regularly involved with this process when it comes to Oak sunrooms, porches and other oak products.

Extensions to Your Home

An addition or extension to your house can be considered to be Permitted Development, providing it falls into the following remit.

  • Your extension is no more than half the area of land around the original house (curtilage).
  • The “original house” is seen as it was in 1948; or, after this date, how it was originally built when new.
  • Your extension is not forward of the principal elevation or side elevation onto a highway
  • Your extension is not higher than the highest part of the roof.
  • In the case of single-storey extensions, it must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than eight metres for a detached house, or more than six metres for any other house (e.g. not detached).
  • The maximum height of your single-storey rear extension is not higher than four metres.
  • Extensions of more than one storey do not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres.
  • Single storey, side extensions, with a maximum height of four metres and width no more than half that of the original house.
  • Two-storey extensions are no closer than seven metres to rear boundary.
  • The materials are similar in appearance to the existing house.
  • Your extension does not include verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • Any upper-floor, side-facing windows are obscure-glazed; any opening is 1.7m above the floor.
  • Conservatories are categorised as the same as any other extension, as set out above.

Find a Local Planning Consultant

Find a local planning consultant near you to help with your planning application.

A planning consultant may suggest you start with an informal meeting with your local planning authority (LPA) before you submit an application.

A pre-planning application meeting can help the LPA in dealing with your planning application when it is formally submitted. Ahead of this meeting, you will need to have proposals and plans for what you want to do.  Be ready to describe your proposals and, if possible, show the LPA designs – with current floor plans and proposed new design.

To save time and money during the early concept stage Oak By Design recommend asking the LPA key questions.  This is to ascertain whether there is a reasonable chance of planning permission being approved.

Questions Oak By Design recommend you ask LTA

  • Discuss site problems such as roads, footpaths, power cables, watercourses, sewers and telephone lines.
  • Ask about potential problems such as noise and traffic, and whether the council might impose conditions to overcome these problems rather than refuse planning permission.

Planning Application Drawings

A key point in the process of applying for planning permission is creating your design drawings.

Whether it’s a small straightforward single-storey extension or something more ambitious, you will need a set of accurate floor plans.  These are for your designs and elevations which show the vertical view of your design internally and externally.

These drawings need to be produced to the appropriate scale and demonstrate how your project will be in keeping with its surroundings.

Oak By Design would happily recommend an Architect for your scheme to help you through this process and carry out technical drawings.

If your project requires planning permission and you carry out the works without planning approval, you could be served with an enforcement notice.  This would order you to undo all the changes you have made. So don’t risk it and check before you start.

If you want an Oak Sunroom, Oak Porch or any other stunning Oak Feature, why not give Oak By Design a call to see what is achievable???


Do I Need Planning Permission For an Oak Porch?


Understanding the basic rules of the General Permitted Development Order

Author: Joanne Fisher

oak porch planning permission

Do I Need Planning Permission For an Oak Porch?

The General Permitted Development Order came into force on 15th April 2015.

This allows certain building works, and changes of use, to be carried out without having to make a planning application. Installing a porch comes under the Permitted Development.

There are, however, certain restrictions and exclusions.

The following is a general guideline, and we recommend that you check your local authority website, or contact the planning department, prior to installing a porch.

Permitted Development Rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impacts and to protect local amenity.

Exclusions for England (may differ in Wales) include homes (not flats, maisonettes or other buildings) in:-

Conservation Areas
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
National Parks
The Broads
World Heritage Sites

Listed Buildings also are exempt.

oak porch planning permission

This shows where to measure the width, depth and height.

oak porch planning permission

Please allow for this extra height needed on all porches.

The Main BASIC Rules

The rules for oak porch planning permission are applicable to any external door to the dwelling provided:-

  1. The ground floor area (measured externally) would not exceed 3 sq. metres.
  1. No part would be more than 3 metres* above ground level (height needs to be measured in the same way as for a house extension).
  1. No part of the porch would be within 2 metres of any boundary of the dwelling house and the highway.

*When asking for a quotation for an oak porch, the overall height of the oak to the ridge will need to be less than 3 metres to allow for roofing tiles/slates and the ridge tiles. The TOTAL height for everything can’t be above 3 metres.

Useful link:

The Planning Portal covers many different projects, as does the Government website:

Remember – If in any doubt as to whether you need Planning Permission, contact your local council.

We supply oak porches but are not responsible for checking with regards to Planning Permission.


Why Use Oak Brackets with an Oak Porch?


Understanding the benefits of using an oak bracket with your oak porch.


Author: Richard Penny

Oak Porch Homes


An oak bracket can also be known as a strut, diagonal support or brace; for the purpose of this article, we will use the term ‘bracket’.

An oak brackets purpose is to create some rigidity to reducing the potential skewing of the porch posts.  What does this mean?

To create the structural integrity within the porch, these corner brackets, when fixed in place, will help the top of the front posts from moving sideways.

Looking at the front of the porch, the oak bracket locates into the base of the tie-beam of the truss as well as the sidewall of the front post.

The Joints

These joints are pre-made using a mortise and tenon joint [tooltip] and are fixed in place with an oak dowel.  This design creates a triangular shape in the top corner of the porch giving it the rigidity it needs.

The other purpose of the oak bracket is to make sure the oak truss that sits on top of the posts, cannot lift up.  Should you require no brackets, an alternative method of fixing the truss down should be considered.  This could be by skew screwing at the back of the truss.

Aesthetically, an extra oak bracket can provide more character if added to each side of the oak porch.  Should there be sufficient depth, two brackets can be used on each side.

oak bracket on oak porch
oak bracket on oak porch


The majority of oak brackets supplied have a curved appearance and we have a set radius that works well with most porches.  However, changing the curvature or design can and will create a different effect.  Please see our gallery for more ideas.

Other intricacies can include “stop chamfers”.  These add more detail to the edges of the brackets and soften their appearance.


So, to conclude the oak brackets are there for two main reasons.  One, to add structure and integrity and two, to add design and some aesthetic appeal.

When deciding on your oak porch, please consider what options you have and if we can help in finalising any details, just give us a call on 01423 593794.


How to Finish Off Your Dwarf Wall


This feature will be the pedestal of your porch and will require finishing to a high standard


Author: Richard Penny

oak porch in Yorkshire


A dwarf wall adds shelter and character to any oak porch.  This feature will be the pedestal of your porch and will require finishing to a high standard

Here are some ideas and solutions on the best way to finish the top of your dwarf wall.

Normally, the construction will be stone or brick, although sometimes a render finish can be used.  For the purpose of this article, we will concentrate on brick and stone dwarf walls.

Stone Walls

Any dwarf wall needs a capping or coping stone for the oak porch to sit upon.  The difference between them is that a capping stone will be the same width as the dwarf wall whereas a coping stone will project slightly all the way around.

A coping stone would be better suited in these circumstances as the projection will act as some protection against the wall from any surface rain.

As photos below, the oak post would want to sit aesthetically in the centre of the coping stone and wall.  It would ideally also want to sit equally from the front of the stone as it is from the sides.

When installed, the stone coping should be offset to a slight angle so any surface water falls away from the centre of the oak porch.  A minimal slope of 1:100 will suffice.

This coping can be real stone or a composite depending on budget and the overall look required.

Bricks Walls

A brick dwarf wall can be finished with stone coping as described above in the same way.  However, should you wish to use a brick alternative, there are two options you can choose from.

An angled or curved brick is known as a ‘plinth brick’.  The are many plinth bricks on the market and choosing one will depend on the width or thickness of your wall. Most builders will construct a one brick wide wall.  Looking at the plinth bricks pictured, these can be incorporated to create a neat brick finish.

Alternatively, a soldier course of bricks laid on their edges would give a more robust effect.  Bricks are made so their ‘faces’ can withstand the weather more easily than the ‘flat’ face.

Why not extend the design by adding a course or two of plain ‘rosemary’ tiles?  These act the same way as a coping stone creating a small overhang for water to ‘drip’ away.

As the oak posts on most of our oak porches will be 140mm x 140mm, sitting them centrally on a stone or brick dwarf wall is always achievable.

Should you be considering building a dwarf wall for your upcoming oak porch, we would be more than happy to advise you further.  We can offer a drawing showing the details of how the oak post would sit and all dimensions for your builder or installer.


A stone or brick coping will help with both the design and effectiveness of having a dwarf wall.

There are other considerations when designing and installing the copings and should you require any more details, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01423 593794.

How would you decide to finish your dwarf wall?


How to Keep Oak Looking Au Naturale?


Understanding the new trend of allowing oak to retain its natural colour.

Author: Joanne Fisher

natural oak

How do we keep Oak looking Au Naturale?

We’re often asked by customers how they can keep their external oak (on porches, garages, verandahs, and other products) looking as good as it does when it leaves the workshop and arrives on site.

We sand and seal all our oak buildings and structures (tailored to suit each client) with oil prior to sending out. Ready then to face the weather as soon as the installation has taken place.

What Happens To The Oak?

Without any finish being applied to oak, rainwater penetrates the timber, which reacts with the tannins in the wood. This causes the oak to ‘blacken’.

Again, without any finish being applied, the sun’s UV rays will react with the oak leaving it to ‘silver’ over time.  Many clients like this look, especially with the porches.

All weathers – rain, sun and wind, can affect the appearance of the oak over time. The position of the oak structure (i.e. which direction it faces) can also affect this. Both these factors need bearing in mind when considering the oils and maintenance required.

Leaving the oak to take its natural process can have a ‘Marmite’ reaction!

We’ve found, talking to our clients that some people ‘love” the oak silvering off and ageing, and others absolutely ‘loathe’ it!!! This is why there are a number of options regarding the finishing of the oak. From a natural finish, a more traditional finish and a contemporary finish, all tailored to you….

How Can I Prevent The Oak Changing Colour?

We offer 3 options of finishing (4 if you count not having anything applied).

1 –Osmo UV Protection Oil – 420

This protects the oak from the weather, leaving it looking light and more contemporary whilst preventing the oak blackening or silvering, providing there is good maintenance.

2- Osmo UV Protection Oil with Natural tint – 429

This again protects the oak from the weather and leaves it looking more natural. You will see this shade on most of our oak porches and external products. Again, this prevents the oak blackening or silvering, providing there is good maintenance.

They both:

  • Are water and dirt resistant
  • Reduce wood swelling and shrinkage
  • Contain biocides to prevent the growth of algae, mildew and fungal attack
  • Have a microporous, breathable finish which does not peel, flake or blister
  • Don’t require any sanding before future applications

3 – Johnstones Satin Woodstain – Clear – Protects against UV rays

  • Contains biocides
  • Resists cracking, peeling, and blistering
  • Has excellent durability and weather protection
  • This gives a darker rich look, in comparison to the others


429 Tinted Oil 

420 Natural Oil 

Johnstones Oil 

We would always suggest that more frequent care and maintenance is required in the first couple of years of exposure to the elements, to maintain it’s decorative finish. In the first couple of years, we would suggest that frequent maintenance and care are paramount to the longevity of the decorative finish and its exposure to the elements.

If Au Naturale is your thing, we can provide your oak structure without applying any finish.

A recent client, (click for case study) who lives in the Peak District, wanted her new oak porch to ‘settle in’ to her period property as soon as possible. She, therefore, chose to not have any finish when the porch was made, as she wants it to silver off to look like part of the property.

A client from 6 years ago (see photos below) also wanted her porch to fit in with her 650-year old property. She had recently had an extension built on her pretty Cotswold house. She wanted both the stone and the oak to weather in as quickly as possible. By not applying any oil, the look has been created!

‘It looks lovely and as though it’s been here forever!’

Why not get in touch today for a friendly chat?

oak porch

Oak Porch – 6 Years Ago

oak porch

Oak Porch – Current Day


Ultimately, the decision to oil an oak porch or not depends on your opinion on its appearance changing over the years.  Oak does not need oil to preserve it.

Trends change over time and regardless of your decision, you can always revive the colour of the oak at a later stage.  This will be covered in a future blog.

Whatever your preference to finish, we can help you achieve it.


How to Save Money Before the Build Begins


The 4 key stage tips to get the best out of your project before construction begins.

Jamie Winspear

Author: Jamie Winspear


Stage 1 – Free Information

Before you start to look into the design, you need to know if your project is feasible in the first place.

Before any costs occur we would ask that you send a few photos of where you would like to have your project, along with a few bullet points of what you have in mind.  Why not visit our gallery showing a range of completed products.  From this, we will be able to give you our professional experience on whether what you have in mind is feasible.

We can discuss the following design aspects such as: –

  • The design of your project
  • Lighting
  • Fixtures & Fittings
  • The style of doors
  • What is the purpose of the project for you?
  • Professional fees – such as Architects, Structural Engineers, Building Control.

The above information will help us to provide you with an initial budget cost which will obviously help you decide whether or not you wish to proceed to the planning approval stage. All of the above discussions at this stage would be free, which provide you with valuable information before investing your money.

Should you be happy with the budget cost, we would then take you to the next stage. Budget costs can fluctuate depending on fixtures and fittings

Stage 2 – Investing Money into the Project for Planning

Submitting your project to the Planning Authorities involves costs. At this stage, you should choose your architect for the works for planning approval. We would advise you on which Architect to use if needed.

The drawings for the planning approval are basic drawings. These show the elevations and plan view of the project, along with a document answering several questions such as the use of materials, location of property and use of the project.

Investing money for this stage only means that should the project be rejected, there are no unnecessary monies wasted on detailed drawings and designs.

Your project may need minor amendments for planning approval although, at this stage, these will be easy to amend. Following the amendments, you will be required to resubmit the application for planning approval.  Please note, planning applications take up to 8 weeks for a decision to be made.

Stage 3 – Planning has been Approved – What Now?

At this stage, you should receive a little more free information.

We will discuss in detail with you the next stages to form a fixed quotation with detailed drawings.  We will also discuss the bullet points in detail, making sure you understand the reasons for each bullet point.

These are some of the points we are most likely to discuss;

  • Do you need a structural engineer?
  • What about a mechanical and electrical engineer?
  • Do you need an architect to project manage the scheme?
  • What floor coverings would you like?
  • Do you want a log fire and what style is best suited?
  • Should I use a preferred contractor?
  • How long will the project take?


Once we have discussed the above points, along with other queries and questions, you will be in a position to gather quotations for the professional fees only.  These could include Architects fees, Structural Engineers fees, the Design Team. Once the Architect, Engineer and Design Team have created all the necessary drawings and specification, this can be submitted to Building Control. This can take up to 8 weeks to approve the drawings and these drawings will have all the details required to build the scheme.

With all the drawings and specification created and money spent in the right places, you will be in the perfect position to start the scheme. This is where we will be able to finally deliver a fixed quotation for the full build. You will know that the quotation will include everything stated on your specification and drawings.


Speaking to us at the very beginning for your oak scheme will prevent you from spending unnecessary monies.

It will give you the confidence that each stage is at the right stage for your project and will ensure you are set for your build to begin.

Give us a call; visit our showroom for a chat and a cup of coffee!!!!

Why wouldn’t you want to save time and money?


Engraved Oak – Personalisation


The ultimate in personalisation.

Adding your house name, family name or personal message definitely adds that personal touch.

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Everything Oak By Design manufacture at their Tockwith workshop is made to order, and therefore, unique!

This enables their clients to have exactly the oak product they wish for.

Engraved oak adds the ultimate in personalisation

Oak structures, such as sunrooms, glazed porches, garages and open porches are proving extremely popular at the moment. The aesthetically pleasing, characterful look of oak must surely be part of their popularity. Glazed porches and open porches, especially, are extremely popular and on many people’s home ‘wish lists’.

The oak porch is the first part of the home a visitor experiences when visiting. Regularly styled to reflect the owners’ personality, they give people an insight into the lives of the people behind the door!

Uses include: storing wellies, logs, children’s and dog’s paraphernalia whilst others overflow with planters and lanterns. However clients use their porches, they do like to personalise them.

Oak By Design offers all their oak porch clients the opportunity to have their porch personalised with engraved oak beams showing their house name or number, as appropriate.

Alternatively, if they don’t want to have the oak truss engraved, they can have oak seat tops made (if they’re having enclosed dwarf walls built). There is the option of having the engraving along the top or along the front edge.

The photos show seat tops engraved with the different family members names on a porch in the Cotswolds.  These, hopefully, ensure all wellies are all placed in the proper place after a family walk!


The engraving machine is mainly in use to enhance and personalise their oak products.

Their clients have the choice of a number of different fonts and size for the inscription. This addition to the porch ordering process has proved very popular with their clients who require ‘That little something extra’ on their products.

The engraved oak beam service is only available on products manufactured by Oak By Design, and at the time of manufacture.

CALL TODAY ON 01423 593794


Great Oak Porch Problem Solved!


The drain pipe could not be easily moved. How could the oak porch fit against the house wall?

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seasoned oak porch

We Enjoy Problem Solving

An Oak Porch made by Oak By Design is always made to order! They have the advantage of helping clients who don’t want something ‘run of the mill’.

Instead of having ‘stock’ items made to a certain size, or in a certain style, with a certain finish, their customers can have whatever they want.

Potential client Jane Bastow approached them at the beginning of September.  She found them after looking through their website and realising that they made everything to order.  Speaking to Joanne at their Tockwith Showroom together they detailed the problems she had.

She wanted an oak porch installing at the front of her farmhouse property.

The Problem

Unfortunately, a large bathroom waste pipe ran above the main door entrance.  It also made life harder as it continued down the left-hand side of where a porch would be sited. At present, a beautiful climbing plant made a marvellous job of disguising the rather ugly pipework!

Due to having a downstairs window quite close to the doorway, the waste pipe, once again, caused problems.  This was the only place the back post could fit! There was also a small window above the doorway, offset to the right, which added to her already problematic restriction. After looking at various options, (such as making the porch slightly larger than required) but ruling them out for obvious practical reasons, an idea began to form!

If it is difficult to position a back post against a wall, the return beam, which runs from the front post to the back post, can be made longer. This can then ‘sit’ within the outer wall of the house. Unfortunately, the pipework was also in the way for this!

The main timbers of the porch would need to be 140mm x 140mm due to the size of the proposed porch (1765mm wide x 885mm deep).

The Solution

To ‘mimic’ a back post, a 3-sided oak cover would sit around the piping on the back wall. The return beam would then be extended so it would wrap around the upright post cover. As the pipework was at least 125mm in diameter, the back beam would need to appear like a larger beam. Therefore, if this was to be the case, the right-hand side was to match!

To disguise the pipework above the door, reclaimed oak panelling, retained by Jane from a previous project, would cover this. The back rafters of the oak porch would, therefore, sit forward to accommodate the panelling.

Jane’s builder was very much part of the discussions which went back and forth.

oak porch drawing

Eventually, between Jane, Oak By Design and the builder, the problem reached a resolution. The above ideas needed to approved by the builder.

Once everyone was happy with the drawing, Jane ordered the porch and promptly went on holiday until just before Christmas.

Manufacture of the porch took place in January and the installation was during February. Cutting back the plant to reveal the piping and replacing some of the smaller pipework, created a clear area to install the porch.

The photo’s show the porch in-situ and the back posts, made for Air Dried Oak like the other posts, look solid.

Jane wants the porch to age and weather quickly so it ‘silvers off’. This will, therefore, give the impression of having been there for some time. She, therefore, chose not to have an oil finish applied after manufacture.

She has also got her fingers crossed!  She hopes that the cut back plant starts to flourish and grow around the back post giving the look she craves!

Jane said. ‘I think it has made a big difference to the house, and a fantastic job in covering the pipes’

installed oak porch

Why Add An Oak Porch?


The three main reasons you benefit from adding an oak porch to your home.


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Why Add An Oak Porch To Your Home?


Whether you decide to redecorate your home or build an extension, they will all improve the appearance of your property. Adding an oak porch can have many advantages.

The entrance to your home can sometimes be taken for granted as we use it every day. We become accustomed to its appearance. This may have become slightly dated over time or you may have inherited it when you first bought your home. Either way, changing the entrance by adding an oak porch has the following benefits.

Additional Character

Plain fronted house sometimes needs that extra character. Whether you a have brick or stone property, adding oak to the entrance of your home will automatically add an amazing focal point.  Using air-dried, seasoned oak will automatically add the character as this natural product will have beautiful knots and mature cracks.

Before & After

oak porch

Extra Shelter

Protection from the elements can mean protecting you and your family after a long walk in the wind and rain. This shelter could also be expanded to incorporate seats and welly store.

A porch also provides additional shelter for your front door protecting it from the elements.

Increased Value

It’s a proven fact that adding a feature, such as an oak porch, can increase the value of any home. It’s the first impression many visitors get when approaching your home.

The appeal of a characterful, sheltered entrance can add financial value as well as the feeling of comfort and security.

An oak porch will age and mellow over time providing many years of enjoyment. You might have an existing canopy or lean-to that needs replacing or a blank canvas to let your thoughts run wild. Either way, an oak porch can easily be created and installed to most homes wanting that extra wow factor.

Should you require further details or want to visit our showroom where full-scale oak structures are available for viewing, please make contact on 01423 593794.   Or alternatively see more ideas and information on our main website or dedicated website to the oak porch at

Oak Porch - New Build Property
Oak Porch - New Build Property

Herringbone Engineered Oak Flooring


An interesting option of creating something difference using Engineered Herringbone Oak Flooring.

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Over the last few years, we have started to see a marked increase in the number of clients asking for herringbone engineered oak flooring. They are choosing to use it in all rooms: hallways, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms.

This popular pattern (it takes its name from its similarity to fishbone patterns) is appearing on floors and walls internally and on paths and gardens externally. It’s appearing on wood flooring, vinyl flooring, tiles in kitchens and bathrooms and paint effects everywhere else!

The trend of mixing the colours and texture is also starting to become apparent.  The beauty of this pattern is definitely in its simplicity.

Each board is the same size and the length of the board is always divisible by its width.

An example of this is our current boards at 600mm in length by 120mm wide.



The ends of the boards will be cut square and these butt up to another board along the length. This forms a rigid ‘zigzag’ pattern.

A chevron or French herringbone is generally described when each end of the board is cut at an angle,

The beauty of modern-day herringbone engineered oak flooring is that it is available as ‘engineered’, as opposed to solid, which would have been used when it was last popular in the early part of the 20th Century.

Stability and durability are the key areas sought after for all engineered oak flooring. The movement and ‘gapping’ of solid oak flooring a thing of the past. It can be used over underfloor heating, making it a great choice in new homes.

The beauty of modern-day flooring is of course CHOICE!

We can now choose different sizes in length, width and thickness.  Also, different textures (smooth, brushed, distressed etc.) and many different colours.  Choose anything from limed whites to deep, dark solid blacks and greys.

We can even choose the grade of the wood.  From ‘Classic’ – characterful knots and grain to ‘Elegance’ with minimal knots and cleaner boards.

Client Project Links are HERE and HERE

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