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Roof additions and alterations to your house

If you want to add extra space to the top floor of your house, you might want to consider adding a dormer. A dormer is an extension, usually with a window, that sticks out of a sloping roof and gives you a bit more headroom.

This guidance only applies if your home is a dwellinghouse. This means it's a house you live in and is not used as a business premise to any significant degree.

Permitted development

Before you arrange to alter or add to your roof, you should first check to see if you need to apply for planning permission.

Many additions or alterations do not need a planning permission application, because most meet a set of rules called 'permitted development'. The permitted development rules are:

  • they are not on the front or side of your house and facing a road
  • the distance between the dormers and the boundary of your curtilage they face is more than 10 metres
  • the development would not be higher than the existing roofline (when measuring the height of the roofline, do not include chimneys)
  • all your dormers combined cover less than half the width of the roof
  • the distance between the dormers and any edge of the roof is at least 30 centimetres
  • it's not within a conservation area

For more information on what is considered a permitted development when adding to your roof, read the Scottish Government's Guidance on Householder Permitted Development rights publication and go to section 4.42. This includes instances where additional restrictions on permitted development apply.

Planning permission

If you want to add to your roof but it does not meet the conditions for permitted development, you have to apply for planning permission.

Find out how to apply for planning permission, or contact your local authority for further information.

Aberdeen City CouncilAberdeenshire CouncilAngus CouncilArgyll and Bute CouncilCairngorms National Park AuthorityClackmannanshire CouncilComhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)Dumfries & Galloway CouncilDundee City CouncilEast Ayrshire CouncilEast Dunbartonshire CouncilEast Lothian CouncilEast Renfrewshire CouncilEdinburgh CouncilFalkirk CouncilFife CouncilGlasgow City CouncilHighland CouncilInverclyde CouncilLoch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park AuthorityMidlothian CouncilMoray CouncilNorth Ayrshire CouncilNorth Lanarkshire CouncilOrkney Islands CouncilPerth & Kinross CouncilRenfrewshire CouncilScottish Borders CouncilShetland Islands CouncilSouth Ayrshire CouncilSouth Lanarkshire CouncilStirling CouncilWest Dunbartonshire CouncilWest Lothian Council

You should always check with your council's planning department to see whether you need to apply for planning permission. Even if you meet the permitted development rules, there may be other approvals you'll need to get.

Other approvals

You might need other approvals before you can carry out work. For example, you might need approval under the building regulations from the local council.

If you do not own the land on which the development is being carried out (for example, if you're a tenant or the land's in joint ownership), you need to get the landowner's permission.

If you live in a listed building you'll also need to obtain listed building consent.

It's your responsibility to make sure you get any necessary approval.

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