AdviceGuest postsKitchens

Kitchen rules and regulations – guest post by Phil Spencer

The kitchen is the heart of the home and well worth a remodel if it’s looking a bit sorry for itself. But as with all home improvements, there are certain hoops that you need to go through to make sure that you’re complying with the law.

Planning permission

As long as you live in an unlisted building, you’re free to remodel your existing kitchen however you see fit unless it is part of a house extension. A grade – 11 listing will prevent you from changing what’s known as the ‘special characteristics’ of the building either inside or outside and if you’re not clear on what those ‘special characteristics’ are, I’d recommend visiting the planning portal of your local authority before having a chat with the employees at the planning department there. Listed building specialists are usually employed by planning departments and if not, a planning officer will be able to help you with what you need. The advice itself is free but depending on how your local department works, you might be asked to submit an application with drawings of your home before you speak to an advisor.

designer kitchen

Image Source: Desire to Inspire

Make the website your first port of call and look up their planning guidelines document for kitchens and bathrooms. You’ll generally find that you have to stay true to the character of the building, leaving certain features such as the fireplaces, cornicing and beams intact.

Do I need planning permission?

If your home isn’t listed, you might still need planning permission if you plan on altering the drainage, moving walls or changing the way that your home will appear from the outside. It could be that the kitchen would be part of a new build attached to your property or otherwise. If it’s a big change and not just changing the colour of your fascia boards, you should check with the Local Authority.

kitchen new build

Image Source: House to Home

The same approach goes for homes in conservation areas. If you live in a protected area and want to install a glass sliding door to your kitchen, you might need permission to check that the works aren’t deemed to impact negatively on the architectural characteristics of the area. Your local council, or an architect with experience working in your area, should be able to educate you on whether permission is necessary for your type of work.

Building regulations

The short answer to whether you need building regulations is sometimes. It all depends on what your kitchen transformation will involve. Refitting a kitchen won’t normally require approval but your drainage and electrical work might – especially if the kitchen is being added to a room that didn’t have one before.

open plan kitchen

Image Source: Houseshoot

Ventilation and drainage are a priority; you need to make sure that the structure is sound and the electrics are up to scratch, with adequate fire protection. Altering gas pipes and cookers requires knowledge that only qualified tradesmen can have. Make sure to check for the Gas Safe and Part P certificates before you let heating engineers and electricians work on gas in your home.

Good luck!


Once you have your planning application approved, it’s time to find a reliable builder to do the job. At Rated People you’ll find over 50,000 local, skilled tradespeople across the whole of the UK. Post a job for free and get up to 3 quotes from builders near you. It’s quick, easy and reliable.

Phil Spencer’s renovation checklist

Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer doesn’t need much of an introduction, he’s TV’s most well-known property presenter, having co-presented Location, Location, Location and Relocation, Relocation for over 10 years. Phil'ls blog posts focus on adding value and advice/ tips for when you're buying or selling your house.

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    1. Hi Anne,

      That all depends on your agreement with your council, i.e. are you permitted to re-paint in a colour of your choice, can you change the handles of cupboards etc? I’ve shared some of our tips with you in three different posts below but definitely double-check before you make any changes!

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