Class Q Permitted Developments: Everything You Need to Know

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All over the country, savvy property developers have been taking advantage of Class Q permitted developments.

By re-using agricultural buildings for residential use, developers can create eye-catching properties in rural areas, without the costs of a new-build or having to apply for full planning permission. It’s ideal for barn conversions, bespoke construction projects, AirBnB business plans and much more.

The benefits of a Class Q permitted development can be substantial, but getting to grips with all the rules and regulations can be complex. We’re here to help, starting with this guide that sets out the key facts.

What are Class Q permitted developments?

Class Q permitted development was introduced by the UK Government in 2014. It allows most buildings used for agriculture on or before 20 March 2013 to be converted to residential use.

A number of basic rules apply. The building must not have a floorspace in excess of 450sq m; it cannot be converted into more than three individual dwellings; and the actual building itself cannot be extended.

However, certain exterior and interior changes, up to and including a certain level of demolition work, are permitted so that the building can be rendered suitable for living in.

Planning permission vs Class Q permitted developments.

In essence, Class Q permitted development allows buildings to be altered — or their use to be changed — within the scope of their existing planning permission. Whether permitted development scope is in place for a particular building or piece of land can be checked within the planning history and the property deeds.

It should be noted, however, that some types of permitted development still have to be considered and approved in advance by the planning authority.

What are the pros and cons of Class Q permitted developments?

The main benefit of Class Q permitted developments is that it allows you to sidestep the full planning permission process. Because they don’t have to go into full technical detail with their application plans, developers can potentially save substantial sums of money.

However, there are still a number of hoops to jump through. A developer must be able to demonstrate that the building was used for agriculture in March 2013 or beforehand, and must still provide information on environmental factors such as flooding, noise and contamination.

All this can negate any time savings compared to a full planning permission application.

Do I need a construction project manager for my Class Q permitted developments?

While it is possible to proceed with a Class Q permitted development without a construction project manager, doing so is fraught with hazard.

A good construction project manager will possess the experience and expertise to keep a budget and timeline under control, protect the investment being made, and be a central point of contact for architects, builders and quantity surveyors alike.

In summary

Class Q permitted developments are worth pursuing — with the right approach and the right construction project manager in place. At Buildsmith Solutions, we have years of experience to guide you through every step of the process, and make your rural home aspirations a seamless, cost-effective reality.

Thinking of converting your barn into a prosperous AirBnB? Find out how we can help on our Class Q permitted development page.