Can I DIY this? Your most common home renovation questions answered

The most frequently asked home renovation questions and answers revealed

house with exterior cladding in timber by clearview architects
(Image credit: Designscape Architects)

'Can I build...', or 'Do I need planning permission for...' – these are some of the most popular phrases typed by keen home renovators into Google. Do you need planning permission to build a porch? And can you do electrics in the property you're renovating yourself? We* have the answers. 

So, without further ado, do you need planning permission for building the porch? The quick – and very satisfying – answer is: no. It can't be in any larger than three by two metres, or taller than three metres. 

Similarly, a conservatory, shed, or loft conversion typically don't require planing permission, provided they meet certain regulations. Find out more in our beginner's guide to planning permission

One thing you will need planning for permission for and may not realise is a fence if it's over two metres tall – or over one metre if it's next to a vehicle highway. Be very careful with erecting a fence anywhere in the vicinity of listed building, even if your property isn't listed. 

The next most common question related to installing electrics yourself. 'Can I install electrics on my own'? The answer is no if it's anything to do with mains hard wiring: this will need to be tackled by a NICEIC registered professional. You may be able to do simpler jobs such as adding a wall socket, but you'll need to be a pretty confident DIYer. If you're replacing electrics in an old home, consult our guide first. 

Installing a wood burner? Again, best to get someone certified to do it; if you're not using a HETAS certified workman to do the installation, you'll need to apply for a Building Notice and keep your Certificate of Compliance (given after installation) in case you ever decide to move.

Finally, think about building insurance implications after renovating or extending. Chris King, home insurance expert at, explains: 

'If you’re making substantial changes to your property, think about the insurance implications. For example, if you’re adding a bedroom or extending the kitchen, you may need to amend your building insurance. If you have contractors on site, check they have adequate insurance that protects you if something goes wrong. It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance provider so they can advise you if any changes to your building or contents cover are required.'

*Expert advice source in collaboration with  Compare the Market.

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.