Do You Need Planning Permission to Install Decking?

Making changes to your property can often cause concern, especially when you’re not sure what needs planning permission and what doesn’t. While some modifications are permitted developments that don’t need official permission, what category does decking fall under?

As leading providers of timber and bamboo non-slip decking, the team at Gripsure are here to help you navigate the regulations, understand the application of planning permission relative to your decking, and offer some insight on how to obtain retrospective planning permission.

Find out more about our decking by getting in touch!

Do You Need Planning Permission for Decking?

In many cases decking falls under permitted development, meaning you wouldn’t need to get planning permission to install it. However, depending on the specification of your decking, you this might change. The biggest factors involved here are the height and size of your decking.

In general, a common residential decking probably won’t need planning permission. It’s a perfect choice for:

  • Outdoor parties
  • Barbeques
  • Lounging
  • Dining
  • Using as a decorative feature

Decking is a popular feature for homeowners everywhere. If they planning permission was needed every time someone wanted to install one, the local authorities would probably do nothing except managing applications, so some allowances are typically made.

Where you live is also a factor – permitted development allowances change between houses and flats or maisonettes, so you’ll need to pay attention to what the specific regulations are before you think about installing any decking.

If you find that you need planning permission, you’ll want to get in touch with your local authority to get it sorted. This might be worth doing anyway, since sometimes buildings can have their permitted development rights removed, meaning the normal regulations wouldn’t apply in the same way.

Planning permission is just one part of building regulations around decking – find out more >

How Big can a Deck Be Without Planning Permission?

You’re unlikely to need planning permission for your decking unless it is raised up to 30cm above the ground or if it covers more than 50% of your garden in combination with extensions and outbuildings. That latter measurement is a bit vague, and may change depending on the size of your garden and the subsequent magnitude of the decking you install.

Another factor is the facing – if you want to add decking to your front garden, you’re more likely to require planning permission as it will impact the image of your street and therefore have an effect on other residents.

To determine the height of the decking, measure from the lowest point on the ground to the highest point of the decking. This includes any height added by a slope, which is worth bearing in mind when you’re planning your installation.

Plan your next installation right with a decking quote from us.

What is Retrospective Planning Permission?

While looking for information about planning permission for your decking, you may have come across the term “retrospective planning permission”. This refers to planning permission being granted after modifications are in the construction phase or have already been completed.

Retrospective planning permission is often sought in times when permitted development allowance was assumed incorrectly due to various circumstances, or when local authorities request a planning permission application for property modifications after they’ve begun.

Having to apply for retrospective planning permission doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t comply with normal planning consent – in many cases, factors that occur down the line can impact the level of permission required to install decking and make changes to your property.

Does it have a time limit?

If requested to apply for retrospective planning permission, you’ll want to do it as quickly as possible so that your local authority doesn’t think you’re not complying.

However, if a feature hasn’t been requested to apply for planning permission, then there isn’t any real time limit at all. In fact, the colloquially termed “4-year rule” means that after a feature has been in place for at least four years, it may not need planning permission even if it otherwise would. This isn’t a sure thing, but the logic behind it is that if something hasn’t caused a problem for an extended period of time then there isn’t any real reason not to leave it be.

Can it be refused?

While requests for retrospective planning permission are often accepted, especially in the case of something as innocuous as decking, they can still be rejected. This might occur for a myriad of reasons, such as if the feature is not in-keeping with the visuals of the neighbourhood.

In the event that your retrospective planning permission application is rejected, you will either need to revert the changes to your property or submit an appeal.

However, the chances of needing to submit a planning permission application for your decking are slim, and the chances of it being rejected even more so. Decking is a great addition to any garden, helping you provide a sturdy space to engage in outdoor activities and spend time with your family and friends.

If you’ve already got decking, you might be interested making it non-slip – find out how >

Fit Your Space with Decking from Gripsure

Whether or not your decking needs planning permission, you’ll want something that looks great and goes the distance. With decking from Gripsure you get a beautiful product with a sleek finish, alongside added grip from our non-slip technology that keeps you safe in your new outdoor space.

To get started, check out our collection of decking options or get in touch. Otherwise, feel free to read on with some related articles below!

Keep safe and compliant with our guide to fire-rated decking and cladding materials >

Further your knowledge in our article on what makes decking slippery and how to avoid it >

How to ensure Accessibility with Non-slip Decking

Accessibility is an important consideration for any architectural project or build and can determine how useful decking is by making the design more inclusive. Accessibility is particularly important for public and commercial uses of decking such as walkways or ramps because they are used frequently by a wide variety of people.

Improving accessibility is important for the elderly, physically or visually disabled people and anyone with mobility issues. In this blog post we’ll discuss why accessibility and inclusivity is important for these groups of people and how you can ensure that your next outdoor project or architectural design can be enjoyed by, and benefit everyone.

What is Accessibility for Decking and Outdoor Structures?

According to the Office for National Statistics; in 2021, 17.7% of the total population in the UK were considered disabled or had a long-term health problem that limited their day-to-day activities. Although this percentage has decreased since the 2011 census, there are around 9.8 million physically disabled people in the UK.

This calls for a more effective approach to increasing accessibility in outdoor spaces such as paths, bridges, walkways and decks. According to a government report on building for equality; the British Standards Institution is developing new standards to help provide more comprehensive guidance on “increasing accessibility in the external environment and buildings”.

The same report identifies that the latest version of BS8300 (Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people) would be the most up-to-date guidance and does not cover all considerations for accessibility; especially for outdoor structures.

Accessible outdoor spaces and accessible decking structures take into account that some people have mobility issues and consider the needs of wheelchair users so that everyone can make use of the decking structure with peace of mind that it’s safe and useful for its intended purpose.

The UK-based charity Paths for All has published extensive guidance on outdoor accessibility for boardwalks, ramps and decks which is extremely useful for architects, builders and designers looking to improve the accessibility of a project.

We have summarised parts of this guidance to help give you an idea of what is required to make boardwalks, ramps, decks and other outdoor structures more accessible

Boardwalks, Walkways and Bridges

In addition to the specific design recommendations that we’ve outlined below, Paths for All emphasise the importance of proper maintenance of boardwalks, walkways and bridges to reduce the likelihood of accessibility issues. Regular checks and proper maintenance work are therefore necessary, especially for bridges.

Design Guidance:

  • The width of boardwalks, walkways and bridges should consider the width and condition of connecting paths, the amount of traffic on the decking boards and whether or not it will be one-way system.
  • A minimum width of 2000mm between handrails or edging boards
  • For areas with lower traffic, a width of 1200mm and space for ‘passing’ every 100m (depending on visibility).
  • The threshold between the boardwalk, walkway or bridge should avoid a level change of 5mm high
  • Decking ramps should be used as opposed to decking steps
  • To allow drainage, there should be a gap that is not greater than 12mm between each non-slip decking board
  • Edge boards should be at least 75mm high or the railing should be at least 75mm above the decking boards.
  • Handrails and rest points should be used where possible
  • Chicken wire should not be used to improve the grip of decking boards as it increases the chances of tyre punctures or injuries to pets. Instead, non-slip decking or anti-slip decking inserts should be used.

Ramps, Gradients and Raised Decks

As mentioned above, ramps are recommended over decking steps and provide far greater accessibility, although accessible steps are also possible.

Design Guidance:

  • A gradient steeper than 1:20 (5%) is classified as a ramp
  • A ramp should not have a gradient more than 1:12 (8%)
  • There should not be significant changes in gradient, and it should be as gradual as possible
  • An anti-slip surface is essential for safety, especially in wet conditions
  • Ramps should not be longer than 10m and need a level platform if they are more than 500mm off the ground.

For additional guidance on ramps and specific guidance on raised timber decks, please refer to the code of practise for raised timber decks from the Timber Decking and Cladding Association. This information is based on a variety of standards and regulations, so it is comprehensive and covers everything from joist spacing and beam size to safety parapets and balustrade systems.

How Non-slip decking can be used to improve Accessibility

Effective non-slip decking solutions are essential for making an outdoor structure like a bridge, boardwalk or ramp more accessible. There are other ways to increase the slip resistance of surfaces like anti-slip timber coatings, and of course the dreaded chicken wire technique. However, as we mentioned earlier, these approaches are not reliable, long-term solutions that can ensure accessibility without regular maintenance.

By using purpose-built, non-slip decking or anti-slip decking inserts, you can ensure that the slip resistance of each surface is sufficient enough to support even high-traffic outdoor spaces. This doesn’t mean the non-slip decking boards won’t need to be maintained at all.

It is important to make sure that the decking boards remain structurally sound, the surface is clean and regular checks for trip hazards are carried out to guarantee that the structure is accessible.

Why you should use Grispure Non-slip Decking to ensure Accessibility

With a unique 15-year guarantee that our boards won’t fall under a PTV (slip resistance rating) of 55, you can trust our non-slip decking boards to serve as an effective solution for your outdoor project and ensure that it is accessible by everyone.

Our wide range of softwood non-slip decking, bamboo non-slip decking, hardwood non-slip decking and modified timber decking ensures that you will be able to find the best choice of decking boards for your project.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you find the right decking boards that will enhance the accessibility of your raised deck, boardwalk, walkway or ramp.