The laws surrounding building regulations can get pretty complicated. There is a lot of confusion surrounding Permitted Development Rights and needing Planning Permission, and then Building Regulations Approval. We have created the following guidelines to try and make things a little less confusing.
What is a Planning Permission?
Planning Permission is an act from the local authority that refers to the approval needed for construction, expansion or demolition.
Planning permission is usually needed if you are building a new property, making big changes to the exterior of your existing property or, according to Article 4, you live in a conservation area. You can always check with your local authority if your property is affected by Article 4 if you are not sure.
Costs of Planning Permission
The cost of submitting a Planning Permission varies across the UK, but in England it’s currently £462 for a full application on a single dwelling. For home improvers an application in England for an extension is currently £206.
Take a look for more information.
Do I need planning drawings for a planning permission?
Simple answer: YES!
Can I submit my own drawings?
With modern CAD packages that are available for home computers it is not that difficult to produce your own planning drawings. Providing care is taken to produce the required scale drawings for a simple extension. Alternatively, you can hire an architect to do it for you. The advantage being they have lots of experience and knowledge about the local authority so the permission is less likely to be denied. Utilising the experience of an architect will ensure that your build is not only functional but will also enhance the value of your property if you are extending.
How long will Planning Permission take?
Most planning applications are decided within 8 weeks, unless they are unusually large or complex, in these cases the timeframe is extended to 13 weeks. Your local authority will be able to be more specific with timings.
Permitted development is a national grant of planning permission which allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to get planning permission. PD rights are subject to limitations in order to control impact and protect local amenity. However, PD rights do not apply to flats, maisonettes and properties affected by Article 4.
The good news is permitted development rights have recently been relaxed, allowing you to build an extension without planning permission of up to 6 metres . If your house is detached you can build up to an 8 metre extension.
Do I Need to Apply for PD?
No but we advise that you apply for a lawful development certificate to make sure your building work is lawful. This is especially important if you plan to sell your home in the future.
What is a Lawful Development Certificate?
A lawful development certificate is a proof granted from your local authority that your building work is lawful. You can apply to your local council for an LDC and you will have to pay a fee.
A lawful development certificate is also used for buildings that don’t meet the standard planning requirements. Read more about this in the 4 year rule section.
What if I don’t have an LDC?
For peace of mind, you will want to have this certificate. Even if you are sure that your building work falls under permitted development. Rules are always changing and you will want to have proof in the future that, at the time of building, your project was lawful.
What is the ‘4 Year Rule’ and can it help me?
The 4 year rule allows you to apply for a certificate of lawfulness in the absence of original planning permission. Legislation states that where the change of use of a building criteria was breached, then the building became a dwelling, the 4 year rule applies. However it is important to note that this only applies to a change of use from non-residential use, like agriculture.
For example, you buy a property that is now a dwelling but was previously non-residential, only to discover that original planning for this change of use was not put in place. You can apply for a certificate of lawfulness under the 4 year rule to make the changes lawful – provided the property has been in continuous use as a dwelling for at least 4 years. We advise that when purchasing any property you should always check that any changes to the original building have approval from the local council and the correct planning permissions.
This applies to building, engineering or other works which have taken place without the benefit of initial planning permission. Therefore you may have a building but no lawful use for it and of course the change of use has not been previously challenged.
What is a 10 years rule?
The 10 year rule gives you a right to legalise your building within 10 years from finished building.
The 10 year rule applies to a change of use to land and buildings which must have existed in excess of 10 years before it can be protected from enforcement action. However if you decided to undertake a building operation – like a house or a permanent structure – then this could be tested under the 4 year rule.
No matter if your building work is permitted development or you need to apply for planning permission, it is imperative that all building regulations are satisfied.
Building regulations are a set of strict rules that ensure your new building or extension is safe and structurally sound. Have a look at this website for more information regarding building regulations.
Read more about building regulations on the government website.
What is Indemnity insurance?
Indemnity insurance is especially important if you are buying a house without all FENSA certificates.
In this case, it is a good idea to buy indemnity insurance that can cover all your possible problems. It is not always needed although solicitors will recommend it in 99% of cases.
The indemnity insurance is attached to a property not to the owner, so when you sell you’ll sell your indemnity insurance with the property.
The costs of indemnity insurance is not always the same, it depends on the project. Shop around and get the best deal.