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Project Information

Planning permission

Do I need Planning permission?
This depends on what type of development you are looking to carry out. Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without the need for planning permission. This is known as permitted development (please note, your development may still require Building Control approval).

The following points need to be taken into consideration when thinking about a project:

  • The type of house you live in. For example, the regulations will vary depending on whether the house is detached or attached.
  • If the property has been the subject of any previous alteration and extension work.
  • If the Local Authority has removed Permitted Development Rights to your property meaning that certain works that would otherwise have been permitted no longer are.
  • If the property is listed or occupies designated land. Designated land includes national parks and The Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.
  • Relation of the proposal to the highway. Normally, if your proposal extends toward the highway, it is likely that the proposal will need permission.
  • If you live in a flat. Flats do not have Permitted Development Rights and therefore any extensions would require planning permission.

Retrospective Planning permission
A planning breach usually occurs when: A development that requires planning permission is undertaken without the permission being granted – either because the planning application was refused or was never applied for.

In circumstances where the local planning authority consider that an application is the appropriate way forward to regularise the situation, the owner or occupier of the land should be invited to submit their application (Section 73A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) without delay.

The failure to obtain planning permission or comply with the details of a permission is commonly known as a ‘planning breach’

A planning breach usually occurs when:

  • A development that requires planning permission is undertaken without the permission being granted – either because the planning application was refused or was never applied for
  • A development that has been given permission subject to conditions breaks one or more of those conditions.

A planning breach in itself is not illegal and the council will often permit a retrospective application where planning permission has not been sought.

However, if the breach involves a previously rejected development (or the retrospective application fails) the council can issue an enforcement notice requiring you to put things back as they were. Your local planning authority can serve an enforcement notice on you when they consider you have broken planning control rules. Normally this will be because they consider what you are doing, or have done, is harmful to your neighbourhood.

The decisive issue for the local planning authority should be whether the breach would unacceptably affect public amenity or the existing use of land and buildings meriting protection in the public interest.

It is illegal to disobey a enforcement notice unless it is successfully appealed against. You can appeal against both refusals of permission and enforcement notices but if the verdict comes out against you and you still refuse to comply you may be prosecuted.

Permitted Development

You can perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights”.

They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Similarly, commercial properties have different permitted development rights to dwellings.

In some areas of the country, known generally as ‘designated areas’, permitted development rights are more restricted. For example, if you live in:

  • A Conservation Area
  • A National Park
  • An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • A World Heritage Site or

You will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas. There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building

Building Control

Is Building Regulation Approval the same as planning permission?
Building Regulation approval is a separate matter from obtaining planning permission for the work you may wish to carry out. In certain cases, you may not require planning permission but will require meeting building regulations.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?
It is of paramount importance to check at a very early stage to establish if the project you intend carrying out requires the benefit of building regulation approval. What you must remember is that certain works that may not require planning approval but may still require building regulation approval.

If you are intending to carry out “Building Work” as defined in Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations, then it must comply with the Building Regulations. If that is the case, you will then need to seek approval from a building control body (who doesn’t necessarily have to be the local authority).

Who and what is a Building Control Body?
You are required to use one of two types of Building Control Service:

  • Local Authority Building Control
  • An Approved private building control Inspectors.

Approved Inspectors are private sector companies or practitioners and are approved for the purpose of carrying out the Building Control Service as an alternative to your local authority. Approved Inspectors can provide a service in connection with most sorts of building project involving new buildings or work to existing buildings, including extensions or alterations to homes. They should all be registered with the Construction Industry Council.

If you are employing a builder to do your work you should be clear from the outset whether they are taking responsibility for ensuring that the building work complies with the Building Regulations, and also whether they are taking responsibility for liaising with the Building Control Service you have decided to use. In the case of some minor works, the contractor (if approved to do so) may be able to self-certify the work, meaning you will not need to seek approval directly – the contractor will notify the Building Control Body of their work and that it has been done in accordance with the Building Regulations.

What Projects amount to Building Work?
Within the meaning of Regulation 3, the following projects must comply with the Building Regulations

  • If you intend to erect or indeed extend a building. As we set out above, in certain circumstances, planning permission may not be required.
  • An alteration project involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings. For example, if you are intending to change the means of access to your home, you will require building regulation approval.
  • When installing replacement windows using a builder or window company not registered with the relevant Competent Person Schemes. For example, a company affiliated to FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) will mean you do not need to seek approval from a building control body.
  • The installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations.
  • The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall.
  • The underpinning of the foundations of a building.
  • When you want to change the building’s fundamental use.

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