Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Planning & Building Regulations

Are you planning your dream home?  Perhaps you want carry out alterations or extend your existing house?

Before you start digging foundations or laying the bricks there are two distinctly different but often confused and misunderstood stages that regulate what you can build and how it should be built.  The majority of proposed building works two separate applications are necessary because you may require both Planning and Building Regulations consent.

The Planning stage is concerned with the external appearance of the building, how it relates to the environment or may affect the neighbouring properties.

There are a number of planning concerns which may affect whether you can build, such as:

The size of the plot, layout and siting. Appearance, landscaping, and impact on the environment.  Neighbours have a right to privacy and light.  Space for parking, means of access, will road users be affected?  Work to a listed building or conservation area raises other concerns.

The planning website: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/ has an interactive house that shows what can be built without planning approval under permitted development, but it may be beneficial to apply for a certificate of lawfulness to avoid delays in the conveyance process brought by the solicitor’s searches when you decide to sell.

The Building Regulations ensures that buildings are constructed properly and in accordance with current standards & regulations. This is done by inspecting the construction work as it progresses on site.

The Building Regulations comprise of a number of booklets known as the Approved Documents, they can be downloaded free from the planning website: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/.  They cover all aspects of the construction from the Part A – structure, foundations, etc through to Part P for the electrical installation; including fire safety, drainage, heating and energy/heat loss.

The majority of building works requires building regulation approval with only minor works and small structures being exempt.

There are two methods to obtain Building regulations approval –

Full Plan Check:  Before starting work on site you submit a copy of plans showing full construction details of the proposed scheme. Once approved site inspections will be made when work proceeds.  With the Full Plans approach you have the assurance that providing the work is carried out in accordance with the approved plans the regulations will be satisfied.

Building Notice:  Is suited to simple domestic schemes such as internal alterations and small extensions. The Building Control Officer will try to anticipate potential problems but it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the work to ensure that the requirements of the regulations are satisfied.

Having a set of full plans approved, means you can get competitive quotes from builders to carry out the work you want, rather than an interpretation of what you want. The ultimate success of your project depends upon your ability to describe clearly the requirements and functions of your building. It is easier to make a change to a drawing, than altering work you don’t like on site.

Seek professional architectural advice to describe your intentions and requirements, for a full service addressing design and function of the building and ensure compliance with the law relating to construction work at every stage of the project.

Whether you are a homeowner considering an extension, refurbishment or conversion, a builder needing an architectural drawing for planning consent or property developer requiring a single managed service from conception to completion, get in touch today for a free of charge, no obligation consultation.

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