Building Regulations and Approvals You Will Need
The Local Authority Planning and Building Control Office will be able to tell you whether your planned project needs planning permission. If permission is granted subject to conditions, make sure they are accounted for in the project’s planning, implementation, timing and costs before you start. All projects need a Local Authority Completion Certificate. You will need to keep this is a safe place as you will not be able to sell your house without it.
If you live in an area of outstanding natural beauty or a National Park, you will need permission if you wish to clad your property in stone, timber, tiles or possible even pebble-dash.
If yours is a listed property then you may need listed building consent in addition to any other consents required. Even if you do not extend or demolish the exterior but carry out alterations, listed building consent is still usually required. If you need to alter any trees, then check with your local council that they are not subject to tree preservation orders.
How to work with your local Planning Office on Building Regulations
Planning offices have a bad press, but, work well with yours and you should find the planning process straightforward. Planning offices do not always work quickly, so have patience. Most councils have planning and regulation booklets available upon request that will help you through the process.
While the planning office is not there to stand between you and your project it is there to safeguard the wider community as well.
Generally speaking, you do not need planning permission for sheds, summer houses, swimming pools, if they are less than 3 metres high and for private use, provided they are no nearer to the road than the existing property. Porches should not need planning permission, provided they are no greater than 3 cubic metres and do not exceed the height of the original house.
It’s always wise to err on the side of caution and check whether your planned project requires planning permission before you embark upon it. It costs nothing and may delay you for a few weeks. However, if you fail to make the proper checks and it turns out you need consent you may be ordered to tear down the entire structure you’ve just paid a fortune to erect. You have been warned!
These days every local authority has a web site were you can get details of your local planning office and the whole process has become more user-friendly.
Building Regulations for Structural Changes
If you are planning work that alters the structure of your property you may need building regulations approval. Building regulations have less to do with aesthetics and keeping a community happy that making sure the structure is sound and uses approved building materials and methods.
Your first port of call should be the government web site www.direct.gov.uk. Under the”planning” section of the site, it details when you might need building regulations approval and how you should go about getting this.
In short, approval is needed long before you start the project. You need to approach your local authority building control service in the first instance. They will tell you how to apply. The application will need accompanying drawings detailing everything, including electrics, gas, water, sewage etc. Only then will regulators know whether your proposed structure complies with all the latest requirements.
The good news is that you can gain approval for Building Regulations long before you start work as that approval notice remains valid for three years.