Planning Explained

All major construction projects require planning permission. However recent changes to the planning laws have allowed certain less intrusive works to dwellings to not require permission and are classed as Permitted Development for Householders. With the government’s Planning Portal, you can use interactive houses and read guidance notes. There is also a short term relaxation of these rules, the Neighbour Consultation Scheme, which enables larger single storey extensions to be permitted without permission under certain circumstance. Planning Application fees do vary for differing projects, please check with your Local Authority Planning Department for the appropriate amount. Planning can be an opaque and frustrating process. We try to assess the likelihood of success and advise accordingly.

Building Regulations Explained

Practically all constructions that can be deemed habitable require Building Regulations and other works apply too. Click on planning link above for more information. These regulations are a rather complex and comprehensive set of rules that have to be followed by law. The construction is inspected by a Building Control Officer at different stages of the building process and will be only passed if the works have been completed to the required standard. Two types of applications are generally available, Full Plans or Building Notice. With Full Plans drawings, construction notes and other appropriate documents are submitted as an application to Building Control and approved before the construction starts. There is then a set procedure to follow, with any variations approved to be within the Building Regulations. The drawings are more detailed than one required for planning and at a level of specification so you can give to builders for them to compile a competitive price. With Building Notice, a construction will be allowed to start once the Local Authority has been informed and the application fee paid. The Building Control will still inspect as required, but will negotiate with your builder the method and standard as the project progresses. This can result in expensive delays and extra costs. We therefore recommend that a Full Plans Application is submitted. Your builder will usually deal with the inspector. Under certain conditions a Building Notice application may be deemed more appropriate.  Local Authority fees are identical for Full Plans or Building Notice and vary according to the type of work. As with planning, please check to see which charge is appropriate.