The UK planning system exists to retain our heritage while allowing for the improvement of our towns, cities and countryside. Parliament controls national planning policy, but your local authority is responsible for deciding whether or not a development should go ahead.
If you wish to carry out certain building work you will need to seek permission from the planning department of your local authority. It is your responsibility to seek planning permission and, if required, approval should be granted before work begins.
How long will it take to get planning permission?
A typical planning application for an extension or a loft conversion should take 8 weeks. This is the time limit set out by central government that local authorities have to stick to, although this rises to 13 weeks for complex applications.
Planning permission is not normally required. However, permission is required where you extend or alter the roof space and it exceeds specified limits and conditions.A loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to certain conditions.
The Building Regulations are extensive and approval is required for most building work in the UK. The Building Regulations are grouped in to categories A (structure) to P (electrical) and exist to ensure the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people in and around buildings, as well as the water and energy efficiency of buildings. The main function of Building Control is to ensure compliance with Building Regulations.
When do I need Building Regulations approval?
Building work as defined in the Building Regulations will normally need approval from a Building Control Body. Examples of the type of works that need approval from a Building Control Body:
- • Extensions
- • Loft conversions
- • Garage conversions
- • Underpinning
- • Cavity wall insulation
For work involving the installation of certain types of services and fittings, tradesmen who are registered with a Competent Person Scheme are able to self-certify their work. This means that you won’t need to separately notify a Building Control Body.
Each year, thousands of people look to add living space and re-sale value by improving and extending their homes. Many seek planning permission from their local authority not knowing that an often lengthy planning process could be bypassed altogether through permitted development rights.
Permitted Development (PD) rights allow you to extend up to a given percentage in volume of an existing house and carry out certain improvements without the need for planning permission. PD rules apply separately to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The criteria for work carried out under PD is strict, so it is advisable to check with your local authority planning office or have a qualified surveyor confirm that planning permission is not required. So, what types of work can you carry out under Permitted Development?You can build an extension
You can convert your loft
You can build a porch
You can build a shed or greenhouse
You can add windows and doors
Your Permitted Development rights
Permitted Development rights only apply to private houses. Flats are excluded, as are listed buildings. Properties in specially designated areas such as Conservation Areas or green belt are also subject to further restrictions.
You can use PD rights as often as you like but you’re allowances for extension work can be used only once. If you are buying a property, it is your responsibility to find out what PD rights have been used, modified or withdrawn