Frequently Asked Planning and Building Regulation Questions

Please click a question below to see further information and links to relevant websites;

I’m thinking about extending my home, what should I consider?
A well designed extension will maximise both your living space and the resale value of your home.  In addition to this it often makes economic sense, means that you can stay in the same neighbourhood and that your children can remain at the same school. The overwhelming advantages of extending and not moving is the issue of stamp duty on your new home, Estate Agent fees for selling your existing home and conveyancing fees.  Often by the time you have calculated all the fees for selling your home, you might well find you could build an extension for the same price. For more information contact IHD Architectural Services and see the following website. http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/2009/02/06/extensions-beginners-guide-part-one/ http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/2008/08/19/20-things-you-need-to-know-before-extending-your-home/
How much will my extension cost?
This all depends on the size of your intended extension, whether it is one or two storey, the type of roof required, if a kitchen, bathroom/en-suite is included and the standard of finish/fixtures and fittings.  To obtain an indication of cost please see the following website. http://www.whatprice.co.uk/costs/extension-costs.php
I’m thinking about converting my loft, what should I consider?
A loft conversion is one of the most straightforward ways of gaining extra space within your home.  Some loft conversions can be completed under Permitted Development Rights but this avenue needs to be fully checked with your Local Planning Authority.  There are a lot of things which need to be taken into consideration ie. Head height, roof pitch angle, type of roof structure eg cut or truss roof, position of stairs to new loft room and obstacles such as chimneys and water tanks. For more information contact IHD Architectural Services and see the following website. https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/2009/06/03/loft-conversion-beginners-guide/
How much will my loft conversion cost?
This all depends on the size of your loft, whether a dormer is required, if a bathroom/en-suite is included and the standard of finish/fixtures and fittings.  To obtain an indication of costs please see the following website. http://www.whatprice.co.uk/costs/loft-conversion-cost-calculator.php  
I’m thinking about converting my garage, what should I consider?
Converting a garage into usable living space can add value to a property and it is also the perfect way to make use of a space.  Most garage conversion can be completed under Permitted Development Rights but please be aware that some homes have had their Permitted Development Rights removed or restricted and a Householder Planning Permission Application will be required. For more information contact IHD Architectural Services and see the following website. http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/2012/08/14/convert-your-garage-to-a-living-space/
I’m thinking of taking an internal wall down in my home, what should I consider?
Knocking through internal walls to create larger living areas can be a great way of making the most of your existing space and create a feeling of light and space but careful considerations need to made.   Taking down or altering internal walls isn’t an activity that normally concerns your Local Planning Authority so planning permission will not normally be required. However, before making any sort of structural alteration a Building Regulations application to Building Control must be made. In most cases you will also need a Structural Engineer to undertake Structural Calculations to design a suitable beam or some other supporting structure so the remaining loads of your home are safely transmitted to the ground. For more information contact IHD Architectural Services and see the following website. http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/advice/existing-homes/renovating/knocking-through-internal-walls
Do I need to Pre-Application Planning advice?
If your intended proposal is large or in a sensitive are it is often a good idea to obtain planning advice from a planning officer before an application is submitted. This advice can assist you in the design of your extension and also the Local Planning Authority when assessing your application. http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/planning/applications/howtoapply/preappadvice
Do I need Planning Permission?
This all depends on the nature, size and location of your proposal.  Your proposal may fall within the criteria of Permitted Development Rights and you may be able to proceed without the need for a Householder Planning Permission application. We will be able to recommend the best type of application for your project or you could contact your Local Planning Authority for clarification.  As with all building work, the owner of the property (or land) in question is ultimately responsible for complying with the relevant planning rules. Full and up to date information can be found on http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission
How long does it take for a decision to be reached on my Planning Permission Application?
A decision is usually made 8 weeks from the validation date of your planning permission application.  
What are "Permitted Development Rights"?
Permitted Development Rights are a list of guidelines which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a Planning Permission application. Permitted Development Rights are subject to strict conditions and limitations and we always recommend that a Lawful Development Certificate is obtained from your Local Planning Authority prior to commencing work.  Full information can be found on http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/responsibilities/planningpermission/permitted  
What is a "Lawful Development Certificate"?
If your proposal falls within Permitted Development Rights we always recommend that a Lawful Development Certificate is obtained from your Local Planning Authority.  This Certificate is not compulsory but will confirm that your proposal complies with the relevant Permitted Development criteria and is a legally binding decision which protects all parties and legitimises the works undertaken.  It should also be noted that this Certificate is often requested by Solicitors when selling your home.  More information can be found on http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/responsibilities/planningpermission/ldc
How long does it take to obtain a Lawful Development Certificate?
A decision is usually made 8 weeks from the validation date of your application.  
Are there any time restrictions once I’ve obtained permission from Local Planning Authority?
Planning Permission is valid for 3 years from the decision date and construction must commence within this time.  However, once construction has started there is no time limit for the completion of the build.  With regards to a Lawful Development Certificate; once a Certificate has been issued, there is no time limit for the build to commence and provided there are no changes to the plans, the certificate remains valid for the development described in it.
I’ve got permission from my Local Planning Authority, what is the next stage?
Once permission (either Planning Permission or Lawful Development Certificate) has been granted Building Regulation Approval should be in place prior to the commencement of the build.
What are "Building Regulations"?
Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. Building Regulations apply to the erection of a building, the extension of a building, alterations of a building which includes such works as underpinning, internal structural alterations and any works which would adversely affect the means of escape in case of fire and the change of use of a building. Meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations is the responsibility of the person carrying out the building work and, if they are not the same person, the owner of the building. There are two types of Building Regulations applications; Full Plans and Building Notice. More details can be found on http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations
What is a "Full Plans Building Regulation Application"?
This type of application provides construction and drainage plans, section details, specification notes and where necessary Structural Calculations.  Local Authority Building Control will check these documents and consult any appropriate authorities (e.g. fire and sewerage).  Once the documents have been approved a “Full Plans Building Regulation Approval Notice” will be issued.     The advantages of a Full Plans Building Regulation Application are:-  
  • Construction Plans, Construction Notes, Sectional Plans and Structural Calculations are submitted to Local Authority Building Control showing how your proposal will be constructed.
  • The plans are then checked by Local Authority Building Control against the standards required by the Building Regulations and any amendments are identified at an early stage.  It is recommended that you do not start building work on site until this has been done.
  • A full set of Construction Plans, Section Details, Specification Notes and Structural Calculations along with the Full Plans Approval Notice is issued to you.
  • Local Authority Building Control will issue a list of the inspections required during the course of the works and once work has started, they will carry out various inspections at regular intervals during construction.
  • Your builder has the benefit of working in accordance with an approved plan and hopefully there will be no surprises.
  • This form of application gives a degree of reassurance to both the applicant and the builder as most details are agreed at an early stage.  However it is important to remember that during construction there are, on occasions, problems which may not be evident at the design stage.
  • The fee for the application is generally paid in two instalments and will be less than that of a Building Notice.  You will need to pay an initial fee when the application is submitted and the remainder for the inspections by the Building Control Surveyor will be invoiced directly to you by Local Authority Building Control when the work starts.
  • When Local Authority Building Control are satisfied that the work complies with the Building Regulations, as far as can be reasonably ascertained, a completion certificate will be issued.  This document is very important as it will provide evidence that the work has been undertaken to an acceptable standard.  It will help satisfy the requirements of financial institutions, mortgage companies and solicitors acting for future purchasers.
  The disadvantages are:-
  • It can take up 8 to 10 weeks depending on the complexity of your project, our current workload and that of our structural engineer for the Construction Plans, Construction Notes, Sectional Plans and Structural Calculations to be completed and approved by Local Authority Building Control.
https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200137/how_to_get_approval/78/pre-site_approval/2 
How long does it take to obtain Full Plans Building Regulation Approval?
It can take up 8 to 10 weeks depending on the complexity of your project, our current workload and that of our structural engineer for the Construction Plans, Construction Notes, Sectional Plans and Structural Calculations to be completed and approved by Local Authority Building Control.
What is a "Building Notice"?
This type of Building Regulation application is designed to enable some types of building work to commence quickly and is best suited to straight forward projects and by people experienced in construction.     Building Notice applications can only be used for householder developments and cannot be used for commercial work.  In addition the Building Notice procedure cannot be used for:-    
  • For building work which is subject to section 1 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971
  • Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997
  • For work which will be built close to or over the top of rain water and foul drains shown on the 'map of sewers'
  • Where a new building will front onto a private street
  Where a Building Notice can be used;   The advantages are:-
  • With this application you are only required to submit an application form, a block plan (if an extension is involved) and the appropriate fee.
  • Building work can commence 48 hours after the application has been submitted and paid in full.
  The disadvantages are:-
  • IHD Architectural Services do not get involved in this type of application – the Building Notice Application along with any additional services Local Authority Building Control may require ie. Structural Calculations or SAP Calculations will need to be arranged by you or your builder.
  • You will not receive the protection and reassurance that an Approved Plan would give you, and the whole process of making sure your work complies with the Building Regulations is carried out at the site inspection stage.  This has one major disadvantage, if a problem is found it will usually be after work has been carried out and therefore involve a degree of remedial work.  With the Building Notice application you are effectively taking the whole risk of making sure the work complies with the Building Regulations on your own shoulders.
  • You need to be very sure that you or your builders are familiar with all the relevant regulations and you will need to prove that the works comply when the Building Control Surveyor visits the site.
  • The existence of a plan can form the basis of a contractual agreement between you and your builder and hopefully avoid any fundamental disputes at a later date.
  • Local Authority Building Control fees for a Building Notice are generally more expensive than Full Plans applications.  The total fee for the work also has to be paid when the application is submitted and is non-refundable.
  • The Building Notice cannot be used if the work relates to a building covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (generally commercial or industrial) or if the work relates to a building constructed on or adjacent to a sewer.
  • There can be a high risk factor with this type of application and it would be perhaps more suitable for simpler projects.
  • A Building Notice is only valid for three years from the date the notice was given to the Local Authority Building Control, after which it will automatically lapse if the building work has not commenced.
  For more details please see https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200137/how_to_get_approval/78/pre-site_approval/3  
What is a “Completion Certificate”?
Any project that has a Building Regulation application in place will receive a Completion Certificate as proof that when the work was completed, it met Building Regulations. A Completion Certificate is an important document as it will be required when you sell your home.  Without this document you cannot prove that the work met with Building Regulations and this may deter prospective purchasers and have a significant impact on the value of your home. It can also help to satisfy the requirements of financial institutions, mortgage companies and solicitors acting for future purchasers.
What is a "Party Wall Agreement"?
The Party Wall Act came into force on 1st July 1997 and covers work that is going to be carried out to an existing party wall, new buildings at or on the boundary as well as excavations within three and six meters of a neighbouring building depending on depth.  It is the home owner’s responsibility to inform all adjoining neighbours and you should not start any type of work until all adjoining neighbours have been informed.  If you fail to serve notice the act cannot be enforced and your neighbours may seek an injunction to stop work along with other legal redress.  The Party Wall Agreement between you and your neighbours is also helpful as it provides a means of resolution if a dispute occurs during construction phase.   We are able to assist with the Party Wall Agreement if required, please ask for more details.   For further information please see the following guidance: https://www.gov.uk/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance  
When should I approach builders for a quote?
It is a good idea to start speaking with builders early to get an idea of how they work and the timescales involved. Most builders will be able to provide a budget estimate on the plans submitted for planning permission or Lawful Development Certificate but these estimates will need to be finalised once Building Regulations are in place.
Can I build over or near to a public sewer?
A minimum distance of 3 metres (for apparatus over 225mm in diameter and up to 3 metres deep) should be maintained between any building and the public sewer.  For apparatus less than 225mm in diameter and less than three metres deep a 500mm distance should be maintained between the foundations and the sewer.  It is advisable to check with Southern Water if your project is near/over any drains to clarify if a Build Over Agreement or any other consents are required. For further information please contact Southern Water: Telephone 0330 303 0119 E-mail: developerservices@southernwater.co.uk Website https://www.southernwater.co.uk/build-over-public-sewer  
What is a "Build Over Agreement"?
A Build Over Agreement is an agreement from your local water authority allowing you to build over or near to a public sewer.  Please be aware that an application to your local water authority needs to be made at least 28 days before any building work is due to commence.  If the Build over/near Public Sewer Agreement is not in place all building work will need to cease until such time as the agreement is finalised.     We are able to assist with the application for a Build Over/Near Public Sewer Agreement with the local water authority, please ask for more details.   http://www.southernwater.co.uk/property-and-developers/developers-and-housebuilders/sewer-connections/build-over-public-sewer/
Do I need to consider Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015)?
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects.  As a homeowner there may be obligations you need to meet prior to commencing the build.   For further information please see the following: Website http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg411.pdf
What is a "Commencement Notice"?
A Commencement Notice is issued by Building Control when an application is submitted to them and needs to be completed and returned to Building Control at least 48 hours before any building work start.  This notice notifys Building Control of the commencement of the project and enables the build to be inspected at the appropriate intervals by the Building Control Surveyor. IMPORTANT NOTE: This notice is not notification of approval of plans under a Full Plans Building Regulation application.
What is a "Full Plans Approval Notice"?
A Full Plans Building Regulation Approval Notice is the notice issued by Building Control confirming approval of Plans, Specification Notes and Structural Calculations.
When can I commence construction?
A building regulation application (either Full Plans or Building Notice) must be in place prior to commencement of the build.  We strongly recommend that if a Full Plans Building Regulation application is used that approval of the plans, specification notes and structural calculations is in place prior to commencing the build as slight amendments to the pre-approval documents can take place during Building Control approval process.
What are planning conditions?
All planning permissions are issued subject to conditions.  Some are standard conditions such as a time limit for commencement of the development and the development is carried out in accordance to the approved plans.  Others are application specific such as protection of trees on site, materials to be approved or removal of permitted development rights.  It is important to note that some conditions need to discharged by Local Planning Authority either prior to commencement of the build or before occupation.
I would like to make changes to the plans but planning permission has already been granted, what should I do?
Planning permissions are issued with a condition that the proposal is built in accordance with the approved plans.  Very minor amendments to the plans can be made via a non-material amendment application but unfortunately, anything else would need to be dealt with by the submission of a new planning application.  For example Local Planning Authority could not accept amendments if:
  • The application site area differs from the original application
  • The application description differs from the original application
  • There were any relevant objections to the original proposal which would be compromised by the proposed minor amendment
  • If an amendment increases the size of any part of the development
  • If the amendment locates any part of the development closer to a neighbour
  • If the amendment changes windows or doors in any elevation facing a neighbour which increases overlooking in any way
  • The development moves more than 1 metre in any direction
  • Would result in a greater visual intrusion, loss of light or feeling of enclosure to neighbours
  • The proposal would result in changes to the external details that would materially alter the appearance of the building

Please Contact us if you have any more questions….

Telephone: 023 8178 0950
Email: info@ihd-architecturalservices.com
Address: IHD Architectural Services Ltd23 Shamrock Way

Hythe Marina

Southampton

SO45 6DY