Having made a decision to extend your property, the first step to a satisfactory development is to prepare the proper foundations, not the concrete in the ground, but the paperwork.
For most projects you will need to obtain Planning Permission and Building Regulation Consent, and these are two entirely different permissions, issued by different entities. Planning Permission comes from the Local Authority and Building Regulations Consent can be obtained from the Local Authority or an Approved Inspector. I generally use the same Approved Inspector for all my projects. That way I can be content and confident that any Building Regulation advice I give prior to approval will not be changed during the construction process, and we won't suffer the problems caused by the variations of interpretation that can be found between Local Authorities.
Town Planning Approval
This is the more difficult of the two permissions to achieve, as it is influenced by subjective views, and also takes into account local planning policy requirements which differ between Local Authorities. The process usually takes between eight and ten weeks. This can be complicated further if the property is in a conservation area or listed.
Building Regulation Consent
Providing the structural design is correct and the design complies with the appropriate Building Regulations and British Standards, approval will be granted by the Approved Inspector within three weeks, a significantly quicker process than most Local Authorities.
Party Walls etc Act 1996
If the proposal involves excavations within 3 or 6M of a boundary or adjacent property dependent on their depth, or includes works to a Party Wall the requirements of this act will apply. (For more information see the section regarding Party Walls on this web site)
- From a Town Planning point of view, subject to the extensions & loft conversions meeting specific criteria, relating to height and distance from boundaries, and in the case of loft conversions, volume, they normally have the benefit of falling within the Permitted Development allowance, these rules are too complex to detail here, but can be discussed on site.
- There are also the recent changes the Government has introduced to stimulate the construction industry which further increase the size of extension that can be built, which I can also advise you about. However these changes have more spin than substance, so are not quite the good news they were first thought to be.
- Even if your proposal does fall within PD limits, I advocate the application for a Certificate of Lawful Development, which give the necessary peace of mind that Permission was not required and provides the necessary paper trail when you come to sell and move on.