July 6, 2009

What do you need Planning Permission & Building Regulations Approval for?

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Many jobs around the house do not need go-ahead from your local Planning & Building Authority. However, it is always best to seek guidance from the appropriate authority, as regulations often change over time. If you are uncertain, always check before starting work.

1) Decoration or Repairs (Inside or Out)

Planning & Building Regs Approval won’t be necessary unless it is a listed building. Exterior repairs may require permission if your property has been converted into flats. If you renting or are a lease holder, confirm with your landlord or free holder.

2) Replacing Windows & Doors

Planning Permission may be compulsory if the building is listed, or in a conservation area. Apart from in this situation, Planning Permission should not be required, unless they project beyond the foremost wall of the house facing a highway. Your Building Control Officer should be consulted prior to replacing windows & doors (interior or exterior).

3) Electrical Work

Doesn’t require Planning Permission but must comply with IEE regulations which can be discussed with your Building Control Officer.

4) Plumbing

Doesn’t require Planning Permission or Building Regulations’ Approval if it is just a simple replacement. However, if an installation alters the existing drainage system, you must confer with the Technical Services Department of your Building Regulations Office. Building Regulation Approval will be required for an unvented hot water system.

You don’t need permission to do central heating alterations.

5) Tanks for Oil Storage

No Building Regulations approval is required. You won’t need planning permission either if the tank is in the garden, unless the capacity is more than 3,500 litres (778 gallons), it is higher than 3 metres (9’9”) at any point, or it is closer than less than 20 metres from a highway and a part of it projects beyond the foremost wall facing the highway.

6) Structural Alterations Inside

If the house’s use is unchanged, then no (unless the building is listed).

7) Loft Conversion

Building Regulations’ Approval will almost certainly be required. Planning permission wouldn’t be required if the volume of the house remains unchanged & the roof is not raised. However you will need Planning Permission for dormer windows on the front, and in some cases for dormer windows on the front or sides of the loft. If your home is listed or in a conservation area, you will need to consult with your Planning Authority first.

8.) Garden Fences & Walls

Building Regulations will not be necessary nor will Planning Permission, unless it is more than 1m (3’ 3”) high and is a boundary enclosure adjoining a highway, 2m (6’ 6”) high elsewhere or your house is a listed building.

9) Planting a Hedge

No action needed unless it obscures the view of traffic at a junction, or access to a main road.

10) Laying a Path or Driveway

No action needed unless it provides access to a main road.

11) Felling or Lopping Trees

No action needed unless the trees are protected or you live in a conservation area. Bear in mind, however that trees have practical advantages like providing privacy, sound insulation & shade, as well as their aesthetic advantages.

12) Installing a Satellite Dish

Unless any dimension exceeds 45cm (18”) on a chimney or 90cm (3’) elsewhere, or it is fixed higher than the highest part of the chimney or roof, or if there is an antenna installed already, or if the house is listed or in a conservation area – then no.

13) Outbuildings

Planning Permission is more complicated. Firstly, if the structure is located within 5 metres (16’ 6”) of the house and more than 10 metres³ (13.08 cubic yards) in volume then it is considered as an extension to the house (see section 18).

An outbuilding is allowed to cover up to half of the garden without Planning Permission, as long as it isn’t closer than 20m to a highway and no higher than 3 metres (4 metres if it has a ridged roof).

Any structures or buildings that are located in a conservation area will need planning permission if they exceed 10m³ of volume.

Building Regulations’ Approval will be needed if its area exceeds 30m² (35.9 square yards). If it is built closer than 1 metre (3’ 3”) to a boundary, it must be built from incombustible materials.

14) Building a Porch

No Planning Permission required unless the floor exceeds 3 metres², any part is more than 3 metres high, or it is closer than 2 metres to a boundary adjoining a highway or public footpath. Building Regulations not required unless it will have an area greater than 30 metres².

15) Conservatories

Building Regulations don’t need approval if it is under 30 metres² in area. However, Planning Permission may be required & it should be classed as an extension (see section 18).

16) Garages

It is possible that both Planning & Building Regs permission will be required. Consult your Building Control Officer for advice.

Treat as an Outbuilding (see section 13) unless it is within 5 metres² of the house or over 10 metres³ in volume, in which case treat it as an Extension (see section 18).

17) Hard Standing for a Car

No action needed, provided it is within your boundary and not for commercial vehicles.

18) Extensions

Building Regulations will almost certainly be required. Planning Permission is necessary in the following circumstances:

· Listed Buildings

· Areas of outstanding beauty or conservation areas

· If the extension is to be an independent dwelling

· Any part of the extension within 2 metres (6’ 6”) of the boundary will be more than 4 metres (13’) high

· It will cover more than half of the original area of the garden

· Any part will project further than the foremost wall of the house facing a highway or less than 20 metres (65’ 6”) from a highway

· Any part will be higher than the roof of the house

· The extension will result in an increase of volume to the original house by (whichever is greater):

o Terraced Houses

50 metres³ or 10% up to a maximum of 115 metres³

o Other Houses

70 metres³ or 15% up to a maximum of 115 metres³

o Scotland

General category, 24 metres² or 20%

19) Demolition

Planning consent is required if the building is listed or in a conservation area. However, you should always seek advice as you may need approval for substantial demolition anywhere. Building Regulations isn’t required for the complete demolition of a detached home. However, for partial demolition, you will need to ensure that the remaining part/adjoining buildings are structurally sound.

20) Conversion to Flats or Business Premises

Yes, for both Planning & Building Regs even if it is only a partial conversion.

21) Wall Cladding

Building Regulations’ approval isn’t needed, but if you’re in a conservation or area of outstanding natural beauty, you will need Planning Permission.

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