FAQs

Q and Eh?

The architectural process can be difficult to navigate given the various stages, permissions and applications involved. Hopefully the questions and answers provided here will help provide you with a better understanding of some of these processes. Of course if you want further help please do feel free to get in touch directly, we would love to hear from you. 

Planning Permission

Planning Permission

What types of planning applications are there?

There are a number of different planning application types that can be made, depending on the size and scale of the proposed development. The most common of these are:

  • Householders Planning Consent
  • Full Planning Consent
  • Outline Planning Consent
  • Reserved Matters Application
  • Listed Building Consent
  • Lawful Development Certificate (LDC)

The application types cover a wide range of possible consents and in some case you may have to apply for more than one type of consent. For example if your property is listed building or you wish to build within the grounds of a listed building then you may have to apply for householder planning consent and listed building consent.

Householders planning consent

This should be used for proposals to alter or enlarge a single dwellinghouse, including works within the boundary/garden of a house. It should be used for projects such as:

• Extensions

• Conservatories

• Loft conversions

• Dormer windows

• Garages, car ports and outbuildings

Please note that planning permission is not needed for all household building work. Under permitted development rules you can carry out a number of household building work projects, provided they meet certain limits and conditions.

Full planning consent

Full planning consent is required to make a detailed planning application for development, excluding householder developments. ‘Development’ includes building, engineering or other works, in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land. As such it should be used for:

• Any works relating to a flat or flats

• Applications to change the number of dwellings (e.g. flat conversions / building a separate house in the garden)

• Changes of use to part or all of the property to non-residential (including business) uses

• Anything outside the garden of the property (including stables if in a separate paddock)

Outline planning consent

Applications for outline planning permission seek to establish whether the scale and nature of a proposed development would be acceptable to the local planning authority, before a fully detailed proposal is put forward.

This type of planning application allows fewer details about the proposal to be submitted and saves the applicant the commitment of having to produce fully detailed drawings and information etc for a project that may not even get approved. Once outline permission has been granted, you will then need to ask for approval of the details (“reserved matters”) before work can start. These details will be the subject of a “reserved matters” application at a later stage.

3. An extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts a highway is NOT permitted development.

4. Materials are to be similar to that of the existing house.

5. No part of any loft extension is to be higher than the highest part of the existing roof

6. Verandas, balconies or raised platforms at NOT permitted development.

7. Any side-facing vertical windows must be obscure glazed and non-opening unless the openable parts are more than 1.7m above the floor level of the room in which it is installed.

8. Extensions to the roof, apart from hip to gables, are to be set back a min 200mm from the original eaves, as measured along the roof plane.

Reserved matters application

Where outline permission has been granted, you may, within three years of the outline approval, make an application for the outstanding reserved matters, i.e. the information excluded from the initial outline planning application. This will typically include much more detailed information about the layout, access, scale and appearance of the development.

Lawful development certificate (LDC)

For peace of mind that an existing or proposed use of a building is lawful or that the proposal doesn’t require planning permission, you can apply for a lawful development certificate.

Listed building consent

You will need to apply for listed building consent if either of the following cases apply:

  • You want to alter or extend a listed building in a manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest
  • You want to demolish all or part of a listed building

You may also need listed building consent for any works to separate buildings within the grounds of a listed building. Be aware, it is a criminal offence to carry out work which needs listed building consent without obtaining it beforehand.

Our advice when dealing with a Listed Building is to seek pre-applicaiton advice from the local authority conservation officer first in order to determine just how much development will be allowable. Each case is unique and permission will depend on both the design of the alterations and the effect it will have on the Listed Building.

How much does a planning application cost?

The fees associated with a planning application depends on the type and scale of the development however in England, for a typical householder application the application fee is £206.

For a full application for a new single dwellinghouse in England, the cost is currently £462.

No fee is currently payable for a Listed Building Application.

How long does it take to get a decision on an application?

Most planning applications are decided within eight weeks, unless they are unusually large or complex in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks.

During this period there will be a period of approximately 4 weeks where any immediate neighbours will be notified about your application and given the opportunity to comment. While neighbours are consulted and invited to comment, together with parish councils (in England and Wales), only objections based on material considerations should be taken into account. It is often a good idea to speak with any neighbours before they are notified of your application to reassure them and deal with any concerns before they might object.

If there are objections or the application is called into a committee by one of the local councillors, then the decision will be made by a majority vote by the local planning committee. At the planning meeting, you or your agent will be given an opportunity to address the planning committee, but this time is limited to a maximum of three minutes.

How long do I have to begin work?

Planning permission is typically granted for three years — meaning you must begin work in that time or you could face reapplying.

Permitted Development

Permitted Development

What is permitted development?

You can perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights”.

They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by the government. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Similarly, commercial properties have different permitted development rights to dwellings.

In some areas of the country, known generally as ‘designated areas’, permitted development rights are more restricted. For example, if you live in:

  • Conservation Area
  • National Park
  • An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • A World Heritage Site or
  • The Norfolk or Suffolk Broads,

You will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas. There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.

Single storey extensions

An extension or addition to your house is considered to be permitted development, provided the following limits and conditions are met:

1. On designated land* cladding of any part of the exterior of a dwelling (and extensions) with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles is not permitted development. *National parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas etc.

2. Extensions (including previous extensions) and other buildings must not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house. The term ‘original house’ means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date).* Sheds and other outbuildings must be included when calculating the above 50% limit.

3. Extensions forward of the principal elevation or side elevation of a house and fronting a highway are NOT permitted development.

4. On designated land side extensions are not permitted development.

5. Materials used in exterior work to be similar in appearance to those of the exterior of the existing house (except a conservatory).

6. Width of side extension must not have a width greater than half the width of the original house.

7. Side extensions are to be single storey with a maximum height of four metres.

8. If the extension is within two metres of a boundary, the maximum eaves height should be no higher than three metres to be permitted development.

9. A single storey rear extension must not extend beyond the rear of the original house by more than 3m if an attached house or by 4m if a detached house.

10. A single storey rear extension must not exceed a height of four metres.

11. The maximum eaves and ridge height of the extension are to be no higher than existing house.

Double storey extensions

An extension or addition to your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, provided certain limits and conditions are met:

1. On designated land* extensions of more than one storey are not permitted development. *Designated land includes national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

2. Extensions (including previous extensions) and other buildings must not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house. The term ‘original house’ means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). *Sheds and other outbuildings must be included when calculating the above 50% limit. 

3. Maximum eaves and ridge height of extension no higher than existing house. If extension is within two metres of a boundary maximum eaves height should be no higher than three metres to be permitted development.

4. Extensions of more than one storey must not extend beyond the rear wall of original house by more than three metres or be within seven metres of any boundary opposite the rear wall of the house.

5. Roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey to match that of the existing house, as far as is practicable.

6. Materials used in exterior work to be similar in appearance to those of the exterior of the existing house.

7. Any upper-floor window in a wall or roof slope in a side elevation must be obscure-glazed and non-opening unless the parts which can be opened are more than 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which it is installed.

8. No balconies or verandas are permitted development

Loft conversions

Converting the loft space within your home is generally considered to be permitted development, especially if you are not planning on altering or extending the existing roof profile and are simply installing some Velux roof lights or similar. If you are planning to extend or alter the roof itself (e.g. a dormer window), this is also generally considered to be permitted development provided the following limits and conditions are met:

1. Loft extensions are NOT permitted development for houses on designated land.

2. To be permitted development any additional roof space created by a roof extension must not exceed these volume allowances:

  • 40m³ for terraced houses
  • 50m³ for detached and semi-detached houses

*Any existing extended spaces must be included within this. 

 

3. An extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts a highway is NOT permitted development.

4. Materials are to be similar to that of the existing house.

5. No part of any loft extension is to be higher than the highest part of the existing roof

6. Verandas, balconies or raised platforms at NOT permitted development.

7. Any side-facing vertical windows must be obscure glazed and non-opening unless the openable parts are more than 1.7m above the floor level of the room in which it is installed.

8. Extensions to the roof, apart from hip to gables, are to be set back a min 200mm from the original eaves, as measured along the roof plane.

Outbuildings

Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, providing the following conditions are met. 

1. On designated land* outbuildings to the side of the house are not permitted development.* Designated land includes national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas etc.

2. Outbuildings are not permitted development within the grounds of a listed building.

3. In national parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty the total area to be covered by any outbuildings more than 20 metres from ANY WALL of the house must not exceed 10 square metres. Outwith these areas, outbuildings can be any square meterage providing they still adhere to these conditions in all respects.

4. Outbuildings are not permitted development forward of the principal elevation of the original house.

5. Outbuildings and other additions must not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house. Sheds, other outbuildings & extensions to the original house must be included when calculating this 50% limit.

6. Any new building must not itself be separate, self-contained, living accommodation.

7. Outbuildings must be single storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual pitched roof, or 3 metres in any other case.

8. If the outbuilding is within 2 metres of the boundary, it should not exceed 2.5 metres in height.

9. Balconies and verandas are not permitted development. Raised platforms such as decking are permitted development provided they are no higher than 300mm

10. Containers, such as those used for domestic heating purposes, must not exceed 3,500 litres capacity to be permitted development. The other permitted development conditions which apply to outbuildings listed above also apply to containers

Porches

Adding a porch to any external door of your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, provided the following limits and conditions are met: 

1. Ground area of the porch, measured externally must not to exceed three square metres.

2. Highest part of the porch not to exceed three metres.

3. No part of the porch to be within two metres of any boundary that fronts a highway.

Where can I find out more?

The planning portal website has a wealth of useful information regarding both planning and building regulations and can be accessed via this link:

https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200125/do_you_need_permission

In addition to the advice given on this FAQ page, further advice is also available for residential flats and commercial properties, as well as useful interactive guides on how the regulations are to be interpreted.

Disclaimer

*The above information is correct at time of writing. Due to the organic nature of English planning law, New Space Architecture Limited can hold no responsibility for any advice taken from these FAQs and we recommend that you consult with your local authority for clarification before undertaking any major building works. 

Building Regulations

Building Regulations

What are 'building regulations'?

Most people looking to undertake a building project understand that they may require planning approval first. What people often don’t realise however that that even if planning permission has been granted (or is not required), they are still likely to need building regulations approval. Whereas planning permission deals with the building’s appearance and its use, the building regulations govern the standard to which the building is then constructed. Failure to meet these standards may lead to difficulties when the owner comes to sell the property and in some cases can also lead to prosecution.

What type of approval do I need?

There are 2 types of building regulations applications that can be made; A ‘Full Plans Application’, or a ‘Building Notice

Full plans application

A ‘Full Plans Application’ requires the production of detailed drawings demonstrating how you intend to comply with the regulations. These plans are then submitted to either your local authority building control (LABC) department or an approved private building regulations company for approval before the works are carried out. The plans are checked by a Building Inspector and either approved or returned to the agent asking for further information. Once the detailed drawings show compliance, a Building Regulations Approval Notice is issued. Working to a fully approved plan or specification gives you peace of mind, avoids potential problems and can even save you from the agony of abortive work. A building inspector will make periodic visits to the site throughout the build to ensure that the work is constructed as per the approved drawings and a Completion Certificate is issued following a final inspection once all works have been finished.

 

Pros:

  • Builders are able to quote much more accurately for your project as they can see a lot more detail and full spec on the drawings. This helps stop a figure being plucked from the air and unforeseen costs arising at a later stage.
  • Any potential issues or critical points are much less likely to come up as they are already worked out within the detailed drawings allowing for a more simple build, saving both time and as a result, money.

Cons:

  • You will be required to pay an architectural consultant/ designer to produce the required detailed drawings. (It should be highlighted that although this is an additional initial expense, more often than not this fee is gained back many times over due to the builder having detailed drawing to work from and potential issues already worked out. New Space Architecture Limited highly recommends the Full Plans route for most projects).
  • Work cannot commence immediately – the checking and approval process takes 3-5 weeks.
Building notice

This is simply a statement of the address and description of the work, giving building control 48 hours’ notice of your intention to start work. It avoids the preparation of detailed ‘full plans’, and is designed to enable some types of building work to get underway quickly. In this case, a simple form is submitted and a building inspector will approve the works as they are carried out by a process of inspection. Although inspections are also made during a Full Plans Application, with a Building Notice these inspections are much more frequent. Building notices are best suited to smaller and more straightforward works, such as extensions that fall within permitted development. Using it for bigger projects is risky, as you have no assurance that the project meets the regulations. Work can start once a building notice has been registered and after the final inspection a Completion Certificate is issued as per the Full Plans procedure.

Pros:

  • Work can begin very quickly
  • Architectural/ construction drawings may not be required

Cons:

  • A building notice application leaves the client at risk that completed works might not be approved, resulting in remedial costs. Clients should be certain that their builder is familiar with all the relevant regulations before deciding to follow this route. It is also worth considering that proceeding without a full set of agreed drawings is more likely to result in oversights by the builder, unexpected costs and disputes.
  • Application fees for a building notice may also be more expensive than a full plans application due to the greater number of inspections.
How does the application process work?

A Building Regulations application for both a Full Plans Application and a Building Notice has to be accompanied by the relevant application fee, much like the planning process. This fee will cover both the application itself and the eventual inspections. Application fees vary for the size and type of work and most local authorities offer fee calculators on their websites. With a Full Plans submission, the application will need to be accompanied by the relevant architectural drawings, along with any additional relevant information (e.g. specification notes, structural calculations, energy assessments etc). With a Building Notice you simply need to fill in a form letting the relevant Inspector know your intention to commence building works and you are able to commence on site within 48 hours.

What timescales are involved?

Both Full Plans applications and Building Notices are valid for three years from the date they were given to the local authority, and will automatically lapse if the building work is not started in that timeframe. Importantly, you don’t have to wait for approval before commencing work – provided that 48 hours’ written notice is given of your intention to start work, following a successful full plans application or issue of a building notice.

How does the inspection process work?

Although work on your project may commence 48 hours after your application has been submitted, nothing can proceed beyond the inspection stages set out by the Building Inspector. In most cases these are: commencement of works; excavation of foundations; foundations laid; oversite preparation; damp proof course; drains testing; external walling; roof structure; superstructure; completion. You must notify the inspector once you have reached the particular stages and give 24 hours’ notice for them to inspect. If you don’t inform them as you reach a particular stage, the local authority can ask you to open up the work for inspection at your expense. Once the work is approved, you may then proceed to the next stage – this is crucial for most self builders, as stage payment mortgage funds are only released upon approval.

What is a completion certificate?

When the project is finished, the approved inspector must then issue a final certificate to the local authority to confirm that the work is complete, inspected, and that it complies with the regulations. If all is well you will then get a completion certificate from your building inspector. This valuable piece of paper confirms that the project, as inspected, complies with the Building Regulations, and is vital as it will help you re-mortgage or sell your home in the future. For some elements of the project (such as electrics), certification of the work and the approved status of the person who carried it out and tested it, will be needed before a completion certificate can be issued. It is always advisable to get your completion certificate before making final payments to contractors.

When is building regulations approval not required?

You do not need Building Regulations approval for most minor works, particularly where like-for-like replacements are used. Certain small buildings (such as a porch or conservatory) are also usually exempt. As a general rule, any structural work as well as anything to do with electrics, drainage or work affecting the thermal elements of the property, will require building control approval. If in doubt, check with your local authority building inspector before starting work.

What if I have undertaken works without necessary building regulation approval?

If you have carried out works without building control approval, a retrospective application can be made to certify that the works are within the regulations. This is called ‘Regularisation’. There is an additional fee for a regularisation application and you may be asked to expose elements of the work in order to prove they comply.