If you haven’t been involved before with enlarging your property or some form of building works then there are two procedures that you need to undertake which involve approval from the local authority. These are Planning & Building Regulations.
Planning is the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and is principally concerned with how large your extension is going to be, what does it look like and is it in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood in general. The requirements are that you submit an application with a fee, currently £206 for most domestic extensions.
The permitted development rights for householders were changed in October 2008. Further information regarding what is classified as permitted development can be obtained from the government web site; www.planningportal.gov.uk.
The planning process can take six to eight weeks once the details are submitted and you will be consulted if the Planning Department’s appointed case officer for your application has any concerns about the proposals, giving you an opportunity to modify your scheme or advance more information about your opinions on the proposal.
The District Council will consult with neighbours and other interested parties like the Town Council and local societies where appropriate. If there are no objections to your application the planning department can take a decision within the department and issue an approval. If there are objections then the application goes to committee where you are able to attend and speak before a decision is taken. Often if the planning officer feels that despite objections the recommendation is to approve the application the committee may endorse the recommendation. Occasionally schemes can be more contentious and counsellors will voice their opinions before a decision is taken.
On receipt of the planning approval the building regulation drawings are produced.
The Building Acts 1984, Building Regulations 2000, and additional regulations that came into force at different time in the past few years, is a matter that is concerned with nearly every aspect of building works. This is where an application needs to be made to show that what is being proposed will comply with current legislation, is stable in its construction and is constructed with appropriate materials. The drawings for this are more detailed, and show relevant sections through parts of the construction. Fees are based on a Council’s Schedule of Fees which will vary with the size and nature of the works. For the most part fees are in two stages. The Plans fee is submitted to the Council with the Building Regulations application and a further fee is payable to the Council once work commences. If you are applying for an extension and internal alterations at the same time, two separate fees are payable. With the building regulations you can send the application to a private company instead of the council.
The timescale for this application is a little shorter, some four to six weeks and is based on the Council vetting the details, commenting on any irregularities requiring rectification and then issuing an approval.
You should have both these procedures approved prior to commencing the work, although you may commence work at your own risk once the building regulation drawings have been submitted.
This is a very simple summary of what is involved in planning an extension. If you require more information please feel free to ask.