Monthly Archives: September 2016

The rules set out by your Council

Will I need planning permission?

In almost all cases the answer to this is yes because extension work carried out on a flat does not come under Permitted Development. Permitted development essentially states that work carried out on a house that extends it by a set amount does not require Planning Permission. But when it comes to flats the rules are different and planning is almost always needed.

This is especially the case if your flat is part of a listed building or is in a conservation area. In fact if you start work on a building that has special historical character without permission you could be committing a criminal offence. So checking with your planning office is essential before you do anything.

Why do I need Planning Permission?

The main reasons for flat extensions needing planning permission is the fact that your neighbours will inevitably be affected, due to their proximity to your property. Not only will the your property and the extension impact on their property, but the work being carried out will affect their day to day living. Noise, mess, parking issues and people in and out of the building throughout the day will be bothersome to them – so they need the chance to understand what is happening.

The building structure and look will also be affected – possibly impacting on their own property value. This is a very valid concern for your neighbours and one that may require you to compensate.

Building Regulations

Any extension built on a flat will also need Building Regulations approval. This regulatory service ensures that the work carried out meets government requirements on buildings of this type. The Buildings Inspector will attend the site at regular intervals throughout the project to check on work and ensure that all work is carried out to the right specifications.

The following categories will be taken into account when it comes to your extension planning application and regulations.

Doors and windows

Your doors and windows may need to look the same as others in the building and will need to meet the energy conservation levels required by your Council. Planning permission for doors and windows will be required if the building has special characteristics.

Drainage

If you share drainage with your neighbours you should always clarify ownership before you start any work.

Electrics

Usually this is not a planning concern – but you should check if you live in a listed building. However if electric work forms part of your extension you should include it in your planning application.

Walls/floors

Those in listed buildings or in conservation areas should seek advice before doing any work. This is especially the case if cladding is going to be used. In other cases Planning Permission is not needed for this type of work. The levels of insulation and soundproofing will also need to be checked.

Roofs

If your extension is affecting any part of the roof you may need to apply for Planning Permission related to that change.

The Party Wall Act

If your new extension is likely to have any impact on the internal or external wall or floor of any other flat or maisonette in the building you will need to advise your neighbour of the work. Work on foundations in flats or maisonettes is also subject to this Act. The Party Wall Act 1996 was brought in to reduce the number of disputes occurring between neighbours when work is carried out and it lays down the requirements of the builder and homeowner regarding party walls.

  • You must give the neighbour notice of the work
  • They have the opportunity to object or ask for changes

The Act lays out all the rules that must be adhered to when working on a party wall and the circumstances where a neighbour can object or even ask for work to be restricted or stopped.

Planning permission for a garden wall

When you decide to build an extension on your home there’s a very good chance that there may be additional garden landscaping work that will need to be completed, to fit in with the change of shape. In particular you will want to erect a fence or wall between your home and your neighbours that will accommodate the new addition. In most cases planning permission won’t be required, but there are some circumstances where you should double check with your council.

You may/will need Planning Permission if:

Your fence, gate or wall will be more than 1 metre high and is next to the road or footpath.
Your fence is over 2 metres high and is erected anywhere on your property.
Your deeds suggest that you are not allowed to erect fences, gates or walls on your property.
You live in a listed house or in a conservation area.
The fence, wall or gate shares a boundary with any other property that happens to be listed.

What if i just want to remove a fence or wall?

Planning Permission is not needed for the removal of walls or fences or for when you are replacing those that are already there. But you must not replace them with anything higher. However if you live in a conservation area you may need permission to alter the look of your fence or gate.

Bushes or hedges?

Usually Planning Permission will not be needed for hedges unless your deeds include a covenant that restricts them. This might be the case if they were to restrict the sightlines of drivers or pedestrians.

Building regulations

While needing Planning Permission is rare for gates, walls and fences, you may need building regulations approval. In particular this applies to the Party Wall Act which states that shared fences and walls should come under its remit. Additionally your walls or fence should be suitable for its purposes and correctly constructed to prevent collapse. Buildings regulations officers will want to check masonry walls to ensure they will not pose harm to the public (or to yourself!).

While this may seem like more red tape when it comes to building an extension, getting the look of nearby walls and fences right will ensure that the overall look and feel of your new home will be exactly as you had dreamed.

External wall materials for new house

The building of an extension is certainly going to alter the way that you home looks and part of that process is adding external walls that work with the existing structure, but also possibly changing the existing wall cladding to give a more attractive overall look. In most cases your exterior walls will be exempt from planning permission, but there are cases where planning will be required.

  • If you live in a listed building or in a conservation area you will almost certainly need planning permission
  • If you want to clad your new or existing walls with stone, pebble dash, render, tiles or plastic and you live in an area of outstanding beauty or a national park you will need to apply
  • In all other cases you still need to ensure the cladding or wall covering you choose must be in keeping with the existing style

Building regulations

Changing the look of the outside walls of your home may not always need building regulations approval – but the addition of new external walls as part of your extension probably will. Building regulations use a set of rules to determine if approval is required:

  • If more than 25 percent of the exterior walls are re-built, re-rendered, re-clad or re-plastered then evidence of correct insulation will need to be supplied to building regulations inspectors
  • If new external wall cavity insulation is inserted into walls you may need them to assess this
  • Generally your new walls should be built using the cavity wall system as this provides a better thermal load. Buildings regulations will be checking for this. Solid walls will need special insulation to make them passable
  • Wall loads are also incredibly important and will be checked. If your new walls are holding up upper stories or the roof they need to comply with loading rules and possibly having lintels installed
  • Weather resistance rules and thermal resistance rules are also taken into account
  • Your walls need to meet fire protection rules also and existing walls may need to be upgraded as part of the work to ensure compliance