So you’ve had the plans drawn and you’re ready to get the wheels in motion and see your new dream extension of even loft conversion start to become a reality.
Well there is one very important point to get across here, a point which is the cause of much angst and confusion amongst the public. This isn’t surprising as there is a wealth of misinformation available to the public. Every book printed that mentions either planning or building regulations seems to mix the two together or suggest that they are one of the same thing.
They Are Not!!
In fact, the most that they have in common is that there officers work in the same building. Planning has a public image, with its officers sometimes being portrayed (with stunning mimicry) on TV Soaps and sitcoms. Building Control on the other hand hardly even gets a mention, and when it does a lot of people wrongly assume it is another word for planning. The two disciplines are entirely separate, so try to disassociate the two of them in your mind.
If you are in any doubt over the questions contained on the application forms for planning and building regulations – and some of them do look very odd, it must be said – it is wise to ask for assistance at the council offices rather than to just guess. Incomplete or incorrect submissions will only delay your approval.
On receipt of the planning application for Planning Consent, you will be given a date eight weeks ahead, which is the statutory date by when the application is due a decision, but be warned, they may need to extend it with your consent.
As for building regulations, well they work to a statutory 5 week date (which may again be extended, with your consent, to 2 months) and may write to you, setting out a list of defects or amendments to the plans required before approval.
Alternatively they may simply make these points the subject of a conditional approval. Either way, they should be addressed before work starts, to avoid problems on site.
This is a statement form that says that you will be complying with the regulations in building your extension, and also gives the building control surveyor 48 hours notice of your intention to start the work. Surveyors will inspect the work at various stages on notification by you or your builder, and will advise you of any problems. There is a certain element of risk with the building notice method because you do not have the benefit of an approved plan to work to, and the building control surveyor may only know if you have contravened a regulation requirement after you’ve done it, so in actual fact could be a very expensive way to build. It is only advisable to adopt this procedure after discussing with your builder and building control surveyor the scheme in detail, and only then if you are satisfied that they can agree on the details before each stage of the work. If you are project managing your extension or build yourself, it would be advisable to have an approved set of plans to work to.
Refusal Of Planning Consent
In the unfortunate event of your planning application being refused planning consent, find out what the exact nature of the rejection was from your planning officer. The reasons will be printed on the refusal notice, but they are likely to be in ‘planning jargon’ with policy references, so try to discuss ways with the planning officer as to how they could be overcome by revising the scheme. If this isn’t possible then your only other course of action is to submit a Planning Appeal to the planning inspectorate.