FAQ

Planning Permission, Permitted Development, Party Wall Information

PLANNING PERMISSION

Not sure if you need planning permission? Want to find out more about what it involves and how long it takes?

Our team of experts will advise you on whether or not planning permission is necessary for your loft conversion and steer you through the entire process if you doneed to apply for it. In the meantime, take a look at our Q&As for more information:

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is the approval of your local authority for you to go ahead with a proposed building project. This process is in place to deter any inappropriate development from taking place. Any larger building or extension project will usually require planning permission, as general ‘permitted development’ offers size restrictions.

When will I need to apply for planning permission?

Securing planning permission is a vital aspect of any substantial extension or building project. Before any work can be carried out, you must have this permission granted.

Applying for planning permission can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are not sure what you are doing. With the right assistance, this process can be made much simpler. Working with somebody who fully understands the steps required to successfully seek permission will be a great help.

Loft Planning Permission

Building regulations require that you must always have a finished floor to ceiling height in the loft of two metres; where this is not achievable, you may have to apply for planning permission in order to raise the ridge height. Although there are no guarantees that this permission will be granted, if it is successful it will offer you the minimum height required to convert your loft. Alternatively, it may be that another option is available.

Another issue which may require the granting of planning permission would be when you are living in a maisonette or flats and would like to use different materials to those currently on the building for your conversion, for example with external cladding.

Extension Planning Permission

Should you be looking to install for a larger extension than that which will be granted by permitted development, or create an extension which uses alternative materials and styles to those of the existing property, these may fall out of the realms of ‘permitted development’ and instead require planning permission to be applied.

This is also the case in conservation areas, or when alternative restrictions have been placed upon a property.

How much does planning permission cost?

Depending on what you are applying for, the cost may vary. For home improvers, an application in England for an extension currently costs £206. 

How long does planning permission last?

All planning permission will eventually expire and current rules state that you have three years from the date that full permission is granted to begin working on the project. So, this expiry does not mean to say that you must have completed the entire project within three years; sometimes financial or time issues may get into the way and cause projects to become delayed. However, you should have made a start by this point and have a clear paper trail which proves that works have begun.

We are here to help.
We can help you through the application process and even send the plans to the council on your behalf.

Permitted Development

You can carry out certain types of work without the need for planning permission, thanks to ‘permitted development rights’. These derive from a general planning permission which has been granted to allow homeowners to make smaller changes to their homes more easily.

These rights do not apply to flats or maisonettes. Although planning permission may not need to be granted, you will still be required to submit a permitted development application to the council, which we would be happy to help with.

Some buildings do have different permitted development rights, such as when a property is a listed property or has had other restrictions put into its deeds. It’s also worth noting that certain areas, such as conservation areas, may have their own restrictions so as not to negatively affect the surrounding area.

Loft permitted development

When it comes to loft conversions, permitted development allows you to add on a set amount of cubic metres onto your existing roof space. The allowance will vary depending on your home, but we will be able to advise on what the rules are in regards to your property upon inspection.

Under permitted development loft conversions must be built in similar materials to those already on the property and the general rule is that the conversion must be sympathetic to the properties existing design. It is also important to note that the ridge height of the roof may not be raised under permitted development.

Building regulations also require that there is a finished floor to ceiling height of 2m in the loft, although in some cases where this height is not available then lowering the floor height to accommodate may be an option.

Extension permitted development

There are restrictions to the size of the extension available when falling under the permitted development rules, with the floor space being unable to exceed a certain size which may differ from property to property. This same rule applies to the height available.

As these rules may vary, it is certainly worth having a professional such as ourselves discuss the options available to you and assist you in understanding the permissions required For clients who would like to add a larger extension to their home, it would also be beneficial to apply for both planning permission and submit a notice for permitted development. In the case that permission is denied, there will be an LDC (Lawful development certificate) already in place.

We are on hand to provide you with the assistance you require and can determine whether planning permission will be required or not to carry out the work on your property. Should it be necessary, we will process the plans on your behalf and take care of handling the communication with the local council to ensure that the project runs smoothly, minimising the work required on our client’s side.

Party Wall Information

What is a party wall?

The party wall on a property is that which is shared with a neighbour. This is built on a boundary line, usually separating two terraced homes.

Gov guidelines outline that you must inform your neighbours if you are wishing to:

  • Build on or at the boundary of your 2 properties
  • Work on an existing party wall or party structure
  • Dig below and near to the foundation level of their property

What does it include?

This may include:

  • Building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties.
  • Cutting into a party wall.
  • Making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper.
  • Removing chimney breasts from a party wall.
  • Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall.
  • Digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property.

What are it mean for me?

Therefore, it may be that if you are having us carry out work on your property, you will be obliged to communicate your plans with your neighbour and discuss the project with them.

This is particularly the case if you are building within 2 metres of a neighbours property and in these scenarios, a party wall agreement is likely to be required. When this is the case you will have to inform your neighbour with a Section 3 Party Structure Notice that falls under The Party Wall etc Act 1996. You will find the Party Structure Notice attached here.

Although we are unable to carry out this process for you, we can assist and provide the details of some reputable party wall surveyors who will be able to take a look at your property and the plans to establish whether an agreement is required.

If you require any assistance or have any issues, please get in touch today on 020 7438 2043.