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Planning and Building Regs Approval

Following the Home Improvement ‘Rules’

Like most things to do with construction nowadays, planning & building home extensions is no longer just a simple matter of ‘laying brick-on-brick’. With few exceptions, today, before you can build any permanent structure, you must follow the home improvement planning rules as influenced by the house extension Building Regulations 2010 that apply to your home improvements project.  Planning Permission is often required and Building Regulation Approval is almost always needed.

Guidelines to the Home Improvements Rules

This section aims to provide you with information to help you understand how to make planning applications in your area, and what planning permission means, as well as what the new UK Building regulations 2010 now require you to do to get Building Regulation Approval, and how all of this may influence your planning drawings and submission.  

Planning Permits for House Extensions

As local and national Government has sought – and still seeks – to exercise control over the ‘built environment’, so the planning regulations for house extensions that have to be observed have grown and become more complicated. This is particularly true of the UK’s Town & Country Planning regime. So much so, that a special ‘Planning Portal’, has been developed to explain urban planning in particular. Although full of details, we hope these pages will prove of greater use to help the many people who might find this overwhelming get their planning permission and building regulation approval.

Understanding Planning Permission for Building Extensions

Although you may not need to know much about strategic planning, economic planning, or planning doctrine, understanding the way in which these have influenced your local planning policy may help understand the issues behind planning a building extension and the planning documentation that you have to collect, complete and submit in order to get planning permission for building your extension.

This will also help with an appreciation of why you have to pay planning application fees, what the planning approval process is, and the planning resource that it is necessary for your local planning department to have available just to deal with your application for planning approval for your house building extension (and, of course, all those thousands of other people in your area who also have to satisfy the planning regulations for house extensions).

Guidelines for  Planning Home Improvements

Planning home improvements is, arguably, more complex than planning a totally new development. And although not the same as estate planning, we hope that following the planning tips that are given here will help you to understand how to address any restrictions on planning home improvements that might apply to your proposals. In doing so they should also help you use the planning register to align your application with planning approvals in your area, and avoid issues of planning gain (not that this applies to home extension projects very often), or having to deal with the planning inspectorate and planning appeals.

Being able to foresee possible town planning restrictions and create solutions for planning home improvements that handle possible planning reserved matters in advance, should also help use the planning time limits requirements to speed up your planning approval period.

UK Building Regulations 2010

What the Building Regulations for House Extensions are

Being distinctly different from the Planning Rules, the new UK Building Regulations 2010, which cover the building regulations for house extensions, have several purposes. Today, and after consultation with the Building Research Establishment, they have been expanded to protect the Health and Safety both of the people living or working in them and those in their surrounding environment. This includes anyone having access to, or around, buildings for house extensions.  They are also being used as a tool to help achieve government’s environmental sustainability objectives, like energy use, energy conservation and on-site electricity generation.

UK Building Regulations 2010 Compliance

Anyone responsible for building works is also responsible for compliance with the UK Building Regulations 2010. In most cases you must have Building Regulation approval and building owners who engage main contractors to do the work are the people served with enforcement notices if the building work does not comply.

Building Work that MUST comply with the UK Building Regulations 2010

In summary, under Regulation 3 of the UK Building Regulations 2010 ‘Building Work’ covers:

  • extending or erecting a building
  • installing or extending a ‘controlled’ fitting or service
  • permanent or temporary alterations affecting the buildings ongoing compliance in respect of structure, services, fittings, fire, access, or use
  • inserting cavity wall insulation
  • underpinning foundations

Your building society – and that of any subsequent purchaser of your property – will need evidence that any works undertaken by you have complied with these UK Building Regulations 2010 requirements and that you have Building Regulation approval.

How to Comply with the UK Building Regulations 2010

Any work like this that you carry out MUST comply by:-

  • meeting all the latest technical requirements.  
  • making sure that they do not compromise the Building Regulation compliance of, or make dangerous, any similar works or buildings 
  • satisfying fire escape requirements
  • ensuring that combustion appliances have sufficient air supply.
  • conserving fuel and energy and protecting health. 

This applies to replacing windows and doors.

Extent of UK Building Regulations 2010

Schedule 1 to the UK Building Regulations 2010 has 14 ‘parts’, lettered ‘A’ to ‘P’.  Each set out what a particular aspect of a building extension’s design and construction should achieve. These ‘functional requirements’ of buildings need to be ‘appropriate’, ‘reasonable’, or ‘adequate’.  

The Building Control Department of your local authority now maintains a building register of works.  You can check that any previous works carried out on your property comply, that they had obtained Building Regulation approval, and also ensure that your new project proposals do not adversely affect these.  

Official Guidelines

Although professional and trade building magazines do carry articles and discussions on these topics, these can be difficult to find and access.  Likewise, whilst there are official guidelines to help you comply with the ‘Approved Documents’, knowing which applies to your house extension building project can take some figuring out. While you can try to satisfy the Regulatory requirements in other ways, how and whether you have followed this guidance will affect Building Regulation Approval for your project.

For more information from your particular local authority visit Apply for Building Regulation Approval

UK Building Regulation 2010 Exemptions

Even though they may still need planning permission, subject to size, type of construction, and location your house building extension may be exempt from building regulations, e.g. garden sheds, summer-houses, domestic garages, greenhouses, conservatories, porches, covered way, covered yards, carports

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