What is the difference between Planning and Building Control services?

The Planning System is a local authority service which controls what we build, where we build it, and that new buildings/extensions are in line with Planning Policies, local requirements and to ensure that what is built either protects or improves the environment. Building Control defines how buildings are built. The Building Regulations set standards, which have to be complied with, in regard to structures, technical performance of materials (especially in respect of thermal qualities), heating, electrical, plumbing, glazing, ventilation, accessibility and various other building elements.

Do I need Planning Consent to convert my garage into a habitable room?

Usually no, but it is worth checking whether any special legal covenants or conditions were imposed on the garage when the house was built. Different rules apply to Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas so always check your particular case if you own a property in these categories. Building Regulations Approval would be required for works to convert a garage to habitable rooms.

Who do I need to inform if I want to build a Porch or Conservatory?

There are certain criteria whereby you would not need Planning Consent or Building Regulations for a Porch or Conservatory. However, the rules can be complicated so it is best to get advice from a professional, such as Caldotec, or seek advice from your local Planning and Building Control office. Different rules apply to Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty so always check your particular case if you own a property in one of these categories.

Can I draw my own plans?

It is possible to draw your own plans, but they would have to be to scale and easily readable. If the plans are not drawn to an acceptable standard they could be rejected and you would have to employ a professional, such as Caldotec, to draw the plans for you. It is often easier and more cost effective to employ the services of a professional from the outset as they know the requirements and the system. Submission of unsatisfactory and incomplete information with your application could result in unnecessary delays.

Where can I find a Builder, Architectural Designer, Building Surveyor or Structural Engineer?

Your Architectural Designer may be able to help you with builders, surveyors and structural engineers. These professionals work closely together and will be able to cover all aspects of your project from conception to completion. Start by finding an Architectural Designer from yellow pages, an on-line search facility or by asking someone you know. They should be able to advise you on all matters pertaining to your project. Caldotec offer a free initial consultation to discuss your objectives and what approvals you would need, as well as giving advice on which other professional services you would require through the process of the project.

When can my builder start work after I’ve sent in my Building Regulations Application?

Once you have the necessary Planning Consent your architectural designer will submit your Building Regulations Application. You are entitled to start work once the application is submitted. However, you must give 48 hours notice to Building Control before work commences. It is vital to note that starting work before the Full Approval of Plans is received could be risky as your plans will still be undergoing checks by Building Control and their engineers, and it is preferable to wait for the Full Approval before allowing works to start.

How big can I have my extension built?

There are many different criteria as to how big you can build your extension without Planning Consent, known as Permitted Development. For general guidance follow the link to the Planning Portal interactive house www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/house. We also maintain an up-to-date information page about the changing Permitted Development rights on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/Caldotec which includes the new Neighbour Consultation Scheme which came into effect on 30th May 2013.

Who can help me if I have a disagreement about the boundary of my home?

Property boundaries are legal matters and you should employ the services of a solicitor to resolve any issues.

What will happen if I don’t send in an application to Building Control for work which needs approval?

If you carry out work which needs Building Regulations Approval without the correct approval, you would be breaking the law and could face prosecution. It is possible to obtain a Regularisation Certificate which is retrospective approval for works, but any works which do not comply to current standards may have to be renewed and brought up to date with current regulations.

How or where can I find out what Planning Application I need to use?

You can either go to www.planningportal.gov.uk for guidance or contact your local Planning Office to get advice. If you drop in to your local Planning Office, be sure to call first to see if a Duty Officer would be available during the hours you wish to visit. Alternatively, feel free to call Caldotec for a free initial consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.

What will happen if I build without submitting a Planning Application for works which need Planning Consent?

If you carry out any work which requires Planning Consent and have not obtained the necessary consent, you are breaking the law. The matter will be dealt with by the Planning Enforcement Department and, if any subsequent application is not approved, you may have to remove any structure which was built unlawfully.

How long do I have to build once I have Planning Consent?

Once you have Planning Consent, you have 3 years from the Decision Date to substantially start the work. You can then finish the work in your own time without time restrictions. The same time scales apply to Building Regulations approvals.