For most people extending a property, a successful application for planning permission will be necessary before any work can be undertaken.

The planning process for Extensions

Once the council has received your plans, it will place them on the Planning Register for public viewing and notify neighbours. A committee appointed by the local council will then make a decision or appoint a senior planning officer to make one for them. The process can take up to eight weeks, and if permission is granted, planned works must be completed within five years.

If permission is denied, plans can be amended to take account of any problems raised by the council, then resubmitted within 12 months without any further charge. Appeals can be lodged within three months of the council’s decision. Those who fail to apply for planning permission before building an extension may face heavy fines and be required by law to demolish any new building work.

More information regarding planning permission can be obtained via local authorities, or by visiting the Government’s planning portal website. Many architects offer to take care of the planning application process and any appeals/amendments for an additional fee.

Building Regulations

In most cases, it will be necessary when extending a building to ensure that everything done complies with the Government’s Building Regulations. Unless the planned extension is a porch, conservatory or detached garage built at ground level, taking up less than 30m2 of floor space, it’s likely that Building Regulations will be relevant.

These apply to any building work in England and Wales, and set minimum standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure that they comply with health and safety rules. They also include certain requirements involving fuel and power conservation, and ensure that access and facilities are provided for people with disabilities in public buildings.

How to comply

Building Regulations approval is a separate process from obtaining planning permission for your extension, and it is extremely important to ensure that your extension is approved in both regards. To achieve compliance with Building Regulations, you or your architect must submit full and detailed plans of the proposed extension, together with the appropriate application form and fee, to your Local Planning Authority.

Building control surveyors will examine the plans to guarantee that they accord with Building Regulations, and will approve the project. Your builder is required to notify the council when building work commences and at various stages throughout the project, and inspections can be made to ensure that work, such as laying foundations, damp proofing and installing drains is carried out to standard. A final inspection will be made upon completion of the extension, and a certificate of completion will be issued if everything is up to scratch.

Information about how Building Regulations might apply to different types of extensions can be found through the Government’s Planning Portal, or via your Local Planning Authority.

If you have any questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.