Useful Information

Party wall Act 1996

Party wall act 1996.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [4.0 MB]

Planning & Building Regulations

Your responsibilities

One of the many benefits of employing a builder on any home improvement project is that  they can help with the hassle of any planning permission, building regulations  approval and Party Wall agreements that your project  may be subject to. However you should always bear in mind that as the

Homeowner  you have overall responsibility to ensure that the project complies with all relevant
rules and regulations. As well as your builder, your local council's planning
office  will be able to advise you on what permissions you require.

Planning permission

Changes  to permitted development rights in 2008 mean that many home extensions will not  require planning permission providing that they do not change the external appearance  of the house and remain within the rules of permitted development.

Most  homeowners are now able to build a loft conversion and a ground floor rear  extension without having to apply for planning permission. In simple terms a householder will be able to build a single
storey ground floor rear extension provided that:

  • The extension does not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more
         than four
    metres in the case of a detached house or three metres in the case of any
         other house.
  • The height does not exceed four metres or  three metres where it is within two metres of the boundary of the house. In addition a householder can also build a loft conversion provided
         that:
  • The  cubic content of 'the extended roof does not exceed 40 cubic metres in the case of a terraced house or 50 cubicmetres in any other case.
  • Materials used are similar in appearance to the existing house.

 

These changes also benefit homeowners who have previously extended their home. Where a property has benefited from a single or two storey extension, the new permitted development allowances will allow a loft conversion to be installed without having to apply for planning permission.

Similarly, where a property has benefited from a loft conversion being installed, most single-storey extensions, and in some cases a two-storey extension, can be constructed without the need for planning
permission. The changes will help homeowners to avoid the long delays, inconsistencies and frustrations commonly associated with the planning process.
lf you do need planning permission remember to allow at least two months for it to be granted.

 

Building Regulations

Whether or not planning permission is required, anyone wanting to carry out building work is required by law to make sure it complies with the relevant Building Regulations.
These are designed to ensure that the finished building is safe, healthy
and energy efficient. The general rule of thumb for building regulations is that if the project will affect the fabric, or structure, of the building then building regulations will  apply. lt is worth checking with your local building control department before work begins, because if building regulations do apply to your project, you must
give details of the work to your local building control department at least two days before work starts on site.



Party Walls

It is vital to the smooth running of your project that you keep yourneighbours onside. Discussing your plans with them will ease the way if you need a Party Wall Agreement. Details of the proposed work
must be officially notified to the effected 
neighbour and no work may start until all neighbouring parties
have agreed in writing to the notice.
lt is normal practice to record the state of neighbouring properties before work starts and again at the completion of the work. You are responsible for making good any damage.

In England and Wales work carried out on a part of your property which adjoins your neighbours must comply with the Party Wall Act 1996. The Party Wall Agreement covers work which might have an effect on the structural strength or support function of any wall on the boundary line, including garden walls.

 

Listed buildings

If your property is listed or in a conservation area you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not otherwise need on application. Check with your local planning office at the outset. A listed building will also need Listed Building consent for any work, inside or
out, that affects its character or setting.
Altering a listed building without consent is a criminal offence, so seek professional advice  from on architect, surveyor or builder specializing in old buildings and consult  your local planning or conservation officer before making any plans.

 

English Heritage 020 7973 3000

www.english-heritage.org.uk