Planning: a few of the basics

Before building an extension or undertaking a loft conversion, you may well need to make a planning application to the local authority.

A full application may not be required if the development falls into the category of ‘permitted development’. This depends on such  criteria as the amount of  space to be added to the property and  whether the new development will be stepped back from the existing external wall. If your proposals meet the criteria,  a building notice should be enough. The consultants and contractors involved will still have to design and build to the current British standards, but you will have a large measure of freedom within the limits.

As part of the planning process, people in neighbouring properties will be given a chance to lodge objections to the scheme.

If there’s an adjoining property, a Party Wall Award will need to be in place. This is separate from the planning application or building notice.

The local authority will usually provide a response to a planning application after eight weeks. You’ll have to submit a full set of drawings, elevations and specifications, which should have been produced by an architect. Building notes will then need to be added to those drawings for the construction phase.

Whether you put in a planning application or give a building notice, site visits at key stages of the project will have to be agreed with the local authority.

Finally, you can apply for retrospective planning permission for building works that should have been subject to a planning application but were not.