Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to obtain planning permission?
How long does planning permission last?
I have already had planning permission granted for my property in the past but it has expired, will there be a problem obtaining permission for the same scheme again?
I think that my property is exempt from planning permission, why do I need building plans?
What is the difference between planning permission and building regulations approval?
Is planning permission always needed, what is Permitted Development that I keep hearing about?
Is building regulation approval always needed?
Can you guarantee that you will obtain planning permission approval for us?
Can we add our own design requirements to the extension/new build house design?
How long does it take to obtain planning permission?
The process typically takes 8 weeks from submission to a planning permission decision for a private extension. Larger new build housing projects can have a minimum 12 week timescale imposed and this may be precluded by a pre application stage on more difficult schemes which can take a few more months due to negotiations with the local authorities to achieve a satisfactory design
How long does planning permission last?
Most planning permissions decisions for extensions are granted for three years for commencement of works on site. It is worth noting that once the local authority building control department has attended site this time limit is then made permanent by virtue of works physically starting on site
I have already had planning permission granted for my property in the past but it has expired, will there be a problem obtaining permission for the same scheme again?
As long as nothing has drastically changed there shouldn’t be an issue with re-applying for planning permission. It may be worth double checking with your local council first to clarify. Some local councils are currently offering the chance to lengthen planning permission time limits if your project hasn’t commenced, due to the current financial situation for many people.
I think that my property is exempt from planning permission, why do I need building plans?
In short, building plans are a requirement by the building control department to obtain a full plans approval (unless you submit a building notice – but this is only recommended for the smallest of lean-to single storey extension projects). They are also essential to ensure you get a fair price when asking builders to quote for jobs, if they have nothing to base their quotes on the price could vary by thousands of pounds and the builder that you may have chosen for being the cheapest may hit you with a list of extras that were unforeseen. A set of building regulations approved plans are priceless to ensure the job runs smoothly, also on the flipside most builders want to work to plans so that everything is agreed with the client.
What is the difference between planning permission and building regulations approval?
Briefly, Planning Permission deals with the external aesthetics of the building and how it will impact on neighbours with regards to loss of light and overlooking/privacy issues whilst Building Regulations approval governs exactly how the structure is built and that it is built safely and competently. Because of this, the building control fees are higher due to their level of involvement with the building structure.
Is planning permission always needed, what is Permitted Development that I keep hearing about?
Not always as long as certain criteria are met and as long as your house is within an urban area, Permitted Development rules came into force on 1st October 2008 and the rules were imposed to lessen the burden on local council planning departments which in brief meant certain additions to a building did not have to go through the planning process. There are certain size limits for extensions to retain privacy and ‘loss of light’ issues and as a rule of thumb if the extension is not visible from the road then the impact on the local community is lessened. There is a handy interactive guidance program provided by the (planning portal website) answering all types of extension variants. The local council has the final say and most will offer free advice or ask you to fill in a householder extension form to confirm.
Is building regulation approval always needed?
In a word, YES, anything as trivial as replacing windows to putting an internal opening between two rooms in a house should be controlled by building regulations but 99.9% of the time these procedures are not applied for. Local Authority Building Control is necessary for any additional extensions and should you decide to go ahead without approval you may have problems when you come to sell your house as ‘building completion sign off’ forms may be required by your solicitors.
Can you guarantee that you will obtain planning permission approval for us?
As much as we would like to promise this, the final decision lies with the local authority. We work very closely with a number of local authorities who all follow the same national guidelines and we have the knowledge to advise you whether there will be an issue obtaining planning permission. If for whatever reason the planning submission has to be withdrawn or it is refused, the local authority will offer a free re-submission within a 12 month period of the original planning application. Since we have been trading this has only happened a handful of times and as aforementioned we liaise with the council to ensure it doesn’t come to this.
Can we add our own design requirements to the extension/new build house design?
We always strive to integrate as much of the design brief as physically possible (within the constraints set by the council) and will offer our own thoughts if required. At the end of the day it is your property and everyone’s needs and desires are different so we aim to respect that.

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