Whenever you buy a home, you take on the responsibility of ensuring that any building work you want to carry out is carried out in accordance with the relevant planning permission. This can put a lot of people off doing work to their property, but it doesn’t have to be scary!

Lots of building projects require planning permission. If you live in a Conservation Area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a World Heritage Site, then any building work you carry out will definitely require planning permission. You’ll also need to get planning permission if your property is a listed building.

Changes to listed buildings, such as alterations to the doors or windows of the property will require consent from planners. You can find out more about listed buildings and Conservation Areas here.

There are certain things you can do without planning permission. Permitted Development Rights allow you to make a few changes to your property without having to consult with the planners. To find out more about what permitted development rights will allow you to do, visit the Planning Portal website.

One of the most important things to remember when considering making changes to your property is to consider what impact your changes will have on your neighbours. Sometimes you’ll need to discuss a Party Wall Agreement with them. Introduced in 1996, the Party Wall Agreement covers any work that may have an effect on the structural integrity of any wall on the boundary line, including garden walls.

The best thing to do if you think you need planning permission is to speak to your local council. They can advise if you need to apply for planning permission, and apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

For more information about planning permission, you can download our guide to understanding planning permissions.

Not all buildings require planning permission, but most do require building control approval. Things like structural alterations, e.g. loft conversions, removing load-bearing walls etc. all need building control approval.

There are 3 types of Building Regulations approval:

  • Full Plans Application – Detailed plans and calculations are submitted to your local council’s building Control team or a private Building Control Inspector company. The plans are checked by a surveyor to ensure they meet the current Building Regulations.
  • Building Notices – Usually just for minor works. A simple form and site plan are submitted to the local council Building Control team and the work is assessed by a surveyor on site.
  • Regularisation Application – This is a retrospective application usually used for building work that has been carried out without approval and is usually insisted upon by solicitors who want to legalise building work when properties are bought and sold.

When you are ready to start any work on your property, the Building Control Inspector will agree a schedule of inspections, which will enable them to check the works at crucial stages of the construction.

When the work is done, the inspector will provide you with a completion certificate to confirm that the work is compliant with building regulations.

To find out more about how building regulations work, download our guide to understanding building regulations.