Converting, extending or refurbishing your home is an exciting prospect, and an excellent way to add value to your property without the stress of having to move.

At Pinnacle Works, we are often asked about planning permission, how this works, and whether there are additional costs to budget for before a renovation can begin. Let’s take a look at the benefits of renovating your home, and what factors impact the likelihood that you’ll need planning permission.

The Benefits of Renovating

More and more homeowners are seeing renovations as a fast, cost-effective way to improve and modernise their property, and there are limitless options for ways to enhance your home.

Some of the key reasons our clients decide on a construction project include:

  • Wanting to increase the market value of their property
  • Increasing living space to accommodate changing needs
  • Maximising best use of available space, such as side returns and attic rooms
  • Reconfiguring their layout for more comfortable floor space
  • Making the best use of natural light
  • Avoiding the costs and stress of needing to move home

Even small building projects can make a significant difference to the flow, energy and comfort of your home, and help you to adapt to a growing family or changes in circumstances such as (in the case of 2020!)  working remotely.

Building Regulations

Building regs are not the same as planning permission, but both are considerations when you’re planning a home renovation.

These sets of regulations make sure that any building work you have done is safe, stable, and up to scratch. For example, an inspector will want to make sure that the right fire safety measures are in place, and that all your electrical wiring is safe for your family. Some refurbs don’t require building regulation approval, but most do, and using an experienced company such as Pinnacle Works means that this process is all streamlined and managed for you, under one professional team.

In addition to building regulations, there are two different types of planning permission:

  • Permitted development (PD)
  • Planning permission required

Whether or not you need planning permission all depends on what sort of refurb you have in mind, and how much structural work is involved. Some projects will require building regulations approval (aka building control), but not planning permission. Other construction work will need approval, but fall within PD rights, and others still will require both building regulations approval, and formal planning permission.

Don’t worry if that seems confusing – we’re always here to help!

Planning Permission and Starting Work

Permitted Development (PD) means that you don’t need formal approval from the local planning authority.

This applies to construction projects such as:

  • Extensions up to specific height, length and width specifications
  • Conversions or extensions within parameters of land boundaries and borders
  • Simple building work that doesn’t change the structure or footprint of your property

Should you be unsure about whether your building work falls under PD rights, give us a call to discuss what sort of projects are eligible. If your renovation does need planning permission, it’s best to allow plenty of time for this process to take place. You can’t start work without permission, although you can get cracking with planning, budgeting and designing.

The process works like this:

  1. Create a plan for your renovation – with help from a designer or architect if required
  2. Fill in the application forms, usually online, and gather together the documents you need.
  3. Submit your application, typically several copies and pay the planning application fee.

Checking What Permissions You Need

Planning permission and building regulations can seem complex and costly; but understanding whether you need approval, and how the system works, will save a lot of time and worry!

You can check the building regulations guidelines online through the Planning Portal. This resource includes access to all of the information you need, including:

How to Apply for Building Control

If you know that your construction work does require approval, you can complete the application process online. Building control applications are made through the Planning Portal, and you’ll need to create an account to get started if you haven’t used the service before.

You can also contact your local authority building control department directly for help with building regs approvals.

How to Apply for Planning Permission

The Planning Portal also handles planning permission, although it is a separate application than building control approval.

The online service caters to applications for planning permission across every local authority in the UK, although you can always contact your local office (or us!) for advice or if you’re unclear about whether you need permission for your renovation.

Planning Permission Application Timeframes

Typically, a simple application is approved within eight weeks, so you can get started as soon as this is received. Other more complex projects or those with considerations around land boundaries and party walls can take much longer.

During this process, you must display a public notice outside or as near to the construction site as possible, which is required as part of the public consultation process and needs to be displayed for three to eight weeks in case any neighbours wish to object.

Lawful Development Certificates

If you are carrying out a simple refurb, or work that doesn’t need planning permission, you can apply to the Planning Portal for a lawful development certificate.

This is not mandatory but acts as formal confirmation that you didn’t need permission and that your construction work is legal. It is well worth having should you be thinking of selling your property in the future, or want to safeguard yourself from any potential queries.

Costs of Planning Permission

The cost depends on what sort of work you’re having done – for example, an application for permission to build an extension costs £206. A lawful development certificate costs £103, and both are payable online through the portal.

Help Understanding Planning Permission and Building Regulations

Pinnacle Works cover the full spectrum of renovations, redecorating and refurbishing your home. Our friendly team has years of experience navigating the permissions required and can provide expert advice and guidance about how the regulations apply to your construction work.

Get in touch with us today for support understanding what approvals you might need, and what sort of renovation is possible to transform your living space.