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It is generally understood that a form of permission is required for building work or for carrying out alterations to properties. However, it may not always be clear how the planning and building regulations approval regimes differ. 

In general, Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment.

There any many different types of planning application or prior approval processes, such as Change of Use, Full planning, Outline planning, Householder planning, Listed building consent, the list goes on and on, but we can help by guiding your project through the correct channels. There is even the opportunity on some projects, to engage with and involve the local planning authority, via a Pre-application enquiry, to explore development potential using minimal information and reducing the risk of significant upfront expenditure.

Planning applications need to be validated by the local authority, before the application can be processed and there are may also be the need to obtain additional reports or statements from other specialists that are submitted alongside the architectural documents, for example, some projects require, a tree report, a bat survey, street-scene elevations, planning statements, heritage statements etc, etc. there are many potential requirements but it depends upon your development proposals. All applications are submitted via the online Planning Portal.

Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

You may also have responsibilities under the construction health and safety regulations, or even obligations under the Party Wall etc Act 1991, to notify adjoining owners of your intentions to build, if it has the potential to affect their property. In these circumstances, written consent from the affected neighbour will be required to safeguard your right to carry out the work. Occasionally, separate services from a Partywall surveyor may need to be involved.

For many projects, either planning permission or building regulations approval will be required, some projects require both.

If the design fits within the permitted development rules, applying for a Certificate of Lawful Development will provide assurance that the work does not need planning permission, but this isn’t mandatory, it’s more for peace of mind.

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