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Things you need to know before making those home improvements…

Published on 1 November 2016 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

There are a number of reasons why many people decide to improve their homes by adding an extension. Maybe you just want some extra living space and it’s more economical than buying a bigger property, or maybe you would like to add value to your home. Whatever your motive, there are some things you need to be aware of…

A lot of people begin their projects without considering those all important planning laws and building regulations. It is crucial that you understand these provisions so as to take the correct steps to ensure you protect yourself.

Many of these laws and regulations are not commonly known and are therefore easy to overlook. Failure to comply with these laws can however be substantial as the council can issue an enforcement notice which would require that you put things back to the way they were. In this event you could lose thousands of pounds, so it is always advisable to ensure you are compliant from the outset.

Permitted Development

If you are looking to extend your home you may or may not be required to get planning consent as a large number of extensions are considered to be a Permitted Development. Under Permitted Development Rights you can:

  • Extend a detached house by 8m to the rear for a single storey and 3m if it is a two storey.
  • It must be built in the same or similar materials to the existing house.
  • Height restrictions apply – for a single storey no higher than 4m and a two storey no higher than the existing house.
  • Side extensions must be single storey and no higher than 4m.

*Note that your local authority has the power to remove Permitted Development Rights if they feel the work will threaten the character of the area. You should make enquiries with the council before starting work to see if permitted rights have been removed.

Building regulations

Regardless of whether your extension falls under the Permitted Developments Rights, it will still need Building Regulations Approval. The Building Regulations set out certain conditions and limitations that you must adhere to. They cover requirements such as fire and safety regulations, access, insulation and drainage systems.

To ensure compliance with the Building Regulations, you can either:

  • Send a Full Plan Submission to your local authority whereby a building inspector will visit the site to inspect the work being carried out or;
  • Submit a Building Notice by giving a statement to your council that informs them of your project and surveyors will come and inspect the work. Unlike above, you do not obtain approval from the council, you simply notify them, in which case you are taking a risk and could incur more costs if problems were to arise that have to be rectified once work has already started.

This is just a brief outline of some of the requirements you must consider when extending your home – if you would like more information then contact Poole Alcock Solicitors today at any of our Cheshire based offices. Our expert property lawyers have a wealth of knowledge in this area and would be happy to help with any queries you may have.

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