New Planning Rules

We’ve had a fair few people contact us about the recent change in Permitted Development Rights, which mean that larger extensions can be built without Planning Permission.

Just to be clear –

An application still needs to be made to the Planning Department.

It’s called a Prior Notification, and the Planners can (and have) refused to grant permission if one neighbour objects.

There’s more on this in this article from the RIBA.

A Prior Notification for a Larger Home Extension is the same work (& liability) to us as a full Planning Application, & so we charge the same fee. For a conservatory or sun room we have a fixed fee of £350 + Ordnance Survey maps at cost. At present there is no council application fee, but this might change.

We would recommend that ALL projects get a formal permission document. Whether this is a Certificate of Lawful Development (were it falls within PD rights), or a Prior Notification (for a Larger Homes Extension), or full Planning Permission.

We’re getting more and more calls from people selling their houses where the buyer’s solicitor is asking for this document.

Conservatory with a Solid Roof- Building Regulations?

Are you clear on the law regarding adding a solid roof to a conservatory?

The LABC – Local Authority Building Control – have a guide –

Replacing an existing conservatory roof with a solid roof requires Building Regulations Approval.

(from the LABC guide) – The Building Regulations that are likely to apply are:

• Approved Document A – Determination of adequacy of existing foundations by trial hole(s). If suitable vertical supports are not present then either new windows are required that comply with current Building Regulations, or additional structural posts installed.

• Approved Document C – Suitable weatherproofing of roof, abutments and rainwater goods

• Approved Document L – The new roof should comply with current Building Regulations as a new thermal element. The existing walls and floor should be considered as being no worse than before (Reg. 4(3)).

“So if I comply with these things can I just go ahead?”

No. You need to apply for Building Regulations Approval. It’s up the the Building Inspector to decide if you have complied with the regulations.

“Can I take the door off and open it up to my house?”

No. You still can’t do that.

“What if there isn’t already a conservatory there?”

Building a completely new structure (so not just replacing an existing roof) is no different from building any other extension and the full weight of Building Regulations applies. 

“Architect”or “Architectural Designer”

What’s the difference?

Architectural Designer –

This is a general term for someone who provides architectural services. Anyone may advertise their services as an “Architectural Designer” or provider of “Architectural Services”. Other job titles in the field are “Architectural Technologist” and “Architectural Technician”, or as a company they might describe themselves as an “Architecture” firm.

Persons advertising Architectural Services (or using any of these titles) may or may not be qualified and experienced, but will probably not have Professional Indemnity Insurance unless they belong to a professional body such as the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists –

Architect –

Architects’ training takes seven years and involves a degree (known as RIBA Part I), a postgraduate degree (RIBA Part II), two years experience, then a postgraduate professional practice diploma (RIBA Part III).

All architects currently practicing are required by law to carry Professional Indemnity Insurance, and must be registered on the government’s Architects Registration Board website.

The word “Architect” is a Protected Title, and only people on the Register may use the term “Architect” to describe themselves or advertise their services. For the public’s protection, the Architect’s Registration Board is active in tackling misuse of the title, and prosecutes bogus architects in the Magistrates Courts. Here’s the latest prosecutions – 

Architects may or may not be members of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Membership is open to all registered architects, and confers the status of “Chartered” in the title “Chartered Architect”. The Association of Consultant Architects is open to, and represents, all registered architects who are principals in their own firms.