Building Regulations and Planning Permission… What are they? Duygu Yilmaz explains all in our latest Legal Update.
Building Regulations – These ensure that development works are carried out to a prescribed standard which seeks to ensure that the proper health and safety standards are complied with.
Types of projects that may amount to building work and may be subject to building regulations:
- The erection or extension of a building
- Installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations
- An alteration involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings
- Changes to a building’s fundamental use
- The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall
- Work which can affect any thermal elements, energy status or performance of a building
More information as to further clarification of the meaning of building work can be found in Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations 2010.
Planning Permission – This will most likely be needed when making material changes to a building or land, such as changing its use or when simply building something new. It ensures that developments are carried out as planned and in an appropriate fashion and it is the formal process which decides whether proposed developments should be allowed to go ahead or not. The relevant Local planning authority is guided by a development plan which seeks to incorporate the Local Development Framework for an area. Legislation which governs this area is the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Common projects which fall outside the definition of a development:
- Maintenance, improvements or any other alterations which only affect the interior of the building or those which do not materially alter the external appearance.
- A change of use within the same class use as specified Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. Such as a change from a hairdresser to a post office as both uses are within use class A1.
- Converting a room of a house such as a garage into additional living space (although building regulation compliance might apply)
Where permission has been granted subject to conditions, these conditions must be strictly obeyed. Additional conditions may include approval for specific aspects of the development such as the type of material to be used.
Breaches of the planning regulations, or not getting planning permission at all, may lead to an investigation and service of an enforcement notice. This can happen in situations such as where:
- Planning permission has not been obtained for development work which clearly required permission.
- The work for which permission has been granted for has not been carried out in accordance with the permission.
- The Planning conditions have not been complied with.
Where there has been a breach of planning control, the Local Planning Authority must take enforcement action within a certain period. The time limit for an enforcement action is 10 years, however the exception to this are those actions in respect of building works for changing the use of a building to use as a single dwelling, in which case it must be started within 4 years of the breach. However, it is vital to note that the Localism Act 2011 allows for Local Planning Authorities to apply to a magistrates’ court for an enforcement order where the statutory time limit has expired.
Enforcement notice – Giving notice of the matters alleged to constitute the breach and setting out steps that are required to remedy the breach as well as the time within which these steps must be taken
Stop notice – This is served in conjunction with an enforcement notice and prohibits activities stated within the enforcement notice pending the outcome of any appeal.
Temporary stop notice – This notice allows the Local Planning Authority to prevent activities until further consideration on what permanent action to take.
Breach of a condition notice – This cannot be appealed against its service. Defences available are also limited.
Retrospective planning application – The Local Planning Authority considers the application after the date any development works have commenced.
Planning contravention notice – This will be served when more information is needed in respect of the alleged breach in order to determine whether an enforcement action must be taken.
Injunction – This is a court order requiring you to stop any further development work.
We understand that planning law can seem like a daunting process with uncertain outcomes, but our planning law experts can provide practical legal advice and take care of any legal formalities. To find out more about Building Regulations or Planning Permission or to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced Planning Law Solicitors do get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.
SO Legal Solicitors Eastbourne – 01323 407555
SO Legal Solicitors Brighton & Hove – 01273 069920
SO Legal Solicitors Notting Hill – 0203 9677700