An introduction to planning and building regulations Back to Blog

An introduction to planning and building regulations

An introduction to planning and building regulations

Building a new property can be a very exciting project, but in order to make the process as smooth as possible and ensure that there are no set-backs, it is important that you have a good understanding of planning permission and building regulations. Before you build a new property, you should seek planning permission from your Local Planning Authority.


General planning permission and building regulations approval in England

Planning permission is almost always needed in England if you want to:

  1. Build a new home.
  2. Make major changes to an existing property, such as an extension.
  3. Change the use of your property, such as from residential to commercial or vice versa.

We recommend you contact your Local Planning Authority to find out more about the type of planning permission you will need if you are building a new home or extending an existing property.


General planning permission and building regulations approval in Scotland

Planning permission in Scotland is much the same as England in the case of new builds and extensions. This means that:

  1. Planning permission is needed when building something new.
  2. Planning permission is needed if you are extending your home or changing its structure.
  3. Planning permission is needed if you plan to change the use of your property.
  4. Every Local Planning Authority has different criteria for planning permission approval, and so we highly recommend you consult your LPA for guidance.


General planning permission and building regulations approval in Wales and Northern Ireland

The same planning permission rules in England and Scotland apply to Wales and Northern Ireland. As noted, each Local Planning Authority have their own criteria of acceptance, and so we recommend consulting with your LPA about your project.


When is planning permission not needed?

Planning permission is not needed in the UK if:

  1. You are carrying out routine maintenance and like-for-like repairs.
  2. If you are decorating the interior of a property in a way that does not alter its structure.

Listed buildings

You must always be granted Listed Building Consent on any project that is going to alter the exterior structure or appearance of a listed building. A ‘listed building’ is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of either architectural or historic interest. When a building is listed it is listed in its entirety, this means that consent must be granted for anything that will markedly change the interior or exterior of a property, including any radio antennas or satellite dishes.

Listed Building Consent is a type of planning control which is designed to protect buildings from structural changes. You can however carry out some work on a listed building without permission, such as:

  1. Routine repairs and like-for-like replacements.
  2. Interior decoration.

It is a criminal offence to carry out any work on a listed building without Listed Building Consent. We recommend you consult your planning authority for guidance on any work you plan on doing. For more information on listed buildings, you can find vital information on the Planning Portal.


Industrial property

In the case of industrial property new builds, there are exceptions to requiring planning permission. These exceptions govern industrial and warehousing premises only under permitted development rights. Industrial and warehousing premises may be built with a general planning permission granted by Parliament and not the Local Planning Authority. However, there are limitations to this, especially so in ‘designated areas’ – if you are planning to build industrial premises in a conservation area you will need planning permission for certain types of work.


How planning permission is granted

Planning permission is decided by your Local Planning Authority. It is granted based on your project development plan, and takes into account:

  1. The number of buildings to be built, their size, location and external appearance.
  2. Available infrastructure such as gas works, electricity, roads.
  3. Landscape and green conservation.
  4. The purpose of the development, such as residential or commercial.
  5. Your development project’s effect on the surrounding area, such as road works, traffic flow and view.

Planning permission usually takes up to 13 weeks to be granted, depending on where your LPA is based – England has the shortest waiting time, on average, at 8 weeks. Large and complex projects have a time limit of 13 weeks – after this period, you can appeal.

The information contained within this article is strictly for guidance only.  Cost2Build recommends that you always check current sources of information in case regulations have changed. Cost2Build cannot accept any liability for miscommunication of the law in the case of a change in regulation or any action done to a property based on the information held in this article.

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