Do You Need Planning Permission or Building Regulations for Alterations?

Updated: Jul 29

Check your alterations against the common projects listed on the Governments planning portal to find out what you need.

Alterations at Home can cause issues on Re-sale and Remortgage and this results in Conveyancing delays. Avoid this by checking the portal.

Do not rely on your builder / installer. They frequently get it wrong. However, they get to walk away. You do not. The responsibility is yours.

You will need to consider both planning and building regulations as these are two different things. Having one does not mean you do not need the other. It depends on the work in question.

It is vital the works are structurally sound as that will damage your property value and be revealed in the buyer‘s survey. Building regulations are there to ensure structural integrity and safety. No one wants to buy an unsafe property for their family to live in.

You may be able to obtain Indemnity Insurance, with a one off premium. However, you need to meet various assumptions or statements of fact for the insurance to be valid.

Future Buyers can rely on the policy but subsequent works and revealing the policy’s existence (amongst other things) will invalidate the insurance. Be careful not to breach the policy terms and conditions.

If Indemnity Insurance is NOT possible the only other option is retrospective consent. This takes time. The Council need to attend the property and could require additional works to bring the property to compliance standard. This means time and money spent - and delays.


Enforcement action must be taken within 4 years for the erection of buildings, and within 10 years in relation to changes of use (unless it relates to the change of use to a dwelling), and breaches of conditions.


There is no time limit for the council taking enforcement action regarding breach of building regulations. However, Conveyancers tend to consider works aged 20 plus years to be historic and enforcement action highly unlikely. Less than 20 years though and they will seek indemnity insurance.

The Buyers Local Search WILL reveal council enforcement action. Lastly be aware that some historic deeds contain restrictions against you carrying out alterations without third party consent. This will delay your sale if you don’t have consent.

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