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Do You Need Planning Permission or Building Regulations | Common Projects & Alterations

Alterations at home often lead to issues on re-sale and remortgage. Homeowners can be caught out by builders and installers who are perhaps unclear on the rules and regulations. This can delay your sale, purchase or remortgage.

Do my alterations at home need planning permission and building regulations

You can avoid this becoming an issue by checking the online government planning portal before works begin. Do not rely on your builder or installer to do this. The onus is on the homeowner. Your contractor may get it wrong and in any event they get to walk away. You do not. The responsibility remains with you.

You will need to consider BOTH planning and building regulations. Having one does not mean you do not need the other. It depends on the works. They are two different things and two different council departments. As usual, neither department speaks to the other. It is up to you to contact each department. You can be pursued for breaches. It has been widely reported in the press about local authorities obtaining court orders requiring that extensions and new builds are torn down.


It is vital that the works are structurally sound as if not that will reduce property value and be revealed in a 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 occupy. Breaches can result in prosecution by the local authority.


If you have had works done but are unclear on whether you obtained Planning Permission and / or Building Regulations Consent then you may be able to obtain Indemnity Insurance. It is available in an instant. However, you need to meet various assumptions or statements of fact for the insurance to be valid. The indemnity insurance policy does not remedy the issue it only insures in certain circumstances. And Insurance is not a coverall and there are some defects that cannot be insured against.

Future Buyers can rely on the policy but further works or revealing the policy’s existence (amongst other things) invalidates 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 is NOT quick. The Council need to attend the property and could require additional works to bring the property to compliance standard. This means time, money and delays for you.


If you breach Government set planning rules then enforcement action must be taken within 4 years for the erection of buildings, and within 10 years in relation to a change of use.


There is no time limit for the council taking enforcement action over breach of building regulations. 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 Buyer's Local Search WILL reveal any council enforcement action that has occurred.


Lastly be aware that some historic deeds contain restrictions against you carrying out alterations without third party landowner consent. It will delay your sale if you do not have consent and if you breach covenants and conditions.

See also my blog articles on:

• Buyer Beware, (Caveat Emptor), • Searches and Survey explained.

• Loft Conversions.

• Common alterations - conservatories & decking

• Solar Panel installation


• Indemnity insurance policies discussed in detail

Find out if you need planning permission (or building regulations) by checking the common projects listed on the Government planning portal.

Common projects


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