Jargon Buster

 

Development Control

This is the name used by most councils for the department that deals with planning and building control.

 

Planning Permission

Where planning permission (technically known as Planning Approval) is required, the planners have to judge whether the proposal complies with both national and local policies. The planning officer has to make judgements such as: Will the proposal be out of character with the existing property or its surroundings? Will the proposal be out of scale with the existing property? Will the proposal block out light to neighbouring properties? Will proposed windows infringe the privacy of neighbours?

The proposal will be advertised by a notice pinned up nearby and in the local press. Your neighbours will be informed by letter. This is to give anyone concerned by your proposal a chance to voice their opinion. It can be a good idea to discuss you ideas with your neighbours before you make your application. The planning officer will make a decision based on the council’s policies. However, sometimes the proposal will be referred to the planning committee and you may wish to make a representation to this committee.

 

Building Regulations

Building Regulations are rules laid down nationally to ensure that building projects comply with safety standards for matters such as structural integrity, fire safety, ventilation and drainage. They also include increasing measures to improve insulation and other environmental issues. You can ensure that your project complies with Building Regulations by applying for building control approval, either by making a full plans application or by applying for a Building Notice. I can advise you of the differences between these applications and which is more appropriate for your project, when I make my site visit.

 

Building Control

This is the name of the council department that is in charge of ensuring that national building regulations are complied with.

 

Permitted Development

This is the limited number of alterations which householders are allowed to carry out without the need for planning permission. They include some extensions, loft conversions and detached buildings constructed in the garden. However, there are constraints on the sizes of these developments and some sites have their permitted development rights restricted or removed. It is usually best to confirm that a proposal is allowed under permitted development by applying for a certificate of lawfulness in place of planning permission.

I can advise on whether permitted development is relevant when I make my initial site visit.

 

Certificate of Lawfulness

This procedure follows a similar route to a full planning application, although the application is not advertised and there is no consultation with neighbouring properties.

The main benefit of ensuring that you have a Certificate of Lawfulness is if you sell or mortgage your house at a later date as it confirms to any interested parties that the work was allowed, thereby avoiding any unnecessary delays.

 

Structural Calculations

These are usually necessary to calculate the correct sizes of supporting beams (often known as RSJs) which are used in most extensions and loft conversions. Some designers carry them out themselves, as many are quite straightforward. However, when obtaining quotes, it is always worth checking that they are  included in the price as this is not always the case. The calculations are checked as part of the building control process.   Outline Application/Permission

This is an application/permission to establish in principle whether a new building is acceptable on a site

 

Detailed Application/Permission

This is an application/permission for a new building, which includes details of the design of the building, its boundaries, landscaping, highway access etc..

 

Appeals and Re-submissions

If your proposal has not been passed under the planning process the first time, then sometimes a planning officer will agree to an amended scheme. In this case a re-submission can be made. If such agreement cannot be reached it is sometimes worth making an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

 

Party Wall Agreement/Notice/Act

Some works that take place near a boundary or involve the structural use of a wall which is shared with a neighbour, require the permission of that neighbour. The Party Wall Act says that you must serve a Party Wall Notice to your neighbour, who must then agree to you proposals, thus forming a Party Wall Agreement, before you commence work. This agreement will be called upon if there are problems which lead to a dispute and can ultimately be used if legal action is taken. Further details and examples of the notices required can be found if you follow the link below.

Party Wall Information Leaflet

 

Lateral Drains

Drains carrying sewerage from your neighbours properties across yours.

See page Building over Drains for more details.