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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2010, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Hello Everyone
We also have this problem. We have had a single storey extension built to the back of our 1900s terrace house earlier this year. We were told that no planning permission/building regs approval applied as it was within permitted size limits. However we have been told that these may apply by a friend when he came to visit. The council is not aware of the breach.
From what I have read it:
Planning permission not needed - as it does not exceed 3m from the rear wall of the original house and 4m in height and the floor area including outbuildings is not more than 50% of the total area of the land.
Building regulation approval needed – as all the work has been done, trying to get retrospective building regs approval may mean costly investigation work by inspectors and risk of demolition or restated to original form if it’s not acceptable.
I have read about the 1year time limit of building reg have on enforcement action. However I am not sure what to do.
Also I was thinking of getting a surveyor to check the extension to make sure there are no issues with it.
Do I have to wait a year to get indemnity insurance for not having building regs approval for the extension? Can I get it now? Or do I wait until I want to sell the property to get the indemnity insurance ( I have no plans in selling at the moment, however I may want to rent it out in the future).
Should I go to a special insurer to get the indemnity insurance or my existing buildings and contents insurer? My existing insurer may void my insurance...
Its all confusing and we have been worrying about it since our friend came to visit.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:32 PM
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Location: Tenterden, Kent
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

If I understand correctly, you had the extension built

If so, the Building Regualtions consent should have been obtained, and a statisfactory final inspection carried out. If this was not done, (a) why not? (ask the builder) and (b) the best thing would be to get retrospective approval - the council will wanmt to see the designs and calculations and may want foundations and structural supports exposed - I suggest you contact a non-council Building Regs inspector for advice

To see whether you should have obtained planning permission (ie: whether the extension is "permitted development" or not) see -
Development within the Curtilage of a Dwellinghouse

Indemnitry insurance will not be available until the building has been completed for at least a year

If you are worried about the structure, speak to the non-council Building Regs inspector urgently - he/she may recommend getting advice from a structural engineer or building surveyor
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This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Thank you for that link. It seems planning permission was not required. We had thought planning and building regs permission were one of the same thing! From what the builder seemed to suggest. No plans were drawn up, the builder just built an extenstion/foundations to the same dimensions as others on our street. Looking back we have been completely naive about how the whole process worked. We have been trying to contact the builder, can't get through to him, its like he has disappeared off the face of the Earth.

I will try to get a non-council building regs inspector, do you know of any websites that reccommend non-council inspectors? I don't want to contact to end up calling someone who is not qualified. I have become mistrusting of everyone.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:50 AM
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Location: Tenterden, Kent
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

You could try this guy - Home Page -

He is based in Maidstone in Kent - I don't know where you are, though
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This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Thank you, I will get in contact with them and get some advice. Also thank you for your time and advice, it is nice to know good people are out there to help/advise.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 05-10-2010, 08:55 AM
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Location: Tenterden, Kent
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

No problem - good luck!
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This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum
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Old 18-10-2010, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Similar query: we're in the process of buying a house which was built 20 years ago with planning for 3 beds. At time of building owner / builder turned roof space above attached garage into 4th bedroom. No change to outside compared to plans. What are the implications? We're trying to pursue a certificate of lawfulness.
Many thanks
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 19-10-2010, 08:11 AM
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Location: Tenterden, Kent
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

The planning aspect should not be a problem: I would have thought the whole house has a permitted use as a single private dwelling and converting the roof space would be within that.

Building Regulations compliance is a much bigger issue I suspect. Again, I suggest you consult a non-council approved building inspector for advice
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This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 19-10-2010, 09:43 AM
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Posts: 6
Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Hi,

Just thought I should offer some advice as a frustrated FTB. I have recently tried to purchase a house where a conservatory had been added and had to learn the difference between planning permission/building regs approval first hand. It was an incredibly long and frustrating process and we ended up losing money on the solicitor and survey as the vendor pulled out when our solicitor insisted on getting the necessary retrospective approvals/certificate of lawfulness or at least the indemnity insurance.

My advice is get all the necessary in place, even if it proves a nightmare - in my situation I expect the next buyer will probably pick up on the same issues. With mortgages so hard to get (and this was not our case) it's important a vendor who is serious about selling understands the implications for someone who is about to sign such a commitment - it's your home and your responsibility to understand all the legal terms. I agree that BR departments can be vague when they offer advice(they would sometimes tell you over the phone BR is not required as claimed our vendor), but beware - in order to qualify for the exception you still need to meet other requirements (electrical systems, windows etc) and you need to have at least a written record of their visit to inspect the works. Otherwise, it will affect the saleability of your property
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 19-10-2010, 12:20 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 553
Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Yes, make sure you do comply and also make sure your solicitor has all the relevant paperwork for any extensions and works requiring compliance with planing and building regulations.

Also some works require consent under covenants in the title - and people tend to forget what their solicitor who acted when they purchased told them about that.
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RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.
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