Living in the UK and planning to build an extension to your home? This article will give you an overview of what you need to know before you even start.
Know the Law
The government of UK has an online portal that is very user friendly and gives you all the information about regulations and laws that apply to building your extension. The website is www.planningportal.gov.uk. Here, you can download, for free, all the regulations you will ever need to know to keep you on the right side of the law.
Meet Officials from your Local Council Planning Department
This requires filling up a few forms with all the information needed for them to decide whether or not to give you permission for this project. Even if you do not need permission to go ahead with a particular project, you would still need to get a written approval stating that no permission is required. The more prepared you are for this meeting, with sketches and photos, the better it would be.
Meet Officials from your Local Building Control Department
Once you get your approval from the planning department, it would be time to meet up with the building control department. Here, you will have to pay a fee as regulated by the law, which depends on the dimensions of your extension.
Keep your Neighbours in the Loop
You don’t want your neighbors taken by surprise with your building project. There will always be a certain level of noise and discomfort for all when a building is going on and you don’t want your neighbors to complain that they weren’t informed!
Be Aware of Minimum Room Sizes
There are minimum room sizes under law that are specified by local planning bodies. It would be wise to know about this before you even start planning your extension in order to avoid future revisions.
Know Your Trees
If building an extension to your home in the UK involves cutting down a tree or two, or more, then it would be necessary to know about the Tree Preservation Order. This is for trees within a Conservation Area that have a trunk diameter that is greater than 75 mm. Cutting down such trees is a criminal offense.
Claiming Relief on VAT
To get relief from VAT, you need to employ a builder that is VAT registered. There are also some extension projects that are eligible for relief from VAT. These are if you are extending a structure that has been unoccupied for two years, converting an existing building by changing the number of units, and work to buildings that are listed.
Be Aware of the Party Wall Act
This is not covered by planning or building control. It works to harmonize arrangements between builders and neighbors while ensuring that everybody’s rights are protected. This is needed if you are building an extension that stretches between the boundary of yours and your neighbor’s properties.
Knowing all these points before you even start an extension will surely save you lots of time, money, and heartache later!