Home Improvements – Planning Permission – get it right!
It seems that the proof isn’t so much in the pudding as in the planning when it comes to a spot of home improvement!
Homeowners in the UK have shelled out more than £6bn on unauthorised home improvements in the last five years, with one in 10 bending the rules to get thehouse of their dreams.
Insurance firm LV= has discovered that home improvements in a tenth of homes in the UK contravene building regulations, from simple drainage projects to complete house renovations.
Home Improvements-Check Planning Permission and Building Regs
Builders and surveyors claim that building regs are commonly being flouted, with a staggering 26% of those surveyed saying they had seen extensions where a breach had occurred. One in five builders and surveyors have come across loft conversions where building regs had not been followed, and 14% had seen walls taken down and chimneys and fireplaces removed without the regulations being adhered to. Eight per cent were aware of rule-breaking conservatories and more than three per cent had seen unauthorised rooms created out of cellars and basements.
In the same five-year period, 176,000 homeowners have been ordered to rectify building work which flouted the rules, whilst one in five had had a retrospective planning application turned down.
Home improvement has been seen as a solution to the economic downturn, with many homeowners unable to move or trapped in negative equity. But planning regulations are often viewed as confusing, and this is not helped when planning laws change. In September 2012, the government announced that homeowners would soon be able to extend detached homes by 8m and non-detached houses by 6m without the need for planning permission.
This was intended as good news. But a fifth of those who have carried out major work since the announcement believe that the changes are already in effect, and anyone who has carried out work without planning permission might have to get it reversed if they can’t get permission retrospectively.
Home Improvements- Ignore Planning Permission At Your Peril!
Conversion and extension projects might also lead to other problems. Carrying out work at your property might well affect your insurance policy, yet 47% of homeowners did not tell their insurers about the changes.
LV= home insurance MD John O’Roarke said: “Many homeowners are choosing to improve or extend their homes as they are unable to move or choose not to, but have little understanding of the ‘red tape’ involved with building work.
“Breaching building regulations or planning rules can lead to hefty fines or an order to reverse any offending work. Those intending to make substantial changes to a property should consult their local authority for advice on the rules and inform their insurer of their plans to ensure they have adequate cover in place should the worst happen.”
Despite the confusion, extending your home or converting a space does not have to be complicated. Decide what you want to do and chat to a reputable local builder, as well as your local planning officer, about any home improvements you plan to carry out.