Back to News

Planning and Building Regulations

From choosing or assessing a plot to gaining full planning permission, Oakwrights can help all the way.

Every new build and the majority of extensions will require planning permission from the relevant local authority (or National Park). The application for planning permission differs significantly from area to area due to differing local development plans, local interpretation of the regulations and the significant degree of subjectivity involved in the process.

There are two levels of planning permission.

Outline Planning Permission:
Outline planning permission (OPP) is simply permission for the principle of development on a site, for example a 4 bed house. This means that the details of the size, dimensions, materials and access can be decided at a later date. If a plot is granted OPP, you will still need to make a supplementary application for full planning permission and no building work can be undertaken on OPP alone. OPP status is usually valid for three years at which point building will have to have started or re-application will need to be made.

Detailed or Full Planning Permission:
Detailed planning permission (DPP) or full planning permission (FPP) outlines exactly what is going to be built including dimensions, room layouts and building materials. As soon as FPP is granted building work may commence. Sometimes conditions of approval will be attached and these must be complied with during the project. Detailed planning permission is valid for three years.

Pre-application Planning Advice:
When considering a planning application it is useful to have pre-application advice from the relevant planning officer. Some planners have started charging for this service while others refuse to discuss any application without detailed drawings. Central Government policy has been to encourage pre-application meeting to speed up the process and many local authorities have this as a statement of aim within their charters so it is worth checking. Whilst we would never advocate taking a confrontational stance with the planning authorities it is sometimes worthwhile reminding the planners of their obligations as public paid servants.

Further Reading and Plot Information:
Planning and building regulations guidance for many common building work projects can be found on the Planning Portal website. Questions answered range from ‘do you need planning permission?’ to ‘what exactly are your responsibilities?’

The Planning Process:
The process differs slightly depending on the Local Authority (LA), but largely it is as follows:
Once the drawings are submitted, together with the statutory fee, the application is checked to see if it is correct in detail. If any further details are required, the application is usually returned for amendment.

If accepted it is entered on a statutory register. At this point, an 8 week period begins in which the application should be considered. (Where an authority is unable to consider it within the 8 week period they will ask for an extension of time usually with the condition that if this is not granted they will refuse the application).

If the application is non-contentious it will usually be allocated to a planning officer for his recommendation. If thought to be contentious it will go before the full planning committee.

A public consultation exercise will then take place, the extent of which will depend on the impact of the development and the type of area but it always includes the immediate neighbours. This process normally lasts 3 weeks.

Following the public consultation, the planning officer will assess the development against Local Authority’s policies and will either make a decision under delegated powers in non-contentious developments or produce a recommendation for the committee.

You may also need to consider other regulations and consents including the following:

  • Consevation Ares (a conservation officer will normally be part of the process)
  • Listed Building Consent (for extensions or alterations)
  • Tree Protection Orders (TPO’s)
  • Rights of Way (public access)
  • Protection of Wildlife
  • Archeology

Should your application be refused you will either need to resubmit an amended set of plans or appeal to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). You can re-submit without any further payment for a period of 12 months.

Building Regulations

Each home that is built in the UK needs to comply with the current statutory building codes. Prior to building a set of drawings will need to be presented to building control for approval. (It is possible to gain building regulation approval on an inspection only basis but this is only recommended for experienced builders and developers). The Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings, primarily to ensure the safety and health for people in or around those buildings, but also for energy conservation and access to and about buildings. At various stages throughout the build process a building inspector will check to ensure that the building complies with current legislative demands.

Understanding Building Regulations:
It is important to understand building regulations because as the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations. The requirements with which building work should comply are contained in Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations and are grouped under the fourteen ‘parts’ below:

Part A – Structure
Part B – Fire safety
Part C – Site preparation and resistance to moisture
Part D – Toxic substances
Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound
Part F – Ventilation
Part G – Hygiene
Part H – Drainage and waste disposal
Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
Part K – Protection from falling, collision and impact
Part L – Conservation of fuel and power
Part M – Access to and use of buildings
Part N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning
Part P – Electrical safety

Architects & Oak Frame Design Specialists
Oakwrights can supply full building regulation drawings designed by architects who fully understand the link between oak frames and conventional build. Clients should be aware that building regulation drawings need only satisfy the specific details required by building control and are not full constructional drawings. However in most cases our Building regulations drawings go beyond the minimum requirements with a set of drawings that, where appropriate, offer additional aids to the build process. As all our houses are bespoke there is no standard rate and this service is offered as a separate contract with a price agreed beforehand with the client.