Planning Laws for Homes in the UK
Moving home can be a very expensive business, it is estimated that the actual cost has tripled in the last ten years. On average, moving home costs in excess of £10,000 and if you factor in stamp duty on higher value homes, the price increases even more. Many homeowners are happy in their own home, they simply want more space, thus extending outwards and upwards are worthwhile considerations.
The starting point, is to discover if you will actually be allowed to alter your home by contacting your local authority, certainly if you live in a listed building or a conservation area, you may find the rules and regulations are a little more stringent and the process may take longer to complete.
Many property owners have carried out alterations to their property only to discover at a later date that if sought, planning permission would not have been granted, some homeowners have been forced to demolish their alterations and additions. Most local authorities will have different rules and regulations mainly to make sure that any alteration you are planing will be in keeping with the existing properties in the area. Not all development needs planning permission, changes that do not affect the external appearance of a building do not require official permission, small changes to the outside of a building may also not need permission but you should always check with your local authority who will be able to supply you with information on what you can and cant do.
Before actually speaking to your local authority, a good idea, is to speak to your near neighbours, if you are likely to receive any objections, this is usually where they come from. Alterations to properties can be a source of long term friction between neighbours and you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot.
Once you are in possession of what you can and cant do, it’s a choice between extending your home outwards or upwards. Most outward alterations tend to be to increase living space whilst loft conversions are usually carried out to add a bedroom and perhaps an extra toilet or shower to the property. Planning, is essential at this stage and employing a local architect to draw up the detail for you is essential, discuss with them, your needs to make sure that the extra space you are thinking of adding to the property is actually useful. Make sure you take in to consideration the fixtures and fittings you will want to have instilled and before proceeding to the actual build phase, make sure you can source the correct fixtures and fittings you require and that they will fit. Also make sure that you have discussed plumbing and electrical requirements, if you are intending to use a loft extension as a study or home office, you will need to ensure it has enough power points. Some firms, specialising in extensions or loft conversions will be able to assist you with the plans and they even include the cost of this in there quotations.
Cost is always a big factor with this type of work and the only real way to make sure you are receiving the best deal, is to ask as many companies as your time permits, to provide you with a quotation. Of course, it’s not all about price, ask to see local examples of their work that you can view. it’s also a good idea to ask your neighbours who they have used in the past, from close neighbours, you are more likely to obtain an unbiased opinion.
Before work commences, make sure you have discussed home insurance arrangements with the building contractor, always ask to see a copy of their public liability insurance to make sure they have adequate cover. Also enquire who will be insuring any materials that are left on the site. If you are already living in the dwelling house, you will need to inform your home insurance company, that you are having works carried out. You may find that they are either unwilling to continue with your cover or will want to restrict your exiting cover and or apply additional terms and conditions. Many homeowners overlook to advise their insurance company but most property alterations involving the structure of the house, do need to be advised as they are deemed to be material facts. In the event of a claim, if you have not informed your insurers, you may find your cover is compromised.
Assetsure provides UK home insurance for buildings and contents for homeowners in the United Kingdom.