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Article:  Why You Do Not Always Need Planning Permission for a Home Extension Project Published 8th March 2011

Did you know that you do not always need to obtain planning permission if you are making certain minor changes to your home?

Commonly referred to as “permitted development rights” these cover certain developments to your property and not many people know that even an extension will not always need planning permission.

The best thing to do at the outset is to contact your local planning department to check whether you do need to apply for planning permission. I know this may sound simplistic but there are many cases where people have assumed that they do not need any authorization for their developments and then end up having to have the new building work dismantled and they have lost all of the time and money invested.

The main considerations when planning any changes to the structure of your home are:

· Design – is the design in keeping with your current property and the surrounding area

· Neighbours – always include your neighbours in any plans to extend your property as it may affect them and if you do need to obtain permission they will be more sympathetic to your proposals if you have already discussed it with them

· Building regulations – take into account the standards of the construction and also energy efficiency when planning your development as this will help you to ensure that your build is safe and to current regulations

One great way of ensuring that your project gets off to a flying start is to engage the services of a local architect who will discuss the project with you and give you educated advice and will also draw up the required plans and submit them to the local authority for you.

When you need a builder to provide the work ensure that you do your homework first to avoid any costly problems at a later date. Always get three quotes and ask around with local neighbours who may have had work done recently as a personal recommendation is worth its weight in gold.

Include the builder and architect at all stages and when the work starts you will get visits from the building controls officer who will ensure that the development goes to plan and point out any potential problems.

A final bit of valuable advice is to ensure that all the work is agreed in writing and discuss in detail with the builder and architect each stage of the work so all expectations can be set before the first brick is laid.