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The Difference Between Building Control and Planning Permission

Jun 25, 2020 | Helpful Guides | 0 comments

Do you know and understand the difference between planning permission and building control? If not, you’re in good company. Most people don’t really know the difference between the two. It’s confusing.

First, building control and planning permission are two separate services that determine how a building will be constructed and its appearance. What’s even more confusing is that these two individual services are often needed in order to construct certain types of buildings.

If you want to construct a new permanent building, or alter an existing structure, you’ll need to have building regulation consent. After this, you’ll then need planning permission, which determines if construction of the building will be allowed or not. It’s important to know that all major construction of buildings need planning permission from a local council. However, if the project is small, it may not require planning permission.

Still confused? We understand! And it can be difficult to know if you need building approval or planning permission for your project. When it doubt, it’s always best to get advice from professional architects or those on the council’s development control team before starting any project.

Building Control

Building control has to do with the construction of the building. Depending on the type of building, this may be required before you can begin the project. Building control is a process that is done to make sure the new building is built in the right way, so that it is a safe and healthy place for people who will be in and around the building. This includes not only the building, but also ensures the building meets energy conservation measures, and that people with disabilities are able to access and move easily within the building, and more.

The process begins with reviewing the plans and details that are submitted with an application. And once construction begins, the building control continues with inspections of the construction work.

Building control regulations set the minimum standard needed for design, construction and all alterations, and these apply to almost every building. The process can be handled by the local council or through companies that are certified to grant permission. In fact, many times these companies make the entire process faster, cheaper (most of the time) and clearer. This can be the case if you’re building a garden room, for instance, which exceeds £25,000.

When it comes to building a garden room, you’ll only need a building regulation compliance certificate if the room area is over 30 metres square.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is the process of giving permission for a construction project to proceed. Permission is usually given by the local council or planning authorities. All construction, except those that are “permitted developments” must have planning permission in order to move forward.

Planning permission is done to ensure that the principles of development follow local rules and national policies. The process also reviews whether or not the construction project could cause harm, such as damage to a neighbor’s property.

Permission is usually not needed for a garden room, but there are some considerations and rules you need to be aware of.

Your Garden Room Doesn’t Need Planning Permission If…

If your garden room meets these considerations, then you will not need planning permission:

1). Building should not be closer to a road or public highway than the original house. Keep in mind that if the house has been extended since 1948, that area will take away from the permitted development allowance. And the garden room cannot be located forward of the front of the main wall of the original house (a house built before 1948).

2). The building does not occupy more than 50% of the area (garden) surrounding the original house.

3). In National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or World Heritage Sites, if the garden room is placed more than 20 metres from any wall of the house, the building area must not exceed 10 metres square.

4). Building height should not go over:

  • 4 meters, in the case of a building with a dual-pitched roof
  • 2.5 meters, for a building within 2 meters of the boundary of the garden
  • 3 meters in all other cases

5). The building will not be sued as a self-contained accommodation

6). The building is not allowed to have an antenna

7). If the building is located on top of decking, the decking can’t be over 30 cm high

For any project that does not meet these considerations, you will be required to obtain planning permission from the local council. If you build the project without planning permission, you’ll be required to take the building down and may face fines.

While determining the difference between building control and planning permission can be confusing, they are separate services that govern different aspects of construction projects, including garden rooms.

You’ll only need building control if your garden room measures more than 30 square meters, and planning permission is only required if your planned garden room does not meet the considerations listed above.

We always recommend seeking out a professional if you have any doubts or questions about what regulations or permissions may be needed to construct your garden room. It’s much better to get this figured out before starting the garden room project.

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