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Another planning permission one...

(14 Posts)
christinarossetti Wed 02-Apr-14 15:29:49

Hi there,

Going to look at a house which has an extension. I can't find any info about planning permission online, although have found out through the good Zoopla that the last sale of the house was in 1999 and, given the number of bedrooms listed, the extension was built prior to that.

I know I'm thinking ahead, but if planning permission wasn't obtained (or we're told that it was, and later find out that the estate agent made a mistake.....), would that affect any current sale?


LondonGirl83 Wed 02-Apr-14 15:43:13

Depends on when they did it. If more than 4 years have passed, then the authorities don't have enforcement powers anymore. Essentially after 4 years, planning is no longer an issue. Also, certain extensions don't need planning approval as they can be done under permitted development. If I were you, I'd focus on them having building regs approval for the work. You can ask that directly and ask that the info be provided to you solicitor prior to you incurring the cost of a survey if you are nervous.

Good luck!

christinarossetti Wed 02-Apr-14 15:53:05

Thanks - are building regs different from planning permission? Is that what has to be 'passed' once work is completed?

Never done it, so hazy about process.

Good idea about asking for info prior to survey!

LondonGirl83 Wed 02-Apr-14 16:06:10

Yes, planning permission is mostly about design. The planners agree that what you have designed is okay (not too big, won't unreasonably harm your neighbours enjoyment of their property, is attractive etc).

Building regs approval ensures what has been built is up to the relevant code at that time and is of safe / sound construction.

Not having planning permission for work is a financial risk as the planners could take enforcement action and make you rip down what you've built if its still within the time frame of 4 years post completion.

Not having building regs approval for an extension is a health a safety risk! I wouldn't go near a house that didn't have sign off unless it was withheld for one or two minor points that could be covered by insurance-- ie windows not installed by a FENSA firm etc.

christinarossetti Wed 02-Apr-14 16:15:47

Thanks, that's very helpful.

If the extension is over 15 years old, as seems to be the case, I guess that building regs will have changed anyway.

MummytoMog Wed 02-Apr-14 16:19:46

We bought our house with a loft conversion, didn't have planning, didn't need it. Anyway, thing turned out to be a total death trap, damaging the fabric of the main house. Wasn't picked up by our crap surveyor, even when we had a structural survey done, was only really apparent when we decided to rip it off and redo it, at which point the entire house 'bounced'. The loft conversion was literally sitting on the ceiling joists and side walls, and was pushing the side wall of the house off. Thankfully nobody ever really lived up there, but it cost us the price of a new conversion to fix it. If I ever meet that surveyor again...

MummytoMog Wed 02-Apr-14 16:21:22

The original conversion was about fifteen years old or so. Dodgy wiring, no insulation, no proper support, death trap stairs. I could go on.

christinarossetti Wed 02-Apr-14 16:46:44

That sort of thing is exactly what bugs me about the whole survey process. It feels like you're paying a wodge of cash for some sort of professional scrutiny, but they seem to regularly miss so much.

MillyMollyMama Thu 03-Apr-14 00:56:54

MummytoMog and Christina. Surveyors are not Structural Engineers. They are not qualified to look at structures in a detailed way. However, no surveyor should miss walls moving and you should have sued him/her if you had a full structural survey. This name is a joke as most surveyors ask a Strucural a Engineer to do a report on the tricky bits - assuming they have spotted them in the first place of course. This is why a school wall collapsed! No-one qualified checked the wall I suspect. If you want to know if a property is structurally sound, you need a report from a Structural Engineer.

Also planning permission is not building regulations. Building regs do cover loft conversions and I would not go near a loft conversion without building regs. These cover such things as staircase, fire doors etc. There are too many unsound loft conversions undertaken by unqualified builders who know nothing about how a structure works and loading bearing walls and beams. Hence your loft conversion pushing the walls out MummytoMog.

MummytoMog Thu 03-Apr-14 23:21:44

I did expect him to pick up on structural issues though - given we had a standard survey and a specific structural survey because of a large willow tree and some external cracking to the house. I don't expect a normal surveyor to pick up anything they can't see from the pavement outside the house...

MummytoMog Thu 03-Apr-14 23:23:18

Our standard survey was fine, picked up everything I expected it to. It was more that we then got a structural engineer to do a specific structural survey which didn't pick it up.

HeartShapedStone Thu 03-Apr-14 23:28:52

Does anyone happen to know whether getting retrospective planning permission also involves passing building regs? We have a loft conversion, done by previous owner, no evidence of fire doors/ fireproof staircases. If he got retrospective planning before selling are we safe or looking at a similar scenario to MummutoMog's? [Gulp] Survey didn't mention any major problems...

christinarossetti Fri 04-Apr-14 20:37:39

I think the issue would be getting it through building regs, heart rather than planning permission.

This thread has been an education.

MrsTaraPlumbing Sat 05-Apr-14 17:25:18

Retrospective plannning permission is completely different to Building Regulations.
Building regulations can be applied for retrospectively - they cost a bit more than getting it done in advance and does involve some disruption as the structure has to be exposed so the officer can inspect the construction making sure it complied with what ever Building Regs were in place when it was built.

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