Unintentionally over planning permission

(15 Posts)
hotcrossbun83 Sat 08-Aug-15 22:47:00

Have a complete nightmare situation and can't sleep for worrying!

We just had a loft extension built, used a loft company that arranged the planning permission and builder, buildings control etc basically everything.

A few weeks ago a man knocked in the door from the council and said he had been made aware that our loft may be higher than permitted. We had absolutely no knowledge of this at all. He said we would hear within a couple of weeks and we didn't so assumed/hoped that it was all ok, but we just got an email to say that loft is higher than the roof line and we have to rectify it immediately.

The builder was round recently fixing something so I mentioned it (before we had the email) and he said yes of course he built a bit higher, everyone does and he pointed out various other recent lofts that were the same. It's a ridge a few cm above the roof line.

How do we handle this?! I think the loft company are fully accountable, they did the planning application and it's their builders so how could they do this without even asking us? We're can't begin to work out how to fix it and to make it more complicated I'm pregnant with ds 2

ICantDecideOnAUsername Sat 08-Aug-15 22:59:04

That was very naughty of the builders but unfortunately your property, your responsibility (in planning terms - you could sue the builder i suppose or maybe get them to rectify it free of charge). Sorry. The council may decide not to do anything formal. It only becomes lawful 4 years after the work is complete (if they do nothing), but as they've now emailed it seems they may not leave it. Legally you don't have to do anything until/unless they serve an enforcement notice on you, and even then there is the right of appeal (within a very strict time limit). But if you do not appeal or do not win the appeal the development will become illegal and they can then prosecute you.

I can't quite understand how it could be above the roof line anyway and why they would do it like that. But clearly they don't have to deal with the consequences.

wowfudge Sun 09-Aug-15 07:59:44

Surely you mean they do have to deal with the consequences?

OnePlanOnHouzz Sun 09-Aug-15 08:55:49

Legally it's the home owners responsibility not the builders ! Sad but true !
The builder should have adhered to the plan that was approved - so he's in breach of what you agreed with them what to do - so in theory they should rectify it for you as its not what you agreed .

wowfudge Sun 09-Aug-15 09:13:11

If we had builders who had put us in that position, we would be getting it put right or suing!

wowfudge Sun 09-Aug-15 09:15:21

And while we're at it: they weren't 'naughty'. Children are naughty. They were stupid, reckless and showed no regard or respect for their customers.

Marmitelover55 Sun 09-Aug-15 13:02:45

Our builder accidentally built our single story extension 300mm too long. He misread the plans and so did we. The planning dept sent someone to measure it apparently due to random selection. They then wrote to us about it. We spoke to them informally and they told us that they would not be taking any enforcement action against us. They said we could apply for retrospective planning permission for the change or wait for 4 years and if no one objected it would be ok due to "the four year rule". Hope yours is ok too winecake

PettsWoodParadise Sun 09-Aug-15 13:46:57

Just a thought but are you certain the person who emailed you is a council official and what you've receive isn't something that has been spoofed? I have heard of insurance companies trying to sell indemnities for building work that is slightly out of kilter and make a tasty profit. Some insurance can be genuinely helpful hence the confusion and ease with which they come across as genuine. Just a thought and apoligies if a red herring but wanted to mention it. Hope all works out for you.

mandy214 Sun 09-Aug-15 18:40:56

I think you need to make a formal complaint to the builders. They need to resolve this either by seeking retrospective permission for the increased height or by reducing the height to comply with the permission.

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Sun 09-Aug-15 20:35:26

This happened to a friend of mine. Her loft conversion was something like 1.5 cubic metres bigger then pp. I think it projected too far out at the back of the house.

The local council made her take it down. It cost an absolute fortune.

I wouldn't assume this will go away, and be prepared to get the loft company back to rectify their error.

hotcrossbun83 Mon 10-Aug-15 05:50:53

Thanks all. Pretty sure it's officially unfortunately, I know the council visited to check and saw his id.

Yes my first stop will be calling the loft company this am. Even if they lower the roof for us I'm worried how disruptive that's going to be given that the bathroom and carpets are installed ��

The first council visitor did mention something about retrospective planning application so I will ask the loft company about it. I basically expect them to fix this one way or the other or we'll talk legal action. We still owe them last £1500 payment but that's not much in scheme of things.

What I don't know is how we can point out that a few others on our street have done exactly the same thing? I don't want to put others in the position we are but it also doesn't seem fair that we are the only ones pulled up on it and I do wonder if they're really going to make multiple house all lower their roof by a few cm

Minionkeeper Mon 10-Aug-15 07:37:33

If other people have done it then there is precedent for eaising the ridge. You therefore have a reasonable chance of retrospective consent for the work.

If the company start to play hardball and refuse to resolve it or drag their feet over it then i would have no issue with going public about their flagrant abuse of the planning system. Goidness knows how many other people have fallen victim to them taking the piss over planning rules.

mandy214 Wed 12-Aug-15 16:40:39

How do you know others on the same street have done it? Surely if its a question of a few cm, how can you be sure just from looking at it that its the same measurement as yours? How do you know that they didn't submit the right plans and got the necessary approval? I know you can check online for planning permission but not sure building reg approvals are public??

hotcrossbun83 Fri 14-Aug-15 14:54:41

Building regs doesn't let you build higher than your existing roof line, and you can see all these have as it's a line of terraced houses and these roofs are higher than their neighbours. So either they had building regs and built higher (like us) or they applied for planning to do it - if this is the case our retrospective planning app should be approved since others have been

Update - we're going to try to retrospective planning on the basis of above. Currently negotiating with the loft company over them paying for the drawings and application but we owe them £1500 so if needs be we'll pay for it and deduct from that. If that fails the builder has confirmed he can lower the roof line without touching the internal structure. Which begs the question, why didn't he just do that in the first place, grr. But I'm a bit calmer now I know the worst case doesn't involve dismantling the whole thing

wowfudge Fri 14-Aug-15 14:56:50

Kind of doesn't make sense: why do it if there's no benefit internally?

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