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approval process

do i need planning?

Some extensions can come under what is called Permitted Development, i.e. being able to extend without having to apply for planning. However the rules, as to whether your proposal needs planning approval, are many and complex for the layperson to understand. A long list of if's and buts' and endless caveats.

Don't fall into the category of "well a mate down the pub said that his pals auntie built a much bigger extension and that didn't need planning". Each site and proposal is unique and has to be viewed on its own merit and against the rules. Don't even accept the planning authority's word for it unless they give it in writing.

We regularly pick up projects where worried new clients say "I built an extension that I was told didn't need planning and now the enforcement officer is threatening legal action to pull it down". Contact us first and this won't happen to you and you can laugh at the ones it does.

Planning PortalIf you are not sure if you need planning approval then by far the best solution is just to ask us, but if you're still too shy to ask and really don't want to speak to us yet then the next best source of information is The Planning Portal http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/ and follow the interactive guides on http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/ . These guides can explain simply the rules and caveats involved.

However even if you find you don't need planning approval and what you want to build comes under permitted development you will still need to obtain a certificate of lawfulness from the council confirming you didn't need planning and that the development is...well...legal!. You will need this if you ever intend to sell the house.

Then regardless of the above method of confirming the planning status you will always... yes always... need Building regulations Approval.

My Plans 2 Extend

What are the Building regulations?

The Building Regulations apply to building work in England & Wales and set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

Do I need planning?

application and approval process

How the application is dealt with by the Local Authority

If you really like to know what goes on, the information below charts and explains the planning submission and approval process in detail. However you don't really need to concern yourself to much with this, with myplans2extend as your agent we understand this process fully and handle the application on your behalf. You can sit back and relax in the knowledge we are on the case.

Approval Process


On submission of your planning application, the council should acknowledge receipt within a few days. Applications are checked to make sure that all the required documentation and plans are present and that the correct fee has been submitted. If anything is missing the council will contact the applicant requesting the required information before the application can be validated and registered.

If the applicant has appointed an agent (you have the option for myplans2extend to deal with your application) all communications during the process will go to the agent.


The application is entered into the register of applications and an acknowledgement letter is sent to the applicant/agent. The letter will provide the name of the case officer dealing with the application, the application reference number and the date by which we should make a decision on the application.


Details of the application will be published so that local people are made aware of the proposals. It also provides an opportunity for people to comment on how they think the proposed development might affect them or the character of the area. This publicity can take the form of letters, planning lists, site notices, adverts in the local press and the website. Consultations will also take place with the statutory agencies, utility companies and other council departments.


As a guideline, the council should decide your application within eight weeks. If it cannot do so, it will usually seek your written consent to extend the period. If, after the end of the eight week period, you have not heard from the council either giving/refusing consent or asking for an extension, you can appeal to the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. But appeals can take several months to decide and it may be quicker to reach agreement with the council.

Refusal of permission

The council must give reasons when refusing planning permission or imposing conditions. Council staff will be happy to explain these reasons or conditions if they are not clear. It is probably worth discussing with the council whether making changes to your plans will affect the outcome of the application.


If you think your application has been unfairly treated by the council, you can make an appeal to the Secretary of State. Any appeals must be made within six months of the date of the council's notice of decision.

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our philosophies

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  • Good design can offer a more relaxed lifestyle.
  • Each project is unique to client & designer.
  • Your project is our project together we build.
  • The space we create can last a lifetime.
  • Always working with our clients to achieve the right outcome.
  • We work harder so you don't have to.
  • The quality of our service provided forms the focus for us to achieve not only our goals but your goals as well.
  • We believe in total honesty from the start of your project right through to the desired outcome.
  • Our intention is to provide clients with a stress free in house design experience.
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Alan Mayhew, My Plans 2 Extend
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"Alan Mayhew (and Simon Whitehead) from My Plans 2 Extend listened carefully to our brief, ideas and concerns (we had been badly burned by our previous experiences), they went away and designed a scheme for us that consists of 3 highly unique executive houses and one workshop on our site in Bishop Auckland, County Durham."
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Andrew Hancock, 3 New Dwellings, Westerton

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"I have used Phil Anderson at My Plans 2 Extend for my last twenty planning jobs in Durham. He is professional, on time, clever with the drawings and good value for money. I recommend him unreservedly."
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Nick Swift, Hope Estates Limited

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"From start to finish Alan Mayhew and his team were excellent to deal with. Our project was quite complicated involving bringing an old tired house up to modern standards. My Plans 2 Extend achieved this with sympathy to the original design yet boldness that maximised space use and natural lighting."
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Geoff Cook, Dwelling Extension, Shincliffe
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building regulations

What are the Building regulations?

The Building Regulations apply to building work in England & Wales and set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

Is Building Regulations approval the same as planning permission?

Building Regulations approval is a separate matter from obtaining planning permission for your work. Similarly, receiving any planning permission which your work may require is not the same as taking action to ensure that it complies with the Building Regulations.

Failure to comply with the Building Regulations

If you do not follow the building control procedures set out for handling your building work or you carry out building work which does not comply with the requirements contained in the Building Regulations you will have contravened them.

Enforcement Notices & Fines

The local authority has a general duty to enforce the Building Regulations in its area and will seek to do so by informal means wherever possible.

Where an approved inspector is providing the Building Control Service, the responsibility for checking that the Building Regulations are complied with during the course of your building work will lie with that inspector. They will usually do this by advising you. However, approved inspectors do not have enforcement powers. Instead, the regulations provide that in a situation where they consider your building work does not comply with the Building Regulations they will not issue you with a final certificate and in addition will cancel the initial notice by notifying your local authority. If no other approved inspector takes on the work, the Building Control Service will automatically be taken on by your local authority. From this point on your local authority will also have enforcement powers to require you to alter your work, if they consider this necessary.

If a person carrying out building work contravenes the Building Regulations, the local authority or another person may decide to take them to the magistrates' court where they could be fined up to £5000 for the contravention, and up to £50 for each day the contravention continues after conviction (section 35 of the Building Act 1984). This action will usually be taken against the builder or main contractor, and proceedings must be taken within two years from the completion of the work. Alternatively, or in addition, the local authority may serve an enforcement notice on the owner requiring them to alter or remove work which contravenes the regulations (section 36 of the 1984 Act). If the owner does not comply with the notice the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs of doing so from the owner.

A section 36 enforcement notice cannot be served on you after the expiration of 12 months from the date of completion of the building work, but this does not affect a local authority's (or any other person's) right to apply to the Courts for an injunction for the same purpose. A local authority also cannot take enforcement action under section 36 if the work which you have carried out is in accordance with your plans which the authority approved or failed to reject within the statutory time of five weeks (or two months with your agreement) from deposit of the plans.

Impact On Selling The Property

My Plans 2 ExtendNotwithstanding the possibility of the enforcement action, you should bear in mind that if the Local Authority considers that building work carried out does not comply with the Building Regulation and it is not rectified, the authority will not issue you with a completion certificate and the contravention may come to light through a local land search enquiry when you wish to sell your property.

Difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations

It is generally realised that a form of permission is required for building work or alterations of properties. However, it may not always be clear how the Planning and Building Regulations approval regimes differ.

You may also have responsibilities under the construction health and safety regulations.

Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment.

For many types of building work, separate permission under both regimes (separate processes) will be required. For other building work, such as internal alterations, Buildings Regulations approval will probably be needed, but Planning permission may not be. If you are in any doubt you should contact your Local Planning Authority or a Building Control Body.

If you are carrying out, or having construction or building work done, you may need to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and may have other duties as well under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007). Although a domestic client does not have duties under CDM 2007, those who work for them on construction projects will.

The Party Wall Act 1996

Some kinds of work carried out to a property may not be controlled by the Building Regulations, but may be work which is covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This is a separate piece of legislation with different requirements to the Building Regulations. The Party Wall etc. Act makes provision in respect of party walls and excavation and construction in proximity to certain buildings or structures. There will be some instances where both the Party Wall etc. Act and the Building Regulations apply to the work being carried out.

You must find out whether work you intend to carry out falls within The Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This includes work which involves:

  • work on an existing wall shared with another property
  • building on the boundary with a neighbouring property
  • work involving excavating near a boundary

It is essential that you understand your obligations to notify adjoining owners and are aware of the circumstances under which a dispute can arise.

For further information on the Party Wall Act 1996 there is an explanatory booklet available, click here for further details in our Professional User area.

Conditional Approval

My Plans 2 ExtendOnce an application has been submitted to Building Regulations department they may approve the Building Regulations as a "Conditional Approval".

This approval maybe granted for a number of reasons and is subject to the discretion of the Building inspector dealing with the application.

This normally applied if Building Inspector have requested more information such as additional Structural Calculations, Heat Loss calculations or extra sectional drawings. Conditional Approval although not 100% a completed application, does mean that your application is nearly complete.

“So what happens next”, well at this stage you can still go ahead with the building works but you must meet the criteria mentioned in the "Conditional Approval" before the building work can be signed off by the building inspector. Although this wont effect the outcome of the build, if you decide to sell your property you will still have to seek Full Approval.

Please note - During the course of many builds changes often occur which due to the nature of the building process may require attension. Most of these changes are usually dealt with in the apporpriate manor on-site with the building inspecter liasing directly with the builder and client.

Starting work without planning permission

Starting work without Planning Permission is not advised for obvious reasons. Building without Local Authority consent is like waving a red flag at a bull, and in this case the Local Authority would be the bull. Like all bulls they get angry and have a tendency to chase when you place objects in-front off them, so its advised not to give them this opportunity. As well as the legal implications and red tape surrounding a build without consent, the end result could be demolishing of the works. Planning Permission can be sort after building work has started or even finished however the majority of cases are complicated and the end result is usually in favor of the Local Authority. Whether that is in the form of altering the build to meet the guidelines or worse.

Starting work after planning permission but without building regulations

My Plans 2 ExtendAs long as there are no main design issues, starting work after Planning Permission can be achieved quite simple when working closely with your Building Inspector. Once building work commences you will receive site visits from the Building Inspector during the main stages of your build. For example once the foundations are been laid, during the building of external walls, installing of steel work and roof trusses. Your Building Regulations application can be managed on-site between your builder and the Building Inspector. Any further details required in regards to your application can be resolve on-site instead of stopping work while additional drawings, structural calculations are produced, however this is rare. Starting work while your Building Regulations application is been processed does happen but this option normally only need to be applied when you have already agreed a start date with your builder after planning permission has been acquired and you are working to a tight schedule.

Building Regulations are a set of rules with which builders are legally obliged to comply in the interest of public health and safety.

Benefits of using our Full Plans Building Regulation Service

  • We guarantee Building Regulations approval - we will act as your agent and submit the application to Building Control.
  • Our building regulations include all the required structural calculations.
  • Providing your builder works in accordance with our plans, you are assured that the Building Regulations will be satisfied.
  • Our Full Plans process will often save you money and secure a better quality project. Competent building contractors tend to prefer the process because of its thoroughness - if work is checked as it progresses on site with a Building Notice application, the Building Control Officers often have to ask for work to be rectified.
  • Our documents enable the builder to provide an accurate quotation, reducing the likelihood of unforeseen extras.
  • The building control approval notice can be presented to financial institutions, solicitors and surveyors when seeking loans or moving home.

Building Control Charges

Each Local Authority is responsible for setting its own fees to fully recover its direct Building Control costs.

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