Here's all you need to know...
Let’s face it, when it comes to construction, the industry can feel a little like the wild west as we all don’t know much about it if we’re not in that line of work!
Many of us homeowners at the start of your work feel uncertain and can even be a daunting process as we are faced with a lack of clear rules and regulations. on where to start! We all need a better understanding of what your project needs, your budget reflection, and everything you need to done safely for your home.
That’s why, at Planning2build UK, we do everything we can to guide our customers towards the safest routes and options before getting started. Here we have put together a breakdown of what legal requirements you’ll need to meet and how you can give your home the best protection during this vital starting stage.
Here are the bare minimum legal requirements you need to know…
Planning permission? Many projects can be started without planning permission which can be known as using your permitted development rights. To know if your project falls within the permitted development rights scheme, you will have to know the size of your project, for example, if it’s an extension, you will need to know the height, the exterior appearance, the location, etc.
It’s also worthwhile knowing that while planning permission isn’t legally required, but it’s recommended that you take time to apply and receive a lawful development certificate before your project takes place.
If your project doesn’t qualify for permitted development, then you need to legally enquire about achieving planning permission for your project from your local authority.
Before you do this you need to put together a planning package. This package should contain:
- Existing drawings of your home as it stands today
- New proposed designs
Bear in mind that getting approval for most small to average-sized projects will take between 8-10 weeks to get back to you. However, to get a planning officer assigned to your work can add up to another 5 weeks on top. So please prepare yourself for this process as it won’t be quick.
We recommend for the best results for your project getting an Architect to prepare your drawings and manage your application for you. At Planning2Build UK we find the best Architects suited for you!
Building control is the other legal requirement you’ll need to meet and get it all signed off. It can be signed off by your local authority or by a hired approved inspector.
A minimum requirement you do need to take forward though is to have either your builder, an inspector or your local authority (we recommend an approved inspector), firstly check your drawings are of working standard and give you the approval to proceed. Next, they will be brought onto the site during construction and to sign off the work at different key stages and giving you their final approval at the end.
However, while your project may seem legal without having detailed technical drawings of it project leaves you open to many risks that could occur along the way.
For example, if you are trusting you the builder to know everything about the UK Building Regulations this leaves you open to many risks as if they make any mistakes, some builders could say you didn’t give enough instructions and they will charge you extra to correct the mistakes.
So they will be checking to see if what has been planned is done correctly and they line up with UK Building Regulations.
With good sets of architectural drawings, they won’t be checking additional details, which means you will be missing out on an opportunity to safeguard your home.
In the next section, we will show you how to upgrade your architectural drawings to help safeguard your project.
All projects require structural calculations. So this means you will need to hire a structural engineer to do the math on your proposed designs to help ensure they will be able to be built in real life. This is an important part of you securing the sign-off from building control.
If you share a wall, outbuilding, or boundary with a neighbour, you are legally required to ask for their consent before starting any construction on your home.
You need to give them up to 2 months notice on all work to your neighbour Under the Party Wall etc. 1996. And your neighbour has 14 days to respond to the notice. If you have written consent by them during the time frame, your project can move forward. But if they don’t you need to put together a Party Wall Agreement.
The agreement is a legal contract that requires at least one party wall surveyor but may require more people if your neighbour insists on having their own surveyor. And furthermore makes you responsible for all the costs incurred and if your neighbours are tricky this process could take you up to 3 months or more to solve.
If you live in a block of flats you will need to serve a larger notice period for multiple neighbours in your building, which can be costly.
Basic Home Protection
Now let’s talk about safety by reducing the risk of being exposed to bad practices. What we have talked about above will save you from falling foul of the law, but it won’t protect you from cowboy traders. Here’s how to get your project cowboy proof.
Building Regulation Drawings
There are other ways of getting building control. This way is by getting the approval is to have an architect and structural engineer put together a set of building regulation drawings. By going through them it gives you the highest level of detail, everything your contractor will need to for UK regulations and to make your house safe.
The drawings can then be submitted to your local building control or an approved inspector, who will then permit you to build. They will inspect your project at the start and end to make sure the drawings have been upheld.
Benefits of this way.
- You will have a more accurate quote, as well as save you time and money.
- They’ll know what to build so can plan around issues.
- If a mistake is made, the contractor will be the one liable, as long as you include in the contract drawings must be followed.
- Any issues you learn about before the start of construction can be fixed at a minimum expense.
- You’re working with more than one professional.
To ensure your project doesn’t have any problems with plumbing/sewer you can have a CCTV survey to help you spot any behind the scenes problems. If you get this done beforehand it will highlight whether or not you will be able to achieve this project and prevent any delays.
The surveyor will visit your site and create a detailed map of your drainage system below the ground and layout. By doing this it allows your Architect to understand what they can do in the new development and how to work around this that best suit you.
Party Walls Surveyor
If you’re affected by a party wall you need to get a party wall surveyor involved from the start. Having a surveyor on hand means your notice will be airtight from a legal perspective. And they will be better at convincing difficult neighbours to come around to your project or will take any difficult conversations off your hands.
JCT contracts are used to get you legal protection for your build. They vary in what they cover, it may be starting from as little as just listing which parties are involved in covering all: insurance, finance, accommodation, timings, etc.
We recommend you cover:
- Payment plan – Never pay for the whole build upfront! You should pay the 10% deposit and once the work is completed to your notification they pay for the work. You could either do this all at the end of the project, as we recommend or pay after instalments or after each job is completed. You should also have this in writing.
- Timings – Establish an achievable timeline, so you can at least understand what’s going on and when it show be averagely completed in the event of delays. You should also have this in writing.
- Insurance – Make sure you’ve got some basic insurance in place, such as public liability.
The Strongest way to Protect your Home
So, now you are at this stage you need to make your project airtight and has removed any risks within your project, to ensure your build is as accurate as the original designs.
If your project includes bespoke elements or architectural flourishes, it’s worth considering getting the technicalities mapped out for your contractors. Which allows you to selectively choose which parts of your project needs special attention. This is a cost-effective way of ensuring the highest quality build.
Here we are talking about the materials used, which fittings are going where and whether any other rooms in your house might be affected. This is where a room data sheet comes into play. For example, if you are having a kitchen extension, data documents will lay out what tiles you’ll be using and where to get them. It’ll list your appliances and where they’ll go.
This will make your contractor understand what will be needed for your finished space and the more details you have on there the more they will be able to build your dream home.
Electric & Lighting Plan
Your building regulation drawings will include detailed specifications on:
- Smoke detection
- Internal lighting
- External lighting
- And all electrical works
Your builder and electrician will give you the chance to walk around your site to mark all the areas where you would like your sockets, switches and lights. Making sure they are correct to the plans they have been ready off.
An electric and lighting plan provides a layout based on clients instructions or an architect’s experience, ensuring your lighting goes exactly right the first time.
Don’t worry, most people can change the location of their light switches up to the last second, due to seeing their build appeared in real life. os its good to be on-site and seeing everything for yourself.
Schedule of Works / Quantified Schedule
A schedule of works or quantified schedule ensures your tender package includes all of the work that’s required. This is handy as it allows you to compare quotes across all aspects of the build, query the quotes, get the timeline and understand everything needed.
During your construction work, you won’t be able to use your regular home insurance, especially if you are not going to be on the property during the build. So, we recommend that you look into home insurances that cover renovations to protect your home.
When having your construction work you may want to think about your life insurance. We recommend if you’re taking out finance on your project you should also either update your current one or take one out.
You might be thinking why should I do this? Well paying off any major home improvement loans can take years to pay back and if anything happens to yourself (we hope not) but you need to time with your family, being able to face that debt alone.
Getting this warranty will protect your project for 10 years from ‘latent defects’ to the structure of the building. Meaning if something goes wrong during the construction, which may not be spotted straight away, then your home and investment will be safe from high costing repairs!