When carrying out works to a property, it is important to make sure that the correct consents are obtained for the works. It can be confusing knowing what consents are required, this article is designed to give a brief overview of some of the common consents needed for works and alterations to buildings in England. 

What's the difference?

Planning 

For more substantial works planning permission may be required, for example a two-storey extension is almost certainly going to require planning permission. To obtain permission you will need to submit an application to the local authority. Once received the local authority have several weeks to consider the application.

If planning permission is granted, there may be conditions attached to the consent. These conditions will need to be complied with.  

If the property being altered is listed, then you may also need to apply for a separate listed building consent. Your local authority will be able to provide you with further information on the process to do this. 

Building Regulations 

Where planning permission is required, often building regulations will also be needed. Building regulations are a way to ensure that works are carried out to set standards. Often however, building regulations are required where planning permission is not, the two are not mutually exclusive. 

Building regulation consent can be provided by the building control department of the local authority. Alternatively, by a person authorised to sign off the works.  

Examples of situations where building regulation consent can be signed off by the person carrying out the works are under the ‘Competent Persons Scheme’ (the Scheme). The Scheme allows individuals to be able to self-certify the works carried out. The individuals carrying out the works must however, be registered with an authorised scheme. An example is a window installer may self-certify the works under FENSA and provide you with a certificate directly.  

Restrictive Covenant Consent

Restrictive covenants are legal binding obligations on property owners, they set out restrictions on what a landowner can and can’t do with their land. A common covenant seen on land is an obligation not to build, alter or extend a property without the consent of a designated person. Where such a covenant exists, and is enforceable, consent should be obtained prior to works commencing to avoid legal action being taken against you. 

The terms and enforceability of covenants can often be very complicated and unclear. It is therefore important to speak with your solicitor prior to commencing any works, if the proposed works are caught by a covenant on the title.

Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate and correct, the information provided does not constitute any form of advice.

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