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Extension and Alterations: What you need to know before you build.

Posted on 15 March 2019 by Julia Wilson-Sharpe

Extension and Alterations: What you need to know before you build.

It is a fact that when the sun comes out we start to think about conservatories. When the family grows, we often find that extending is an option we would like to have. So how should we go about it?

The first step for many properties is to simply check with the planning authorities to find out if what we want to build requires planning permission. If for example, an extension or conservatory, falls within the Permitted Development Order, then planning will not be required. This can be checked easily by finding out what the Permitted Development allowances are.

Many properties are subject to Restrictive Covenants. A Restrictive Covenant is about the land. A covenant may state not to construct any building or extension of any kind on the property, or not to construct any building or extension of any kind on the property without written consent. To go against a Restrictive Covenant places an owner in breach which could lead to legal action being taken against them, or being made to take down what has been constructed. In other words, even if we have planning approval, we may still not be able to build.

A Restrictive Covenant is entirely separate from planning permission. The difference is that the Planning Authority may grant Planning Permission subject to properly drawn up plans being provided and any reservations being taken into account within the application. This is to ensure the build is constructed in accordance with regulations and not a nuisance to anyone else. It is important to note that the Planning Authorities do not investigate title deeds to any property. They have no idea whether a property is restricted by covenant or not.

It would be prudent, when deciding to extend a property to check the title deeds first and have some certainty that construction work is allowed. Then check with the planning authority to ascertain whether the work requires Planning Permission or falls within the Permitted Development Order.

Finally, there is one other point to consider. If an extension is likely to cover or fall within 3 meters of a sewer, a Build Over Agreement will be required from the Water & Sewer Authorities. If this is not obtained, the authorities are able to take action for the removal of the construction.


Posted in: Buying & Selling Your Home