Moving house is expensive and time consuming, especially if you are happy and settled in your home. This means renovating may be your best option and that can be both an exciting and interesting challenge. We’ve worked with our team of industry professionals to compile helpful tops tips and resources to consider before you embark on any renovation projects to your home.
Top tip 1) Find out beforehand what your responsibilities are
Minor building works which will have little impact on neighbours or the surrounding environment don’t need planning permission. However, even if your extension doesn’t require planning permission, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other regulations you need to follow.
It is advisable to consult any neighbours who might be affected by your plans, particularly if you live in close proximity to others who may be affected by dust and noise. In more complicated cases, you should consider consulting other bodies who might have an interest, such as The Environment Agency.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) cover all building work, including householder projects and work that doesn’t require planning permission.
If you are carrying out, or having construction or building work done, you may also need to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
If your home is within an Area of Archaeological Importance, as designated by the Secretary of State, then you will be required to give notice to the local authority before you start work. It usually takes six weeks after a notice is served to allow for the site to be investigated before work can begin.
You must consider the impact to wildlife and habitats before starting work, to avoid habitat loss, fragmentation and damaging nature. Any development can put pressure on different habitats and risk threatening vulnerable species such as bats, hazel dormice, water voles, birds and toads, as well as plants such as the Corn Marigold.
The Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning has created a helpful Wildlife Assessment Check tool, which is free to use and identifies whether there are any protected wildlife where the proposed works are going to take place. Whether you are building a new kitchen extension, loft conversion or conservatory, it is worth checking beforehand to avoid unexpected delays later on.
Top tip 2) Ensure your home is safe whilst work is carried out
Building work can leave your home vulnerable to break-ins, such as an extension with a flat roof, or a new porch, could result in easier access for burglars to gain entry via an upstairs window. Or a new window located next to a drainpipe could create an access point for an intruder. Any security alarms you have should be extended to cover extra rooms you might be building.
The crime prevention officer at your local police station can provide helpful advice on ways of reducing the risk.
Top tip 3) Plan and budget before you begin
Considering budgets and timescales before you make any significant alterations to your home is essential, and you will need to carry out detailed planning and research for your project to be a success.
Think about the impact any changes will have to your neighbours, and to your future when it comes to selling your home. Everybody has different tastes, but choosing a well-designed extension is likely to add value to your house when you sell it, and is less likely to upset the neighbours.
Consider how your property will look when the work is complete. Extensions often look more attractive if the same materials and style of the original building is used. It is worth considering using an experienced and skilled architect to help you achieve the best look for your project and to design your home improvements so you are happy with the end result. The best house designs are often those which have been carried out by professionals.
It is also vital to prepare a budget, calculating the estimated total and the estimated increase in value to your property. You will need to explore costs by taking measurements, comparing different products, obtaining quotes and researching sold house prices in the area you live where similar improvements have been made. Don’t forget to continually monitor your budget throughout the project, and factor in for some unexpected costs.
Top tip 4) Find out if you need planning permission
Planning permission means you need to be given the go-ahead to carry out work from the local authority. It usually takes around eight weeks for a decision to be made, unless the project is unusually large or complex, in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks. A project will either be granted, refused or granted with conditions.
Some projects will not require planning permission. The Planning Portal has detailed information on what does and doesn’t need planning permission.
A planning application will be decided by taking into account the local authority’s development plan, which identifies the needs for the area. They will consider things such as the size and appearance of the development, the proposed use and the impact on the surrounding area. Minor applications are usually decided by a sole planning officer, otherwise they will be referred to a planning committee made up of elected Councillors.
Top tip 5) Familiarise yourself with the process of submitting a planning application
If you discover that your project does need planning approval, then read up on this so you understand the process and what your responsibilities are. Applications can be rejected if the required information is not given, which wastes time for you.
Once an application has been validated and registered, which should be within three to five working days for minor applications, the planning authority will publicise and consult on it. They will also notify your neighbours or put up a notice at the site, and in certain cases applications are advertised in the local newspaper, giving the public the chance to comment.
Anyone is allowed to make a comment on a proposal, the relevance of which will be considered by the planning authority, and could result in you being asked to make minor changes to your plans.
A decision should be reached within eight weeks. If it has been refused, or the conditions are unacceptable, then an appeal can be made and you can have the matter resolved by a planning inspector. However, this should be a last resort, and often agreements can be made with the planning authority.
Top tip 6) Ensure you start the work within the agreed time and take note of any conditions
Planning permission is only granted for a certain amount of time, which is generally three years. If work hasn’t started within this time then you will need to reapply, so make sure you only apply once you are sure you want to start your project.
You will be informed of the authority’s decision in writing, and if granted this permission can usually be passed on if you sell your property.
If you are granted permission with conditions, for example you might be asked to submit further details about a certain aspect of the alteration which wasn’t described in the original planning application, then this must be done before you can start the work.
We hope you’ve found this article informative and useful. Remember to follow the linked sections of the article for resources that will help provide extended information to help your specific process. For more home furnishing top tips and inspiration or to shop for furniture continue browsing through our website.