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Planning permission typically becomes necessary when you intend to modify your residence in various ways, such as adding an extension, converting your loft, changing the usage of a building (e.g., converting a house into a shop), or splitting a portion of your house for independent use (e.g., turning a two-story home into separate flats). Many other scenarios also mandate planning permission, making it advisable to contact HFS Planning Applications Ltd for a consultation regarding your ideas and plans. Even seemingly straightforward projects, like installing a driveway, may, in certain cases, necessitate planning permission. The processing time for planning applications generally ranges up to a maximum of 8 weeks before receiving a decision notice from the local authority. However, this duration can vary based on the project’s nature and scope.

Additionally, there are other approvals that might be requisite, with the most common ones involving listed buildings, properties within conservation areas, sites subject to Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), and Party Wall Agreements.

When planning a home extension or loft conversion, it is essential to adhere to Building Regulations, which establish minimum design and health and safety standards for construction projects. Your local authority’s building control department is responsible for enforcing these standards, which primarily encompass aspects such as structure, drainage, plumbing, ventilation, materials, insulation, and fire safety escape routes. Building Regulations play a pivotal role in ensuring that your extension or modifications align with the prevailing British Standards. HFS Planning Applications Ltd will guarantee that all plans and designs conform to the latest regulatory requirements.

Before engaging any building contractor, we strongly advise considering the following steps:

● You can obtain a list of reputable builders from organizations such as The Federation of Master Builders and the Construction Employers Federation.

● Choose several builders and assess their track record. Inquire about their previous projects, review examples of their work, and seek permission to contact past clients to inquire about their experiences, including whether the builder was organized, punctual, met deadlines, and if they would rehire them.

● Obtain written, itemized quotes from a minimum of three builders and have them reviewed by HFS Planning Applications Ltd. Ensure that you are comparing ‘apples to apples’ in terms of specifications, and consider a detailed project specification if appropriate.

Ask the builder:

● About their expertise in handling projects similar to yours.

● How they prefer to receive payment – upon completion or in stages?

● Whether they provide itemized invoices.

● If they are open to withholding some payment until the work is satisfactorily finished.

● If they can commit to a final completion date.

● Whether they agree to a penalty clause for failing to meet the deadline.

● If they are willing to engage in independent arbitration in case of disputes.

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