The Difference Between Planning Permission and Building Regulations

5th April 2022

Have you been looking to undertake a new project for your property? Whether you’re looking to build a new home or create an extension on an existing property, we’re here to help explain the difference between planning permission and building regulations.

And, as a professional team of architects in North London, this is something we’re proud to help out with. Hence, today, we’re on hand to help you find out more about the main differences between planning permission and building regulations – and what this might mean for your next project.

So, if you’re planning to change your land or property’s structure, it’s worth considering whether planning permission and/or building regulations may be required. 

When You Might Need Planning Permission and Building Regulations

If you have been planning a project, be it the development of a new property on your land, an extension to your current home, or the like, you may want to consider whether planning permission could be a valuable necessity. 

However, it can often be a little unclear on the main differences between planning permission and building regulations; as such, as professional architects in North London, our experts here at Detailed Planning are on hand to help.

What is Planning Permission? 

Planning permission is likely the regulation you think of initially when it comes to undertaking a new building project, and it’s often easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the thought. It’s usually required for change of use projects, which could include extending the current boundaries of your property, erecting a new property on your land, and the like.

In addition to planning permission, you could also be entitled to make changes through permitted development rights, including enlargements of up to 50% of the property’s existing cartilage and the creation of enclosures for pets, sheds, and the like. However, permitted development is usually limited. Indeed, permitted development may not be applicable for every project, so you should always contact your local architects in North London or your local council representatives to check the specific requirements for your area.

You may not always need planning permission for demolition projects. However, this should always be checked for approval by the local planning authority.

What If I Start My Project and I Don’t Have Planning Permission? 

If you don’t have planning permission for your building work or project, you likely won’t suffer any consequences immediately. Indeed, it’s not officially a criminal act to proceed with a change of use without having planning permission. As such, you shouldn’t receive any penalties or fines if you complete an alteration without obtaining planning permission.

However, your council or local law enforcement teams have every right to require you to reverse or remove the changes for some time, which could leave you back at square one with nothing but expenses to show for your efforts. As such, it’s always advisable to apply for planning permission on your developments initially, wherever possible, to ensure you don’t face the risk of having to face enforcement on your projects.

What Are Building Regulations? 

Unlike permitted development, which is in place to control the extension and creation of new developments, properties, and projects primarily, building regulations are used to ensure that the project is safe and non-impactful from a technical perspective.

Usually, building regulations are completed after planning permission is granted. However, you should still create designs with building regulations in mind to ensure they are suitable.

Some common factors that your building regulations assessor may consider during an inspection include the property’s structural stability, fire precautions and escape routes within the property, sound insulation, energy insulation, and the like. 

Do I Need to Apply for Planning Permission and Building Regulations Separately?

In most cases, yes, you will need to put in applications for planning permission and building regulations separately rather than combining them in a single application. However, it’s worth considering that not every project requires both planning permission and building regulations approval (although the majority do). In cases when you only need one or the other, you’ll only need to submit a single application.

Generally speaking, most architects or project designers will look to obtain planning permission for their project before applying for building regulations for your North London property. Nevertheless, the property or project should always still be designed with building regulations in mind. 

This factor is critical since, in many cases, planning permission is unlikely to be granted if the project has obvious flaws that would breach building regulations (for example, using unsuitable material types for insulation of the property).

Do I Need Planning Permission?

The most common exception to needing one but not the other is for internal work on your property. These may require building regulations to ensure that the property remains safe following the work, such as converting a garage into an internal room for your home. Nevertheless, there’s no guarantee that you won’t require planning permission, as this still depends on your council’s unique requirements and the specifics of your project and plans. 

As such, we highly recommend you consult with your local architects and council representatives to find the specific requirements for your property. Please don’t leave things to chance; failing to get planning permission before commencing work on your project can represent numerous challenges down the line, and so isn’t worth the pain.

For Planning Permission & Building Regulations, Call Detailed Planning

So, you’ve been looking to undertake a project on your land. Regardless of whether it’s a residential property extension, the development of a new property, or anything similar, you may need to obtain planning permission or building regulations. Indeed, these two different regulations might sound somewhat similar, and they’re often both required for new projects. However, in a handful of cases, building regulations may be applicable even without planning permission, so it’s always worth doing your research carefully in advance.

Of course, the distinction between planning permission and building regulations can often be a little mindnumbing to understand. So, if you need any further guidance or ideas regarding your own planning goals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our professional team of architects in North London today here at Detailed Planning. We’re here to help, no matter what planning permission and building regulations advice and guidance you might need! Find out more about our architectural services today.

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