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A Guide to Commercial Buildings

What is a commercial building used for?

A commercial property is a space that allows you to use the space for commercial activities such as food service, retail or any other business. Commercial buildings have been split into classifications designated into class A, B and C. 

Class A buildings are usually newer construction properties with better amenities and infrastructure. However, this could be an older building that has been remodelled. Usually located in a popular area. 

Class B buildings are maintained and well managed. Not always a new build but can be easily transformed by some renovations. 

Class C buildings are often old properties, located in unbeneficial areas that are less maintained. There are building tends to need more work done. Landlords will charge less due to the work needing to be done. 

Classifications  

Classifications for each building:

A1 – shops such as:  

  • Retail (not hot food) 
  • Post office 
  • Hairdressing 

A2 – Professional services 

  • Banks 
  • Health and medical services 

A3 – Food and Drink  

  • Cafes  
  • Restaurants   
  • Anything that serves hot food 

A4 – Drinking establishments  

  • Bars 
  • Wine bars  

B1 – Business 

B8 – Storage and Distribution  

  • Wholesale warehouse 
  • Distribution centre  
  • Repositories 

C1 – Hotels  

  • Hotels  
  • Guest homes  

C2 – Residential institutions  

  • Boarding schools 
  • Training centre 
  • Hospitals  
  • Nursing homes  

Do I need planning permission?  

Yes, you do, it is essential that you have planning permission for commercial buildings.

When do you need commercial planning permission? 

You will definitely need to have planning permission if you intend to: 

  • Add an extension or large-scale renovation. 
  • Build a new property. 
  • Change the use of the building. For example, changing the use from commercial to residential or residential to commercial. 

Do I need Planning permission if I work from home? 

Using space in your home will not usually need planning permission. However, you should get planning permission if: 

  • Your business is unusual to be in a residential area. 
  • Your employees work from your home. (But are not occupants) 
  • The number of customers visiting your home increases. 
  • Your business could disturb your neighbours. 

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Design and Inspiration

Everything You Need to Know About Installing a Balcony

How much does it cost to add a Balcony? 

Depending on the complexity of the job would depend on the price. The estimated price to installing a balcony would vary between £1,500 – £5,500. 

The estimated cost would cover: 

  • Size
  • Design  
  • Labourer costs 
  • Material costs 
  • How complex the job is. 

Types of balconies  

  • Stacked – The most popular and common. Easy to install. 
  • Juliet/Faux – This is a faux balcony that may contain a small standing area but usually does not. A Juliet balcony contains a balustrade connection to the building without flooring to walk on. 
  • Hung – This structure is made out of stainless-steel cables that are fixed on the sides of the structure. These balconies are less common but have great strength. 
  • Cantilevered – This structure can be made from concrete, steel or timber. This type of project needs to be planned accordingly as the job is quite complex. 
  • Mezzanine – They have a large decking area with railing. This structure gives you more space. 

Do I need planning permission to install a balcony? 

If your home is in a conservation area or your property is listed you must apply for planning permission. 

In other cases, if your balcony is smaller that 300mm you may not have to seek planning permission but it is always best to do so. When submitting your planning application form expect to pay a fee. 

Installing a Juliet/Faux balcony means you won’t have to apply for planning permission, unless you decide to add flooring to walk on and then you must. 

Will it raise my house value? 

There are no guarantees that this will raise the price value, but they have been known the raise the value up to 12%. 

What are balconies used for? 

Balconies are used for extras space, kind of like an outdoor room. Many people like to use their balcony like a garden. For example adding a barbecue or flowers onto it. Others like to use their balcony to admire the views the structure allows them to see and relax on it. 

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Advice Center, Planning Permission

How To Get Planning Permission On A Grade 2 Listed Building

Firstly, getting planning permission for a grade 2 listed building isn’t as straightforward as it is for a regular house. And this blog will help advise you on the best way to achieve planning permission.  

What makes a grade 2 listed building?  

A grade 2 listed building is defined as a building or structure that is of special interest. Warranting every effort to preserve it. In addition, grade 2 is a classification that can be applied to a wide variety of buildings and other structures. In a range of ages, styles, and locations.  

Will I need listed building consent?  

You will need listed building consent if your project requires all works of demolition, alteration, or extension. That affects its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. Unlike other forms of planning permission, the listed building consent is free of charge.  

Here are a couple of tips to getting planning approved –  

  • Research the area. If you discover another developed listed building in your area there is a higher chance that your planning permission might get approved. If you find any, I would advise checking the council planning portal and see what architect worked on the project.  
  • Choose your architect wisely – architects play a major role when it comes designing your project and getting the planning permission.  and choosing an architect with a good knowledge and understanding of listed buildings is really important.  
  • In your plans, you should plan to use the same materials and design elements that were used originally to construct the existing building. This way the new design will not stand out. Then there’s a higher chance of getting planning approved.  

If you carry out work without listed building consent it is a criminal offense. So, it is important that you follow the rules and go through all of the correct applications.  

How long does it take to get planning permission on a grade 2 listed building?  

Local authorities say they aim to return a decision within 8 – 13 weeks. However, they may ask for an extension on the permission if they are busy. 

What are the Differences Between Grade I and II Listed Buildings? -  Concrete Renovations

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Architecture & Building

Find Out The Journey Of Building A Carport

Building a carport is a great way of providing protection for your vehicle, whilst increasing the value and appeal to your home. 

Here are the steps to build an enclosed carport.  

Step 1: Preparation to start the carport –  

The first thing you should do is check with your local planning authority to make sure your proposed project is up to code. Once you have been approved by the planning authority you can then prepare the carport to be enclosed. 

 You should start by clearing the area that the carport will be placed. Then you will need to pour a concrete slab to support the new room. However, before you pour the slab you need to make sure that you have measured how much space is required. For an average car, you need to measure at least 4.9 metres. It is best to make a wooden box to create a template for the concrete to set in once it’s poured. Try to ensure that the concrete slab is level with the rest of your house.  

Step 2: Purchase the necessary building materials –  

You can build carports from wood, metal, and sometimes brick, depending on the style you want and if you want it to match the materials on your home.  

When choosing the materials, you should keep in mind the climate of where you live. Different materials and designs may be more or less appropriate for where in the world you live. For example, lumber may be more appropriate for drier climates. They are also known to be more secure and durable. 

Step 3: start building the walls –  

Now you need to measure the size of the carport and start building the frames for the walls. To secure the walls to the carport you’ll build a simple rectangular box. If you are not creating an enclosed carport then you would move on to the roof. Whereas, if your project is an enclosed carport you will need to add stud walls. You will also need to frame openings for any windows or doors you want to include.  

Then you should secure the frames and the walls to the concrete floors by bolting them down.  

Step 4: building the roof –  

The next step is to fasten the rafters to the side beams. Rafters that will support the roof will be fastened to the wooden box. You should then fasten plywood roof boards to the rafters  

Step 5: Check the stability of the structure –  

When the roofing of your carport is complete, you should take the time to check the stability of the structure. If everything is done properly the carport should be quite solid. If there is any movement when you are checking the stability, you will have to add structure braces as reinforcement.  

Step 6: Finishing touches to the carport-  

For the finishing touches of your carport, you need to caulk the plywood roof seams. This is to keep the elements out, it is important to cover the roof with tar paper to create a waterproof surface, before shingling over it. Then you should fasten the shingles on top of the plywood roof. After that, you can then stain or paint the wood elements, increasing the longevity in the process. Once you have finished all the touches your carport is ready to go.  

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Advice Center

How Long Does Planning Permission Last? Everything You Need To Know

When does planning permission expire?  

Normally, planning permission is valid for 3 years from the time the local authority grants it. This means you have 3 years to start construction work on the site. 

History –

Before 1968, there was no limit on the duration of permissions. Between 1968 and 2009, the duration of the permission was set out in the conditions. It was often limited to 5 years within which the construction had to begin. Although it was sometimes possible to extend this.

How can you stop it expiring? 

In order to stop planning expiring on-site, you can submit a planning renewal application. You can re-submit the original planning application, at one-quarter of the original fee price. Just like the original planning application, the renewal will last 3 years.  

How Long Does Planning Permission Last? [2021 Update] | Urbanist  Architecture - London Architects

Types of planning permission –  

There are two types of planning permission: outline planning and full planning permission. It is advisable to check with your local authority to determine what type of permission is required for your development.  

Outline planning permission –  

Outline permission is used for bigger projects. You’re basically asking the local authority to agree to the overall idea of the scheme. And then you put in a separate application covering the details: 

  • Outline application with all matters reserved 
  • Outline application with some matters reserved  

Full planning permission –  

Full permission is normally required for change of use developments in conservation areas. And for developments that affect listed buildings. It also applies to industrial and commercial developments. 

What if the building takes longer than you planned?  

You only need to start building within the 3-year limit, you don’t need to finish the project within that timeframe. You must have made some kind of visible first step, to count as started.  

However, there is a criterion you must follow to show the first steps of the project. You must start your build in the right place and you must show you have completed more than the bare minimum.  

Planning Consultants Leigh - MPD Built Environment Consultants

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Advice Center

Planning Application Rejected? Here’s How To Resolve The Issue

If the authority refuses to give you permission for a planning application, they must give you a written reason explaining why it was denied.  If you are unhappy or unclear about the reasons for refusal you should talk to a member of the local authority planning department.  

Withdraw and resubmit –  

Withdrawing and resubmitting the application is the best option if something has come to light that could get your application denied. You should withdraw the application before it gets rejected. Then make the changes and resubmit.  

Apply for a planning application appeal –  

You can ask the local authorities that if changing the plans will make a difference.  You must submit your appeal within three months, if you have a major project, you have up to six months.  

However, the council will send you information on how to appeal. There are three ways of doing so – in writing, at an informal hearing, and a public inquiry. 

 Most councils will ask you to go down the in-writing route. You will get an informal hearing if there is a lot of public interest in the plans. A public inquiry will only take place for the most complex of cases.  

When appealing in writing you’ll need to write down all of the reasons why you think your application should have received planning permission. When writing you should be as detailed as possible and focus on the planning matters.  

Once this has been completed, a planning inspector will visit your home. The inspector will give his decision on the appeal within two to six weeks of the visit.  

Reasons your planning application can be refused –  

  • Protection of green belt land – local authorities are under clear instruction to strongly oppose any schemes involving potential harm to the openness of the green belt.  
  • Negative effect on character and appearance – this can be the most frequent issue. Projects that change the pattern of the houses are usually denied.
  • Loss of a family home – projects that want to convert a house into flats or non-residential places are a common reason for refusing this type of planning application.  
  • Overshadowing – you need to make sure your development doesn’t overshadow the neighbouring properties causing loss of light.  
  • Overlooking homes – causing loss of privacy. 

Accept the decision – 

Finally, your other option is to just accept the decision. Sometimes there will be circumstances in which your planning application will be denied. And there is nothing anyone can do about it.

You now know how to handle the situation, if your planning application is denied. Finding the best option is dependent upon the terms of refusal and on your determination to get what you want. 

If you would like some planning advice, get in touch.  

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Advice Center

Green Belt Areas: Everything You Need To Know.

England’s 14 green belts cover around 12.4% of land in the country and provide a breath of fresh air for 30 million people. 

What is a green belt area?  

A green belt is a policy and land use zone designation used in land use planning. They retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighboring urban areas.  

There are three different types of land and they are:  

  • Brownfield – land that has been built on previously, but is now vacant or in need of redevelopment.  
  • Greenfield – land that has not been built on before (agricultural/grassland). 
  • Green belt – highly protected land with tight restrictions on development.  

Local planning authorities are extremely cautious about their green belt areas. This is because the purpose of one is to capture the fugitive emissions emanating from plant operations, alternate the noise generated and improve the aesthetic. 

New homes can be allowed in the green belt if they meet the need. And this exception only applies to specific policies in the local plan. And only then if the need for those homes is clearly demonstrated they will be able to live in a green belt area. Developers need to submit a case for very special circumstances in which the building would outweigh the resulting harm to the environment. 

How much does it cost to buy green belt land?  

The cost of the land largely depends on whether it has planning permission or not. Green belt land is usually cheap if it doesn’t have consent to build on. It is cheap because of the strong building restrictions. However, if the area has consent to build on it could sell for about £500,000 per acre. 

Green belts are intended to check further growth of large built-up areas such as London. This is because they need to prevent neighboring towns from merging into one another.  

You definitely can’t overlook the benefits that green belts can offer for your health and wellbeing. For example, being in the countryside where it’s rich with nature, and there’s plenty of fresh air for everyone to enjoy. They also double up as local nature reserves. So, they work brilliantly for wildlife, allowing creatures to move between habitats safely and flourish in a mix of landscapes. 

Instead of viewing the Green Belts as a limitation to building more homes, we need to focus on restoring and enhancing the land. So, it can continue to provide a space for nature and a place to relax, play and grow our food. 

The Green Belt: what is it and why does it matter? // High Living Barnet
Londons Green Belt Area

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Loft Conversion

How To Create A Loft Conversion On A Budget

Really want to add more living space to your home? Here’s how you can achieve a loft conversion on a budget.  

What Is A Loft Conversion?  

A loft conversion is the process of transforming an empty attic space into a functional room. And these are usually used as a bedroom, office space, gym, or storage space. 

Will You Need Planning Permission? 

So, most conversions do not require a planning permit, this is good because it will help save money on getting the permission. However, you are required to obtain permission if you alter the roof space in any way. If the head height of the roof is above 2.2 m you should be okay. But the best way to find out if you need permission is to check with the local council or planning officer. It is also good to check because if you go ahead without permission and you end up needing it, they can fine you. And that’s not what you want when trying to stay within a budget. 

Another way you can save some money is by not using an architect and doing the majority of the stuff DIY. There is no rule saying you need to have one, but it is highly recommended that you use architectural services when it comes to your project.  

It is a lot cheaper and straightforward to do a loft conversion compared to an extension. So, it is perfect for people who do not have much time and are on a budget. A dormer conversion is the cheapest type of loft conversion.  flat and shed roof dormers have simpler styles and reduce the cost.   

What Is A Dormer? 

A dormer loft conversion is when a box-shaped structure is added onto a pitched-shaped roof. Creating walls that sit at a 90-degree angle to the floor. This expands not only the headspace but the floor space as well.  

Dormer loft conversion, Newport - Signature: Sean Horler
A Dormer Loft Conversion

On average it can take up to 8 weeks or as little as 4 weeks, with certain styles less complex than others.  

Not everything about the conversion has to be professionally done. The interior finish can be your project. You can paint, wallpaper, hang curtains, fit the carpets. Anything that you do yourself is cutting costs.  

If you are including an En-suite in the loft hiring a plumber is an extra cost. Try positioning the bathroom right above the plumbing below, or near it. It saves a lot of work.  

If you are on a budget smaller loft conversions can benefit from the more natural light coming in. It is also good to use natural, lighter colours when decorating because it helps give the illusion of spaciousness.  

To be able to access the loft you would need a staircase to enter. A straight staircase is the most common style and affordable to build. The highest part of the loft, in line with the roof ridge, is an ideal location for the stairs.  

Pricing Of A Loft Conversion –  

There are many types of loft conversions which means the prices can differ. For a deluxe conversion expect to pay anywhere between £20,000 and £27,000. Whereas, the cost of a basic conversion could be somewhere between £9,800 and £12,500.   

For a DIY conversion the prices are a bit different:  

  • Price range – £9,400 – £48,000 
  • Average price – £29,100 
  • Cheap price – £9,400 

Although you might have done this project on a budget, a loft conversion can increase the house’s value by as much as 20%.  

Loft conversions - beginner's guide - Property Price Advice
Loft Conversion

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Advice Center, House Renovation

The best guide to building in a conservation area

What is a conservation area?  

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. And in other words, the features that make it unique. So conservation areas protect all the natural resources that are critical to people on earth. The protected areas provide for life’s essentials.  

To build a property and/or make adjustments to your property on a conservation area you would need a wildlife assessment check. This assessment is a free online tool that identifies protected or priority wildlife species in the location where proposed works take place.  

The trees are automatically protected from being cut down. This is because the trees may contribute to the special character of the conservation area.  

You can check with your local planning authority to see if your proposed work is in the area. And planning authorities designate the conservation areas.  

Generally, you need planning permission for relevant demolition and alterations to the house in a conservation area to do the following:  

Demolition –  

  • Demolish a building with a volume of 115 cubic meters or more. 
  • To demolish any gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure with: A height of one meter or more if next to a motorway, footpath, waterway or open space. And a height of two meters or more elsewhere.  

Alterations to the house –  

  • Any type of extension. 
  • Additions, alterations or extension to roofs. 
  • Cladding any part of the house with stone, render, timber, and another material. 
  • The construction of buildings (sheds) containers (tanks) and enclosures (swimming pools)  
  • The installation of chimneys, flues and vents on the main elevation of a house. 
  • Installation of satellite dishes or antennae on a chimney, wall or roof slope.  

Alterations to windows and doors, and painting the outside of the house do not require planning permission.  

It might be more expensive to have work done in a conservation area. This is because there are a lot of restrictions, especially on materials. And paperwork has to be completed 

A conservation area is likely to boost the value of your home, due to the fact that that the neighborhood is attractive and will remain so.  

Buying in a Conservation Area
Houses in a conservation area

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Extensions, House Extension

What you need to know about a house extension

What is a house extension? 

A extension is built adjoining the existing house. The method of connection requires careful consideration, in particular, openings between the extension and the existing building.   

A house extension can be very attractive to those lacking room inside their home. However, extending your home is likely to be an expensive project. This is because on average a 30 square meter single storey built on a budget cost between £30,000 and £48,000. And if finances can stretch a bit more amid range extension costs between £51,000 and £60,000. 

Without planning permission or neighbor’s permission, the extension must be no taller than 4 meters high and no longer than 3 meters and must be a single storey. And with permission, if your extension is one storey, it can extend up to six meters from the property. However, you can extened a detached house 8 meters.

Rules for a extension  

The extension cannot be higher than the highest part of the existing roof, or higher at the eaves than the existing eaves. Where the extension comes within 2 meters of the boundary, the height of the eaves cannot exceed 3 meters.  

The 45-degree rule is a common guideline used by local planning authorities. This is to determine the impact from a housing development proposal on sunlight and daylight on the neighbors’ properties. 

Do you need an architect for an extension? 

There’s no law requiring you to hire an architect in any scenario, although having one present on these projects helps ensure you create a safe legal addition to your home.  

Purely as an indication, here is a guide to what architects will charge for drawings at different stages of a project: Cost for architects to draw up planning drawings for planning applications starts from £3,000 for extensions and £4,000 for small scale conversions and from £5,000 for small scale new build schemes. 

Will I need planning permission for extension work? For a full planning application, you will need professional architecture drawings, so the answer would be Yes. Your architect should be able to create your more detailed building regulations drawings and instruct a structural engineer on your behalf. 

Architects’ drawings costs vary from customer and project, you could pay anywhere between £1500 to £7000 for the plans alone. This typically doesn’t include any add-on services like extra revisions, project management services, or any type of construction help.  
 

15 single storey rear extension ideas under £100,000 | Real Homes
A single storey extension.

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