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Legal News from Janine Heil – Moving Home

Moving House – Understanding Extensions and Building Works

It is common these days for people to have carried out extensions and/or reconfiguration works to a property. It is important to have a proper survey done on any property you wish to buy as your surveyor can not only spot what has been added or changed but also advise on whether it is satisfactory or needs further investigation.
Your solicitor is checking the legalities for you, to make sure that all required permissions and documents are in place, but ultimately you want to know that it has been properly built and poses no structural risk which only a surveyor can confirm. The common confusion around paperwork is the difference between planning permission and building regulations.
Planning Permission (which includes Permitted Development) is only about the Local Authority in the area the property is located, allowing certain works to be carried out. Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building. They are set by the UK government.
Work done to a property may or may not need planning permission, but it will almost certainly need building regulations approval after completion and a certificate from the building control department of the Local Authority or from an Approved Inspector.
The common confusion is that all is ok if there was planning permission or permitted development, but that is not always the case. There is only a complete and satisfactory picture if it goes hand-in-hand with building regulations approval or evidence that it was not required. Is your paperwork in order if you are looking to sell a home that has had work done to it?
Janine Heil, Partner, Leigh Duncan Solicitors
Janine qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and set up Leigh Duncan in 2016 with her husband Ingmar. She
has been acting in the sale and purchase of property for over 14 years, the last 9 of those have been based in Beaconsfield. If you have any questions, feel free to pop in and speak to Janine, Ingmar or any of the friendly team next time you are passing.