Answer: Usually, a local authority’s consent is required for the development or renovation of a property. There are two types of consents (building regulations consent and planning permission) and it is important to know which one to apply for. It is advisable to apply for a preliminary consent before buying the property.
If a client intends to carry out development or change of use of the existing property from commercial to residential or vice versa, both consents – a planning permission and building regulation consent is likely to be required.
However, permission is deemed to have been given for certain kinds of development mostly of minor nature. Examples include the erection of fences (up to certain height), exterior painting of property (subject to not amounting to advertising), small extensions to most buildings such as a rear kitchen extension (subject to restrictions on size and position), re-roofing a house and converting retail to restaurants.
If, on the other hand, repairs will only be carried out internally (installing or replacing doors, windows, heating, air conditioning, fuse boxes, replacing electrics, plumbing, insulating walls, repairing the drainage system), it is likely that only building regulations consent will be required. To obtain this consent, an application must be submitted to the local authority or a private building inspector.
For routine repairs and maintenance, such as replacing a sink, toilet or bathtub, replacing lighting and socket outlets, no approval is required.