4 minutes

Planning approval and building approval: What’s the difference?

Over the years working with clients, one of the main points that causes confusion is the difference between planning approval and building approval.

In this article, we will unpack the main differences, highlighting the key points you need to know and helping you to understand how exactly you go about preparing for these two applications.

In short:

· Planning Permission covers the principles of development – This means it will assess whether a proposal may or may not have a detrimental impact to its wider area, while also evaluating whether it is in line with local and national properties.

· Building Approval (Building regulations) is concerned with the structural phases of the proposal and its progress throughout the construction phase.

It is important to understand the difference as the two are considered under different laws.

Think of it in this way…

A Planning Application seeks to grant you permission to go ahead and carry out proposal; A Building Regulations Application seeks to make sure your proposal will be compliant with the standards of construction.

A Planning Application and Building Regulations approval are separate from one another – one does not grant consent for another and they need to be treated as two different pieces of legislation.

Depending on what your proposal consists of, you may need just one of the applications, you may need both or you may need none at all.

Understanding Planning Permission

If you’ve read some of our previous blog posts or have been through the process yourself, you may already be well versed on how to submit a planning application. (Link to our previous article) But, for those that may need a refresher or have never been through the process before, let’s briefly recap the fundamentals:

Firstly, what is Planning Permission?

Planning Permission controls how the built environment around us develops. The government gives power to local councils to ensure that what is built and how land is developed remains suitable and in line with both national and local policies.

When will I need to gain planning permission?

We always recommend talking to an architectural designer or planner to gain further insight into this but in short, you will need to make a planning application if you are planning to construct something new, make a major change to your existing property (i.e) an extension or you want to change the use of your building.

More specific information needs to be provided if your property is listed or situated within a conservation area.

How do I make a planning application?

We will try to keep this as brief as possible but any further questions please do not hesitate to send us a message or have a read of this article (xxx) where we delve deeper into the specifics.

You will need:

  • A full set of architectural drawings, detailing the intent of the proposal
  • A design and access or heritage statement showing how the proposal will be compliant with local and national policies
  • An application form filled in via the Planning Portal giving the required details.

Understanding Building Approval

Councils around the UK have a duty to make sure that buildings meet at least the minimum standards set out in the building regulations.

When it comes to gaining Building Regulations approval, the government has allowed private Approved Inspectors to visit the site of the development and analyse whether it will meet the requirements. You may also gain approval directly from your Local Authority but it is your choice of whom you would like to use on your project.

How do I go about making a building regulations application?

There is a choice of two options; Submitting a Building Notice notification or A Full Plans application.

For smaller/simpler domestic works, you could use a Building Notice.

The general characteristics of this application are that they don’t require too much information (i.e) Detailed plans or a full specification of the construction details.

However, there is a small risk involved with this as the process of ensuring that your proposal is complaint with building regulations will happen during the site inspection and there is no guarantee that it will pass.

If you choose to submit a Full Plans Application, you will need to include a detailed set of building regulations drawings (This will include a highly detailed set of construction details and plans) and the payment fee.

It is very important to note at this moment, you will need to engage a Structural Engineer to create a set of detailed drawings that will be submitted for building control approval.

If you want to find out more about this process or have any queries about points that you have read in this article in relation to your project, our team of architectural designers in Surrey and London are always happy to help. Head over to the contact us section to send us an email or get in touch via our Instagram page (@christopher_david_designs)

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