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The Legal Documentation Required For A House Extension In Scotland

Documentation

When faced with the need for a change of or increase in space, many homeowners will decide to extend or adapt the existing layout of their property, often increasing its kerb appeal and market value in the process.

Before embarking on such a project, it is important to make sure that you have all the appropriate consents in place. From Planning Permission to Building Warrants, this article explores the key points to bear in mind.

Do I need Planning Permission?

You will likely need Planning Permission if you want to build something new, make certain changes to your land or the exterior of your property or change the use of your land or property (for example from waste ground to garden ground, or from residential to one of the many kinds of commercial use classes). Not all work will need Planning Permission, however; some work can be carried out without it.

In certain circumstances you will also need to obtain additional consent from the planning authority (such as if your property is or forms part of a Listed Building or is in a Conservation Area) and it is important that you establish this before you proceed.

You can apply for Planning Permission either directly to your local planning authority or via the Scottish Government’s ePlanning website. Through this website, you can:

  • Submit a planning or other application
  • Purchase a location plan
  • Use the checklist to ensure all the required information is provided
  • Attach plans, drawing and other documents to support the application
  • Use the fee calculators to help calculate the correct fee
  • Share planning information with neighbours, clients or colleagues.

There is a fee for the Planning Permission application. When you apply for Planning Permission, your local planning authority will carry out a process of notifying certain neighbours in writing of your planning application.

What happens if your application for Planning Permission is declined?

If your application for Planning Permission is declined, and this was submitted via ePlanning, you will be able to find out on the ePlanning website. Otherwise your local planning authority will write to you to confirm the outcome of your application. If you are unhappy with the decision, you can seek a review from the local review body. You can seek a review if your local application has been refused, or it has not been decided within the specified statutory time period (2 months).

To seek a review by the local review body, you must submit a Notice of Review which sets out why you wish the case to be reviewed. There are a number of circumstances where an appeal can be made to Scottish Ministers. These can be grouped into two broad categories:

  • Decisions made on applications: where an application has been made to the council but the person who made the application doesn’t agree with the decision or,
  • Where the council has served a notice requiring somebody to carry out a specific action, or for particular activities to be stopped. These include appeals against several types of enforcement notice relating to alleged breaches of planning control.

To make an appeal you can fill in the online appeal form on the ePlanning website. You can also appeal on the Scottish Government website or by paper form.

If your application is a major application, you have the right to appeal to the Government.

If your application has not been determined within two months, you can seek a review from the local review body. You must do this by submitting a Notice of Review.

Even if you do not need Planning Permission you may still need a Building Warrant.

A Building Warrant is the consent granted by the Building Standards authority to carry out building work. If you do not have this before you start building work on your project, you could be fined. You can obtain an application form for a Building Warrant from your local Building Standards authority or the Scottish Government website.

When you apply, you will need to include your plans with the application. These plans will almost always need to be prepared by an architect and should identify both the location of the work and the nature and extent of the work proposed.

There is a fee that you will need to pay based on the value of the work you are doing. Minor building work which requires a Building Warrant will carry a fee from £100 upwards.

Meeting building regulations

To make sure your proposed building work complies with the relevant Building Standards Regulations, you should check with your local Building Standards authority.

Completion Certificate

It is an offence to occupy a new building, or building that has been converted unless the Completion Certificate has been accepted by the local Building Standards authority. It is the responsibility of the relevant person (usually the owner or developer) to make sure that building work is done correctly, as the verifiers (i.e. officers from the Building Standards authority) cannot regularly or sufficiently monitor all construction work to check that the regulation requirements are being met.

The Completion Certificate must be signed by the relevant person who is normally the person on whose behalf the work is being carried out though in practice this may be their agent e.g. their contractor or architect.

Ultimately, anyone seeking to embark on a development project must ensure that they have all the correct consents required at the outset. However overwhelming and confusing this may be, diligence will pay off in the long run as these documents will need to be produced whenever a property is sold.

Here at Jones Whyte, we are a team of approachable, responsive, client-focused solicitors who pride ourselves on offering personalised, tailored advice. We offer an open door policy and legal services tailored to your needs and budgets. Our expert property solicitors are here to make sure that any building work identified in a survey report for a property you are selling or purchasing is supported by the required consents.

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