Traditionally, property refurbishment falls into two main categories – light refurbishment, where no planning permission and building regulations are required, and heavy refurbishment, which requires planning permission or building regulations.
Light refurbishment could typically include re-wiring a property or fitting a new bathroom or kitchen.
Heavy refurbishments are more involved and can include converting a property to residential use, creating multiple units from a single building or converting multiple units to a single building.
Permitted development, however, provides a third option for property investors that is less involved than heavy refurbishment but provides more scope to add value than light refurbishment.
Products are now becoming available for permitted development refurbishment where building regulations are required but planning permission is not.
This combination provides investors with a wide scope of options,
Clarifying building regulations
So what type of changes to a property require building regulations but not planning permission?
Building regulations will probably apply for someone who wants to put up a new building, extend or alter an existing one, install washing and sanitary facilities, hot water cylinders, water drainage, replacement windows and fuel burning appliances of any type.
In these circumstances, the work must meet the relevant technical requirements in the building regulations and they must not make any other part of the property less compliant or even dangerous.
When it comes to planning permission, it is always worth checking with the local planning authority to check whether a project falls within permitted development or if planning permission is required.
However, as a general rule, the following changes can be made without the need to apply for planning permission:
Nearly all internal works such as loft conversions, garage conversions, new staircases, bathrooms, kitchens, or rewiring, do not require planning permission. But always check if the property is listed or located in a conservation area.
Extensions are generally considered to be permitted developments, so long as:
The extension is no more than half the area of land around the original house.
The extension is not forward of the principal elevation or side elevation onto a highway.
The extension is not higher than the highest part of the roof.
In the case of single storey extensions, it must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres for an attached house or by four metres for a detached house.
The maximum height of a single-storey rear extension is not higher than four metres.
Extensions of more than one storey do not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres.
Side extensions are single storey with a maximum height of four metres and width of no more than half that of the original house.
Two-storey extensions are no closer than seven metres to rear boundary.
The materials are similar in appearance to the existing house.
The extension does not include verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
Garages, sheds and other outbuildings
Outbuildings such as sheds, garages and greenhouses are also usually considered to be permitted development, provided the building is no higher than four metres and outbuildings do not take up more than half of the land around the original property.
So, before you start to search for the right refurbishment loan for your client, make sure you understand the exact nature of the work and the regulations and permissions that are required, as this will influence your choice of product.