Builder exceeded eaves height on extension built under PD

16 Jun 2013
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United Kingdom
Our extension is being built under permitted development rights. Initially we had a lawful development certificate for 3m extension on our semi, but then applied under new rules for a slightly larger extension (another 0.5m), which (after neighbour consultation) was also approved. We were planning to apply for another lawful development certificate, once the extension is built.

After few days absence, we realised (and to our horror) that eaves height as being built will not match council approval. Currently we have 288cm to rafters (but only 265cm was applied for and approved). All other measurements, e.g. ridge height and length are OK.

Is there any way we can legalise this situation? We don't really need this extra height and yet we don't want to demolish the wall that was already built.

Given that PD stipulates max eaves height of 3m within 2m of the boundary, is it likely that our extension will be permitted (our eaves will not exceed 3m)? If so, how this will work, given that "neighbour consultation" scheme application was approved with a different eaves height.

I called the council, but they were less than helpful.
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I think eaves height (once roof is complete) will be still below 3m, as I can not see how battens and tiles will take more than 12cm.

If this was a usual 3m extension then that would not have been a problem, but the problem is that used the new "neighbour cosultation scheme", although many rules are the same, neighbours were specifically consulted about eaves height of 2.65, not 3m. I don't think they would have objected to 3m, but consultation apparently can only take place before the building started, not after.

Thus I don't know what view will the council take when the times comes for application for "lawful development certificate". Will they require a retrospective planning permission instead?
Yes I understanding the situation, I would not be too perturbed though, realistically even if you ended up having to apply fopr planning permission the council would have little grounds to object given that you could build 3m high under PD albeit not as long as you have built under the new rules, this is (supposedly) taken into account when applications are decided. Unless it is easy to remedy now I would just get on with it and give your dopey builder a kick up the jacksy, planning are unlikely to check. I would hazard that there would be a means of applying retrospectively though not sure as not had to do this myself yet.

Or you could just demand the builder does again properly if it is clearly his fault.

Some of these decisions come down to the individual and whether they’re (you) are of a nervous disposition and are likely (or not) to lose sleep over it.

Some of these decisions come down to the individual and whether they’re (you) are of a nervous disposition and are likely (or not) to lose sleep over it.

Ultimately if the planners happened to do a spot check or (more likely) one of your neighbours made a complaint and they ended up investigating and found it to be non-compliant then they could write to you demanding you apply for retrospective permission but ultimately they are not going to go through the courts to have you knock it down, not in todays financial climate. It’s just a domestic extension.
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Thank you. Would you suggest I get an architect to see the structure now and give his conclusions/advice on how to proceed to minimize the damage in the future?

The builder thinks it will cost 2000 to put this right, understandably he is not happy, even though it is his fault.

We want to apply for lawful development cert as soon as the shell is built (as we want to re-mortgage). The council surely will come out to check (as they did initially when they approved application for a standard extension, before we went for neighbour consultation).

So even neighbours don't complain, I still have a potential problem on my hands if they deny the lawful development certificate.

What is usual margin of tolerance (of planning dept) towards construction mismatch/problems for permitted development rights?

Should I get letters from neighbours to say that they don't mind that there is a discrepancy, or this will just alert them to the problem (they have not said anything to me yet)?
Just got an explanation from the builder. He though eaves height counted from DPC level up to where the wall meets the roof. This of course contradicts planning view, as they count from the highest point of the ground to the roof surface above the wall.

This is a poor excuse anyway, as architects drawings show clearly how high the eaves should be.
Could you subtly build the ground up by 10cm and still be below the DPC? This would make the difference negligible. A bit naughty but probably hard to tell.
I would get the builder to put it right, his understanding of eaves height is shoite and he knows it.

Give the builder a choice. Either he pays for the retrospective approval submission and agrees that he must rebuild if it is refused or he puts it right now.

If your drawings are clear then why should you pay for his mistake. You know its surprising how fast these things can be rectified when the builder has made an obvious blunder! ;)
Could you subtly build the ground up by 10cm and still be below the DPC? This would make the difference negligible. A bit naughty but probably hard to tell.
The OP's approval was for 2.65m and further out than normal PD allows so 100mm won't cut it.
I though about that. In fact, on the side of our next door neighbour the ground is actually 10cm higher (DPC 7cm or so above that), so if they measure from there, it looks more favourable. However, the difference will still be significant (e.g. not 35, but 25cm).

That's why I want to know about council tolerances.
The prior notification scheme cannot be applied retrospectively.

If it comes to light that there is a discrepancy and the LPA refuse a certificate, then the worst that can happen is that you have to make a planning application. Chances of an approval? - probably reasonable-to-good.

But at the end of the day, the builder's made a cock-up, so why should you pay and have all the worry? If the heights are clearly marked on the drawings, the builder has no excuse.
Thank you very much all of advice. I persuaded the builder to drop the eaves height. He will come close to 275 cm and this will leave 10cm to argue about with council (if they spot the difference, the ground is uneven and it may well get through). If it does not get approved then we will apply to retrospective permission.
Curious how this ended, did the builder make the changes in the end and did you get your certificate of lawful development?

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