Could a brick faced dwelling be rendered without planning permission?

19 Apr 2012
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United Kingdom
Class A of the GPDO 2015 sets out rights for 'The enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwellinghouse'

This subject to restrictions and conditions, one of the conditions being:

A.3 Development is permitted by Class A subject to the following conditions— (a) the materials used in any exterior work (other than materials used in the construction of a conservatory) must be of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse;

The term 'similar appearance' is open to interpretation but the Government Technical Guidance provides some clarification:

The condition above is intended to ensure that any works to enlarge, alter or improve a house result in an appearance that minimises visual impact and is sympathetic to existing development. This means that the materials used should be of similar visual appearance to those in the existing house, but does not mean that they need to be the same materials. For example:

• the external walls of an extension should be constructed of materials that provide a similar visual appearance - for example in terms of colour and style of brick used - to the materials used in existing house walls

• a pitched roof on an extension should be clad in tiles that give a similar visual appearance to those used on the existing house roof. Again, colour and style will be important considerations; flat roofs will not normally have any visual impact and so the need for materials of similar appearance should not apply

• it may be appropriate to include new PVC double glazed windows in an extension even if there are no such windows in the existing house. What is important is that they give a similar visual appearance to those in the existing house, for example in terms of their overall shape, and the colour and size of the frames. This condition does not apply to conservatories.

The section on extensions to brick faced dwellings confirms that the extension would have to be brick faced, no other material would be acceptable.

This leads me to conclude that rendering a brick faced building would not comply with this condition and would therefore need permission.

If there are any alternative interpretations or relevant appeal decisions out their I would welcome the input!
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Isn't this just about extensions and alterations?

Previously render or cladding was permitted as long as it did not extend past window cills on the elevation facing a highway, and I can't see anything to replace that in the 2012 order.
Hi Woody.

The technical guidance just confirms that external cladding is classed as an 'improvement' and isn't caught by the restriction on front elevations. External insulation, cladding, rendering and any other alteration are all permitted by Class A and therefore are subject to the condition on materials set out above.
Where does it say that render is an alteration caught by Class A?

All of class A is written as of describing extensions and additions to the structure
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But where does it define render as an alteration? Is it mentioned elsewhere?
Class is a cover all for any extension alteration or improvement- what is not permitted by class A is set out in the restrictions, and all works permitted under Class A are subject to the conditions set out.

I cannot see any other class which would permit such works but happy to hear another opinion if there is one.

The technical guidance does not provide clarification on this point.
Class is a cover all for any extension alteration or improvement

Yes, but if render is not defined as an alteration, then it would be exempt from the order, and if not defined elsewhere as operational development, it would be exempt from requiring permission.

If it is defined, then rendering of house walls or garden walls would be treated the same.

So that's the question, where is render defined as an alteration or as operational development?
Whether it is development or not is a judgement. It would significantly (materially) alter the appearance of the building so I suppose you could not say it was de minimus.

Some sort of case law or appeal decision would be very interesting if there is any out there.
Hi Fred- no, that just confirms that external insulation is classed as an 'improvement' rather than an enlargement. Everything permitted by Class A is subject to the materials condition.
I think the cladding of the exterior of a house with stone, pebble dash, render, etc. is fine under Class A (if potentially tragic). If it wasn't, why would these activities be expressly excluded from AONBs? The property isn't in an AONB, is it?
I think cladding would only be PD if it complies with the materials condition. There is nothing in the legislation which sets out that the condition would not apply to cladding- the condition applies to everything permitted by class A.

i.e. I suppose if a dwelling was 90% stone clad walls, it could be PD to clad the rest of the walls to match. As you say this only applies outside of designated areas.
Well, I guess we can agree at least that this is a confusingly-worded piece of legislation

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