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Planning permission for something that cannot be achieved!

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by MadAlicesDad, 22 Dec 2016.

  1. MadAlicesDad

    MadAlicesDad

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    Sorry for the long post...

    My next door neighbour has submitted planning permission to remove an existing ramshackle extension that is built upon a party wall shared with my extension, and build a new structure separate from the party wall.
    I get on well with my neighbours, have no objection to the basic design of the proposed extension but do have concerns about the detail.

    The proposal has new wall parallel to and 150mm from the boundary line. The existing party wall is at least 450mm thick; it is not possible to build 150mm in from the boundary. The plans show this wall rendered, a task that is impossible due to the party wall. In short, his 'architect'* has drawn something that does not acknowledge the constraints of the site and cannot be built. When challenged by my neighbour, the architect said it's up to the builder how he achieves it!
    * in quotes so as not to confuse him with a professional

    I raised an objection with the council because the design cannot be built as drawn and because of the effect on my extension (i.e. a wall that has been internal for 50 year will now be external with no weather proofing or insulation). The Town Council also objected to the design for the same reasons.

    My neighbours agree with my concerns; they would prefer the design to use the party wall as it is aesthetically better and it gives them more usable floorspace, so much so that they have had plans redrawn to utilise the party wall in anticipation of the original proposal being rejected by the council.

    However, the council have now approved the design as submitted, acknowledging my objection but including a comment "officers must assume that there are methods in which this elevation can be finished in the proposed material given the submitted plans". Basically, because someone has drawn it, it the council assume it must be achievable! Regarding my concerns about weatherproofing, they state that this is covered by the party wall act.

    The council have their money, now the responsibility passes back to my neighbour to achieve the impossible. If my neighbour deviates from the plans, they will be in breach of the planning permission granted, but what has been granted cannot be built. Is this usual / acceptable practice for Planning Departments?

    I am not going to fall out with my neighbour over this (he has been shafted by his architect and the council have IMO not done their job properly) but any thoughts, including next steps and suggestions how to proceed?

    Merry Xmas,

    Mike
     
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  3. OwainDIYer

    OwainDIYer

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    It's up to your neighbour to ensure that he is able to build what he submits plans for. The council planners don't care how he builds it. He could crane it in from outer space as far as they're concerned.

    Building Control will want to see that the final result complies with building regulations, but they too don't care much about the method of work used to achieve this.

    If the plans as approved do not reflect the now intended final result then your neighbour will have to submit a revised application for approval. If he is dissatisfied with the architect's work then the architect should have a complaints procedure leading to referral to his professional body. Architects often design pretty things then leave it to engineers to decide how they're actually going to be made so they stand up without wobbling, but that's usually more a problem with skycrapers than a kitchen leanto.

    If this is England then the Party Wall Act applies and it's up to you to use that, assisted by a Party Wall Surveyor, to ensure your property does not suffer deterioration as a result of the works. The council have no interest in a provate matter between neighbours.
     
  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Planners can only make their decision based on planning law, not any other law, regulation or constraint. In planning terms if it meets policy, then it must be approved, planners can not be expected to know the in's and out's of every single building law, property law, deeds, ownership or neighbour agreements.

    It may well be possible to render the wall as it is built. Very difficult, not normal, but possible none the less. If the wall is not rendered, then it will be a breach of the permission. But as the impact will probably not be significant enough for any enforcement action.

    But, the Party Wall Act will apply to this work and that can ensure that weather protection to your wall can be provided as part of the work if your wall is left exposed, and it is not an external wall.
     
  5. napoleondynamite

    napoleondynamite

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    They could re-apply for the revised extension design utilising the party wall, which you say they would rather build. They would not be charged an application fee for the re-submission. If the Architect has caused some of the problems maybe he would waive his fee on the new drawings.

    I appreciate there would be a time delay but it could be worth it to achieve the right outcome.
     
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  6. GeoffJ

    GeoffJ

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    It could be that under the PWA agreement the intent is that you will agree to move out of your house whilst the party wall is removed so that there is access to build the proposed rear extension, render the external surface and then rebuild the party wall. Before then making good all internal decorations to your house and compensating you for all inconvenience.

    Whilst the above would be stupidly expensive, the planning system does not preclude such a plan.

    it sounds like the planning permission your neighbour has obtained is of minimal benefit, as he will need to agree significant changes to the design; and those changes are very likely to require a new permission. I would use the PWA surveyor to bottom this out before a spade hits the soil.
     
  7. Dork Lard

    Dork Lard

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    I agree with GeoffJ.

    You should move out of your house whilst it is demolished so's the rendering can be done.

    Before you do this . . . make double sure that the planning permissions are in place to re-build your house.
     
  8. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    If the wall was capable of being rendered then it would be extremely difficult to establish that a failure to render said wall was a breach of permission (unless the rendering of the wall was a condition of occupation)
     
  9. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    Yes agreed with the previous poster you can't insist that all the things shown in the planning permission are finished, there no such thing as completion of a planning permission, only starting. Technically you could get planning permission for one thing, lay the foundations, then get planning for another, and finish both. Or never finish either.
     
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  11. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Difficult?

    The issuing of the b/regs completion certificate might help.
     
  12. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    building control couldn't care less whether or not a wall complied with a planning permission
     
  13. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Tap tap.

    The issuing of a completion certificate, and the associated authority to use and occupy the extension means that the work is completed and planners can enforce. Planning permission is not open-ended.
     
  14. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    Well I can only go by what my architect said and he said you can never complete what you have permission for if you don't want.
     
  15. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Cobblers woody, unless as Naks mentioned there was a condition stating that the wall must be rendered prior to occupation. But you know there won't be. So the owner has until the end of time to render his wall if he wishes to 'delay' it. An outer face of a cavity wall does not need rendering to make the wall waterproof.
     
  16. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    :rolleyes:

    The point of the b/regs completion certificate, is that the work is finished in law. The owner therefore can't wait to the end of time, because the permission has been enacted in its entirety.

    If the render is part of the approved plan, and is not done at the time the work is certified complete, then that's when enforcement can be taken, and the owner can't use that old chestnut of "doing it later".

    Whether the wall can be left bare or not for the purpose of b/regs completion is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the owner is stating that he has completed the work, and the council are certifying that the work is complete. So in planning terms, the work is complete with nothing more to be done, and time has effectively ended. Fin.
     
  17. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Building Control will happily sign off the works provided the wall is compliant they won't give a hoot that it says render on the approved planning drawings. Or do you live in a different dimension to the rest of us?
     
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