Hi i hope someone can help us. We have a 3 bed semi-detached house and approx 5-6 years ago we hired a builder to make some renovations. He assured us that he would look after everything including the planning permission and rather naively it seems we agreed. The work carried out consisted of removing the kitchen wall opening up into the existing single story "outhouse/storage" however we also extended this area to make it level with the rear of the property increasing the space by approx 6 metre square. During the time the work was being carried out we asked the builder about the planning permission and was told that as we were extending into a existing building and that the additional work was under 10metre square we would not need to inform the planning department. We eventually became rather dismayed at the quality of the work this builder was doing and asked him to leave getting the work finished off when he was gone. However we have since been told by a friend that we should have had building control and that they could make us return the house to its original state. Can anyone tell us where we stand with this?
You really need to speak to the Planning and Building Control officers as this work probably needs both Planning and Building Warrant. You may get away with planning as it could be permitted development. (Scottish & English regs are slightly different). Building Control may issue a letter of comfort which basically means they agree with the design but did not get the opportunity to inspect. Your best option is to sketch the alterations and go and have a chat with the council. I am sure they will understand your situation however you will need drawings and formal applications to be made. You will have major problems selling if you do not act now.
Planning legislation varies depending on whether you live in a conservation area or an area with an article 4 directive. If you did not actually extend the building, there is a good chance you would not have required planning consent.
You will have definately required building regualtion approval. In a worst case scenario, the local authority can enforce you to put back unregularised work. In practice you can submit a regularisation application to the local authority. They will inspect and may ask for sections of the work to be opened up so that they may inspect insulation, fire protection and damp proofing etc.
I'd suggest you contact the council and get this sorted. If you wish to ever sell the property you will have problems. Get the building inspector on your side, by telling him the 'whole storey'. Most will be helpful and will assist rather than obstruct.