Dormer as Exempt Development?

Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby pico » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:56 pm

I am trying to make an opinion as to whether the following situation where a house was adapted can be classed as exempt development:

The house is terraced with the roof cut into the first floor restricting the head height in the rooms at the rear. A flat roof dormer was therefore added to the roof at the rear, increasing the usable floor area of two first floor rooms.

No new floor was added, it was just that the dormer was cut into the pitch of the roof, solely to the rear of the house, and covering an area of approximately 13 square metres. The rooms were previously a dressing room, and attic with restricted headroom, but now able to be used as a bathroom and bedroom.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Tayto » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:24 pm

Generally you need planning permission for dormer windows (vertical, roofed windows located above the eaves level), as opposed to velux-type roof windows, (rooflights aligned with the slope of the roof), even if the dormer is to the rear of the house.
In order to be technically classifed as a "bedroom", there must be ceiling height of 2.4m over at least 1/2 the floor area of the room.
Also, if being used as a bedroom, it must comply with the building regulations in terms of means of fire escape. This has direct implications for the size and location of the dormer window, because this window is required to be an escape window.
Otherwise, technically this attic space remains an attic/storage space.
Based on the information you've provided, I think you'll need planning retention for the dormer window.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby onq » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:10 pm

pico wrote:I am trying to make an opinion as to whether the following situation where a house was adapted can be classed as exempt development:

The house is terraced with the roof cut into the first floor restricting the head height in the rooms at the rear. A flat roof dormer was therefore added to the roof at the rear, increasing the usable floor area of two first floor rooms.

No new floor was added, it was just that the dormer was cut into the pitch of the roof, solely to the rear of the house, and covering an area of approximately 13 square metres. The rooms were previously a dressing room, and attic with restricted headroom, but now able to be used as a bathroom and bedroom.

Any thoughts?


+1 What Tayto has written and I add the following; -

Attic conversions are exempted in planning terms, because its work carried out wholly within the building envelope as I understand it.

I don't happen to agree with this approach BTW, but that appears to be the size of it.

Some people will try to squeeze anything in under Section 4 1 h of the PDA 2000, but I think that's pushing it too far.

Dormer windows are not exempted development AFAIK., and since you seem to have substantially added to the area of usable space in the attic, this may also be deemed to be non-exempoted development.

If you're want to stand by your convictions, feel free to request a Section 5 Declaration from the Local Authority.

Or you could simply ring up and have a chat with your friendly neighbourhood planning officer.

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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby henno » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:15 pm

planning required for two reasons:

1. not specifically exempted in regs

2. materially alters the exterior so as to render it "inconsistent with the character of the structure or of neighbouring structures"
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Bren88 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:54 am

I really don't see the need to provide any reasoning for explanation for why it is not exempt.
There is a very clear list of exempt development. Dormers are not on this list. (there is of course one exception to this list, which is roof lights)

Op, I think you know you are chancing your arm. You haven't suggested a single validreason for why this could be exempt.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby onq » Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:03 am

Are roof light on the list Bren88?

Nice backpedal.

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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Bren88 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:01 am

onq wrote:Are roof light on the list Bren88?

Nice backpedal.

ONQ.


Hmm, A bit of a pointless comment ONQ.
I don't see how it was a backpedal.

The exemption for rooflights comes from else where. Which I why I clearly listed them as an exception. I didn't expect anyone get pedantic with the fact that they aren't on the list.

FYI, the exemption for roof lights is newer than the current Exemption regs. I imagine it wil be included in the next edition.


But most importantly, I don't see how that is related to dormers, or why you felt your post was even relevant.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby tommyt » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:48 pm

pico wrote:I am trying to make an opinion as to whether the following situation where a house was adapted can be classed as exempt development:

The house is terraced with the roof cut into the first floor restricting the head height in the rooms at the rear. A flat roof dormer was therefore added to the roof at the rear, increasing the usable floor area of two first floor rooms.

No new floor was added, it was just that the dormer was cut into the pitch of the roof, solely to the rear of the house, and covering an area of approximately 13 square metres. The rooms were previously a dressing room, and attic with restricted headroom, but now able to be used as a bathroom and bedroom.

Any thoughts?


Pico, it is definitely not exempted development and any application required for retention could prove tricky if the window is directly facing one less than 22M away etc.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby onq » Sun May 02, 2010 1:03 pm

Bren88 wrote:Hmm, A bit of a pointless comment ONQ.
I don't see how it was a backpedal.

The exemption for rooflights comes from else where. Which I why I clearly listed them as an exception. I didn't expect anyone get pedantic with the fact that they aren't on the list.

FYI, the exemption for roof lights is newer than the current Exemption regs. I imagine it wil be included in the next edition.

But most importantly, I don't see how that is related to dormers, or why you felt your post was even relevant.


Probably in response to your own "pointless comment" in Post #5 to this thread.

"I really don't see the need to provide any reasoning for explanation for why it is not exempt"

Courtesy, like a smile, costs nothing.

Dissing others for offering background information in a forum intended for the exchange of information isn't helpful.

Especially when you then go and do exactly what you dissed the other poster for doing - a worked example of backpedaling :)

Sure you might as well - its exercise, isn't it?

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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Bren88 » Mon May 03, 2010 1:49 am

onq wrote:Probably in response to your own "pointless comment" in Post #5 to this thread.

"I really don't see the need to provide any reasoning for explanation for why it is not exempt"

Courtesy, like a smile, costs nothing.

Dissing others for offering background information in a forum intended for the exchange of information isn't helpful.


There is no need to be so defensive. I wasn't dissinga nyone.
My comments were not directed at either you or henno (I am certain henno knew this). I will admit, as a criticism of post #5, that "reasoning" was a poor choice of word and justification was what I was looking for.
I was referring to the OP as I had/have my suspicions that he knew that it wasn't exempt and was chancing his arm. Something I see a lot of and, understandably I feel, have a bit of a problem with. I could of course be wrong about the OP, and we have no real way of knowing.

My post (#5) was intended to give a follow up solid answer to Hennos, as you were or at least appeared to be unsure for definite. Basing this on AFAIK. Again maybe you were 100% sure and AFAIK was just thrown in out of habit. But I wanted to make it solid for the OP if he was genuinely unsure of the reasons and issues.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby onq » Tue May 04, 2010 9:22 am

Bren88,

You're a credit to the profession!

:D

As for me, ascribe it to me still coming down from several days posting against PVC King.

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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby esterelle » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:31 pm

Dormer windows are not exempted development under the planning and development regulations. Clearly if houses either side of a dwelling had dormers or other features then section 4 (1) h could kick in. There is considerable scope under this particular provision. The situation regarding attics is really a matter for the dwelling owner to decide. The attic is part of the house anyway and therefore no change of use arises which would require planning permission regardless of whether it is used for storage or human habitation. The works involved are normally internal works and no permission is needed for these or for velux windows to the rear / side. Compliance with Building Regs is now by and large subject to self certification and if somebody is happy to sleep in the attic with a ceiling lower than what is specified in the regs then that is their business. But it is vital that a means of escape from fire is always top of the agenda when attics are used as living accomodation. Plenty of smoke alarms should be fitted in the attic and throughout the house. They are cheap and they are proven life savers.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby wearnicehats » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:49 pm

esterelle wrote:Dormer windows are not exempted development under the planning and development regulations. Clearly if houses either side of a dwelling had dormers or other features then section 4 (1) h could kick in. There is considerable scope under this particular provision. The situation regarding attics is really a matter for the dwelling owner to decide. The attic is part of the house anyway and therefore no change of use arises which would require planning permission regardless of whether it is used for storage or human habitation. The works involved are normally internal works and no permission is needed for these or for velux windows to the rear / side. Compliance with Building Regs is now by and large subject to self certification and if somebody is happy to sleep in the attic with a ceiling lower than what is specified in the regs then that is their business. But it is vital that a means of escape from fire is always top of the agenda when attics are used as living accomodation. Plenty of smoke alarms should be fitted in the attic and throughout the house. They are cheap and they are proven life savers.


anyone would be advised to read this thread prior to taking planning and/or building reg advice from esterelle

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=6429
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby esterelle » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:35 pm

wearnicehats wrote:anyone would be advised to read this thread prior to taking planning and/or building reg advice from esterelle

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=6429




And they would be well advised to beware of the "wearnicehats" agenda also. Fact is that converting your attic does not involve a change of use warranting a planning application. No change use is involved within your dwelling despite what wearnicehats and others might say. Any attic conversion does not consequently eat into the 40 sq metres extension you are allowed have as exempted development under the planning regulations.
This is an incontrovertable fact. There are chancers around and some of them mascarade as planning consultants who will try to convince you that the situation is otherwise and relieve you of some of your money for their incorrect advice. Beware such chancers.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Tayto » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:36 am

[
esterelle wrote: Fact is that converting your attic does not involve a change of use warranting a planning application. No change use is involved within your dwelling despite what wearnicehats and others might say. Any attic conversion does not consequently eat into the 40 sq metres extension you are allowed have as exempted development under the planning regulations.
This is an incontrovertable fact. There are chancers around and some of them mascarade as planning consultants who will try to convince you that the situation is otherwise and relieve you of some of your money for their incorrect advice. Beware such chancers.


Did you ever actually read the planning legislation?
As a short cut, you can get a good idea of what it's all about by reading what Local Authorities are legally entitled to charge for processing plannning applications:

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, 2001, SCHEDULE 9, Part 12
FEES FOR PLANNING APPLICATIONS

Section 2 - Scale of Fees for Planning Applications
Column 1
[B]Class of [B]Development
[/B]

2. (a) Any works for the carrying out of maintenance, improvement or other alteration of an existing house (including any works for the provision of an extension or the conversion for use as part of the house of any garage, store, shed or other structure).
[/B]

What is evident from this extract is that:
1. A Planning application is required for "Development"
2. There are different Classes of Development, and different fees for each Class.
3. "Class 2" Development, as described quite clearly above, requires planning permission, (unless it is considered exempt development, of course).

The provision of additional habitable accomodation in the attic space results in an increase in the floor area of the house and is considered "Development" by the Dept. of the Environment and every Local Authority in the country. ie. It is considered an "Extension" of the floor area of the house.
This interpretation of Development is the only one that really matters.
If the sum total of this floor area, plus any other extension areas not requiring permission, is less than 40m2, then the Development is also considered "Exempted Development".
This type of development is also required to comply with the Building Regulations, particularly with regard to fire safety.
If however, the "conversion" you speak of is merely the provision of floor boarding to an attic storage space, then it would generally not be considered an "Extension" (of the floor area of the house). It would however be considered "Development" in a Protected building/structure as structural alterations would be involved.


You are peddling misinformation in the post quoted above.
Your reference to a "Change of use" is irrelevant.
Your interpretation of the legislation, as opposed to the D.O.E. interpretation, is wrong.
You don't know what you're talking about.
But you are absolutely convinced that you are right, which is the main thing!
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby saintleger » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:03 pm

From the Inspector's Report in http://www.pleanala.ie/casenum/RL2075.htm

Under s.4(1)(h) internal works providing for the alteration of any structure and which
do not materially affect the external appearance of the structure are considered to be
exempted development. The legislation does not de-exempt works which would result
in an increase in the floor area of a structure. The Board has previous determined, in a
number of cases, that the creation of an attic area in a habitable house is exempted
development subject to no material change in external appearance of the
dwellinghouse. It is normally considered that the exempted development provisions
would apply to the development of an attic in a building which is not a protected
structure, and where the attic space is lit by velux windows to the rear.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Tayto » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:02 pm

RE. D.O.E. and Local Authority interpretation of attic conversions:

Extract from Dublin City Council Development Plan 2005-2011,
Chapter 15,
General Site-Development Standards-

"All habitable rooms must be naturally ventilated
and lit, and living rooms and bedrooms shall not
be lit solely by roof lights."


So if you're getting paid to put a Bedroom or Living area up in someone's "converted" attic, you'll have to do more than insert a couple of rooflights, in order to comply with Development Plan Standards.
That means dormers.
And that means non-exemption.
And that means planning permission required.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby goneill » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:34 pm

Whats the Development Plan got to do with the price of eggs? Section 4.1 of the primary legislation defines exempted development. Regulations are subsidiary and Development Plans even more so. If you treat reading the regulations as a "shortcut" to understanding as suggested above then you will miss the basics. The omission of a particular class of development from a shedule of exempted development is not evidence that it is not exempt. Read David Keane "Blurring around the Edges" Irish Architect March 1998
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Tayto » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:33 am

goneill wrote:Whats the Development Plan got to do with the price of eggs? Section 4.1 of the primary legislation defines exempted development. Regulations are subsidiary and Development Plans even more so. If you treat reading the regulations as a "shortcut" to understanding as suggested above then you will miss the basics. The omission of a particular class of development from a shedule of exempted development is not evidence that it is not exempt. Read David Keane "Blurring around the Edges" Irish Architect March 1998


Jaysus....

For most people considering making a planning application, reading the regulations represents the intoduction point to terminology such as "Development", "Class of Development" and "Exempted Development". These terms often appear for the first time when a would-be applicant is considering handing over money and consults the Scale of Fees for planning applications.
In order to find out how much cash they may have to part with, questions such as "Do the works constitute Development?" or "If so, what Class of Development is it?" or " Do the works constitute Exempted Development?" must be answered.

In answering these questions, a level of understanding of some of the relevant terminology, jargon and concepts at work in the planning process can be achieved.

Or perhaps an applicant might be better off dismissing this irrelevant subsidiary legislation, study the Act and read "Blurring Around the Edges" or similar approved, interpret the primary legislation, submit a planning application and hope for the best.

Similarly, they can also dismiss the irrelevant subsidiary Development Plan policies, lodge the application and hope for the best.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby corkblow-in » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:01 am

Tayto - I have to agree with goneill

What is in question is first principles - what does the primary legislation say? Is the principle of such development exempt - then you move into development plans, building regulations etc. and put their requirements into practise.

I'm sure we've all been in the position (particularly these days) where we've applied for permission for an attic conversion - given the client a specification outlining the building regulations to be complied with - and then they've gone on their merry way. I've no idea have they complied correctly with the regulations and if they are not coming back looking for certs I can't direct them to do so. On their own head be it.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Tayto » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:48 am

corkblow-in wrote:Tayto - I have to agree with goneill

What is in question is first principles - what does the primary legislation say? Is the principle of such development exempt - then you move into development plans, building regulations etc. and put their requirements into practise.

I'm sure we've all been in the position (particularly these days) where we've applied for permission for an attic conversion - given the client a specification outlining the building regulations to be complied with - and then they've gone on their merry way. I've no idea have they complied correctly with the regulations and if they are not coming back looking for certs I can't direct them to do so. On their own head be it.



To yourself and goneill-
The primary legislation takes precedence over secondary legislation.
Ok. I didn't say it didn't.

Anyway, I've tried to answer the initial thread question. I haven't seen you guys make much of an effort. If you'd bother your arses to try, then you might have to consider how the primary legislation is interpreted. Not by you, but by the folks who make the decisions on individual planning applications and built developments, in Local Authority Planning & Building Control Departments in particular.

If you happen to find youself engaging with them, and if it turns out that they don't agree with your interpretation of the primary legislation, then you can always bring them to court and dazzle the judiciary with your grasp of precedent and what takes precedent.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby goneill » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:22 pm

I don't know whether the attic conversion in question requires planning or not, all I'm saying is things are not as black and white as some here would have us believe. If something is clearly exempted then its compliance or otherwise with the development plan is irrelevant. And it doesn't always serve your client's interest best to err on the side of caution and seek permission. What if they're refused, but their next door neighbour goes down the exempted development route successfully? Would you be liable for his failure to obtain permission?

Here is a re-typed copy of the late David Keane's article which probably contains typos. I know it is 12 years old and refers to an earlier act and that protected structures have been introduced since, but the key paragraph of Section 4 remains in place albeit under a different number.

Irish Architect January 1998 [not March as I stated above]

"Legal Column

Blurring Around the Edges

David Keane

When do you need planning permission? The answer is not as often as you would think and certainly not as often as most planning authorities or, with the greatest of respect an Bord Pleanala thinks. Everyone will know that permission is required for anything that comes under the definition of development and in the 1963 act this definition is very wide indeed. However some things even though they are development, are excluded by being declared exempt and this is dealt with in two separate places, firstly in the Act and secondly in the Regulations.

The regulations are clear enough though we’ll come to that later but the most interesting part of the Act is section 4(1)g which exempts from the Acts “ development consisting of the carrying out of works for the maintenance, improvement or other alteration of any structure being works which affect only the interior of the structure or which do not materially affect the external appearance of the structure so as to render such appearance inconsistent with the character of the structure or of neighbouring structures”.

Under this subsection, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, the scope for substantial works outside the control of the Planning Acts is very wide. The internal provision is quite simple and provided that the interior is not listed, that the use is not intensified or changed quite literally anything can be done. Obviously any such works would also have to be looked at from the point of view of the building regulations and possibly other legislation but as far as planning is concerned they would be exempt.

The external position is the one however that probably interests architects and developers generally more than the interior requirements and that it is here that the courts have shown a very much more liberal view than virtually all the planning authorities and an Bord Pleanala itself. I haven't done a headcount but the vast majority of Section 5 references to an Bord Pleanala (which is what the board decides in the case of a dispute whether something is or is not exempt) are decided on the basis that the works are not exempt. The Supreme Court, however, has made a very interesting observation. The dispute arose as to whether the alterations of a house in Waterloo Road in Dublin which consisted of opening a new window in a side wall, replacing a window with the a door and building a balcony with a staircase leading down to a garden was, or was not exempt from the provisions of the Acts. The court held that the alterations were indeed material but the particular subsection requires not only that the alterations be material but that in addition they must render any new appearance inconsistent with the character of the structure itself of neighbouring structures and the court unanimously decided that that this was not the effect of the alterations.

Architects and property owners generally should make much more use of the Court's decision. It is obviously in sympathy with the provisions of the Constitution where it says that “ the state shall in particular by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and in case of injustice done, vindicate the life, the person, good name and property rights of every citizen”. I doubt if any Planning Authority or the board would have agreed in advance of the Supreme Court decision that those proposed works were exempt but having the benefit of that particular decision it would surely save an awful lot of work for architects, developers, planning authorities and an Bord Pleanala if this subsection of the act was used in the way that the Court obviously feels views it should be. So go and materially affect the external appearance of your building but don't render it inconsistent with itself (although I'm not sure how this can be done) or of other buildings nearby.

The other part that comes to my mind when thinking about exempted development is the leading building legislation generally agreed vocabulary. Building types and uses are defined in a wide variety of documents ranging from the Planning Acts themselves, the Planning Regulations, the Building Control Acts and Building Regulations and also in the vast majority of Development Plans prepared by planning aothorities. It would save a very considerable amount of time and money if a statutory list of definitions was produced. A good example of the problem that occurs was a recent reference to an Bord Pleanala and aas to whether a glazed extension to the rear of a house was or was not exempted development particularly in regard to the provision that limit such extensions to 23 sq m The position was that if the glazed structure was a greenhouse it was exempt but if it was a conservatory it was not exempt. Does anyone body know what the difference is? Does being attached to the building make a vital difference or does the possibility of habitation come into play? It would seem almost a matter of tossing a coin and is an extremely subjective decision. The Board, following the tendency to widen more and more of the scope of the controls decided that it was not exempt.

So, go make use of the Cairnduff case and lighten the load on the Planning Authorities.

Cairduff v O’Connell {1986} ILRM 465
Article 40.2 The Constitution
An Bord Pleanala Reference 06D. RF 0800"
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby Tayto » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:58 pm

goneill wrote:I don't know whether the attic conversion in question requires planning or not,
Ok
goneill wrote:....all I'm saying is things are not as black and white as some here would have us believe. If something is clearly exempted then its compliance or otherwise with the development plan is irrelevant.

That's true.

goneill wrote:....And it doesn't always serve your client's interest best to err on the side of caution and seek permission. What if they're refused, but their next door neighbour goes down the exempted development route successfully? Would you be liable for his failure to obtain permission?

Well you could ask them to post the question on http://www.archiseek.com.
Or refer the client to a solicitor. Or what about maybe even lifting a telephone and asking your friendly Local Authority Planning Dept. for guidance? Or investigate local precedent yourself? Or make a judgement based upon experience of how the Authorities interpret Development?
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby esterelle » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:55 pm

I wish to clarify a few matters which Tayto addressed earlier and which are utterly false. Firstly the DOE have no day to day role in deciding what is development or not and what is exempted development and what is not. That function has been bestowed on An Bord Pleanala by the Oireachtas.
Secondly no county council in this country regards an attic conversion as an extension, eating into the 40 sq metres allowable under SI 600.
Internal works to a dwelling house do not require planning permission provided the house remains a single residential unit.
I will provide give a more expansive response to Tayto over the weekend when I get an opportunity to dig out the basis for all of the above.
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Re: Dormer as Exempt Development?

Postby corkblow-in » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:16 pm

I also don’t know if the dormer is exempt, and it would be foolish of anyone to give an answer without seeing the construction in place and the surrounding area.

What I will say is that the OP was asked for HIS opinion on whether it’s exempt or not. He wasn’t asked to ring the Council for their opinion (he will almost certainly be told it needs planning as they will always take the easy way out), nor was he asked if the client should go to a solicitor – the homeowner could do that without the need for a consultant. If it weren’t difficult we wouldn’t be needed. We’re here to look for solutions to client’s problems using our knowledge of the legislation – in this case starting at the primary and working through to find a justification for his dormer. Maybe consultation with the Council is a part of this – but only a part - they are not providing the opinion.


You introduced the development plan standards to the thread and someone else the building regulations. Neither has a bearing on whether something is exempt or not.
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