Exempted development regulations for a garage

Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:38 pm

Bought a brand new house last year. Planning drawings showed full 2 storey over split level garage and store on lower ground floor. A dispute has now arisen between the developer and myself as to whether the ground floor complies with the original planning permission.

The proposed lower ground floor consisted of a garage and store only and did not include any habitable accommodation. The proposed garage was built as a bedroom instead, at the time of construction. A utility room and study area were built instead of the proposed store area.

Class 1 of the Exempted Development Regulations permits “the conversion for use as part of the house of any garage, store, shed or other similar structure attached to the rear or to the side of the house”
What is the significance of the wording "to the rear or to the side of the house"
Does this exemption require that the garage/store should be constructed first before being converted to habitable accommodation.

The Regulations also state “the floor area of any such extension/conversion shall not exceed 40 square metres. The combined area of the garage/store is 52.6m2. Does the 40m2 limit on extensions apply to the conversion of garages also ?

An additional area consisting of walk-in wardrobe, en-suite and store, and measuring 21.3m2, was also built on the lower ground floor as well This area was not included in the original plans and I presume does not have planning permission.

The Architect has given a Cert of Compliance but I believe that none of the work on the lower ground floor is exempt and will require retention.

I would appreciate your opinions.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby shadow » Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:53 pm

The original permission must be built first before any conversion takes place.

By "converting" it before completing the work does not make it exempt. There has been a high court case on this issue.

As to rear or side this refers to the fact that "the garage" is an adjunct to the main premises.

As for exempted development that is to be to the rear of the house this refers to habitable part. If the exempted development area was behind a garage such as in a one storey situation this would not be exempt.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:35 pm

Thanks for the prompt reply.

So there is no need for me to say that the converted area exceeds 40 m2 ?
The fact that it was not built as a garage in the first place means that it is not exempt.

I presume that I can get the developer to apply for retention permission. It will then be a mattter for him to take up with the Architect if he wishes !
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby henno » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:21 am

joebre wrote:Thanks for the prompt reply.

So there is no need for me to say that the converted area exceeds 40 m2 ?
The fact that it was not built as a garage in the first place means that it is not exempt.

I presume that I can get the developer to apply for retention permission. It will then be a mattter for him to take up with the Architect if he wishes !


how did you buy the house, if there was a question regarding the compliance with planning??

did someone already certify compliance?

if so, how has a dispute started between you and the builder?
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:29 am

Bought in usual manner and Cert of Compliance submitted by builder's Architect on closing. Did not realise that there was anything wrong at the time.
An issue then arose about lack of means of escape from a bedroom where cill heights were too high.
Looked at drawings on planning file and saw that it had been drawn up as garage and that some 23m2 extra was built as well.
Builder and Architect still claim that Cert is OK.
Builder has asked me to write to Council for decision on the matter.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby henno » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:35 pm

joebre wrote:Bought in usual manner and Cert of Compliance submitted by builder's Architect on closing. Did not realise that there was anything wrong at the time.
An issue then arose about lack of means of escape from a bedroom where cill heights were too high.
Looked at drawings on planning file and saw that it had been drawn up as garage and that some 23m2 extra was built as well.
Builder and Architect still claim that Cert is OK.
Builder has asked me to write to Council for decision on the matter.


interesting... many things thrown up here

1. Architect can claim room was not meant for use as bedroom. Cert should have referred to this. This could have had knock on effects on sale ie 3 bed instead of 4 bed.
2. Anything extra built at same time as original is not exempt as an 'extension' can only be added onto an already existing structure.

Architect appears very very exposed on this....
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:35 pm

Thanks again for reply.

The cert stated full compliance. No disclaimers at all.

Do you think the 40m2 applies to extensions only or does the same limit apply to the conversion of a garage/store. My area is 53m2.

I also have the 23m2 of additional space on the lower ground floor that was not shown on the original plans. In my opinion, this additional area is clearly un-authorised and would require retention.
These works may also have changed my house into a three storey house even though I have my front door and some other doors at mid-level. I will have to put that query in a separate post ?

If any of the area is un-authorised, I will be demanding that the builder rectify the matter.
I would also suggest that this was a way of reducing development charges as there is now 75m2 of development that should not have been included in the calculations.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby Bob Dole » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:59 pm

joebre wrote:Do you think the 40m2 applies to extensions only or does the same limit apply to the conversion of a garage/store. My area is 53m2.

it also applies to conversion of garages.



joebre wrote:I also have the 23m2 of additional space on the lower ground floor that was not shown on the original plans. In my opinion, this additional area is clearly un-authorised and would require retention.
These works may also have changed my house into a three storey house even though I have my front door and some other doors at mid-level. I will have to put that query in a separate post ?

If any of the area is un-authorised, I will be demanding that the builder rectify the matter.
I would also suggest that this was a way of reducing development charges as there is now 75m2 of development that should not have been included in the calculations.

What henno is getting at is that because the unauthorised "extra bits" were built at the time of the original development, the original development was never carried out "in accordance with the plans and particulars submitted" - i.e. not carried out in accordance with the Planning Conditions, and so the entire development is unauthorised. The person who signed off on a cert./opinion on compliance appears to be wrong in his opinion and opens himself up to being sued for this.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby shadow » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:09 pm

joebre wrote: These works may also have changed my house into a three storey house even though I have my front door and some other doors at mid-level. I will have to put that query in a separate post ?.



Ok this is a more dangerous situation. A 3 storey house while not requiring a fire safety certificate must comply with fire safety provisions and all internal doors require an upgrade to fire doors and travel distances through the protected corridor are more strict. This may depend on the height of windows above the ground level.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:21 pm

I spoke to the Council today. They gave two options. One was to make a formal complaint of unauthorised development. The second was to apply for a Section 5. I have decided to make a formal complaint as it now appears that all the works I described are unauthorised.

The builder does not seem to bothered about it. Maybe he is going to take it up with the architect.

The architect should be getting worried though ?
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby AT001 » Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:39 am

I'd be interested to hear how you get on and how this issue is resolved.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:18 pm

Glad to get all the advice here.

I reported the matter to the Enforcement Section.
I know that they may come after me first as I am the owner of the unauthorised development. I will then have to chase the builder and he can go after the architect.

Will update when there is news !
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby sinnerboy » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:00 pm

They will come after you first - I suspect the builder knows this and why he advised you to take that course of action . I would suggest you legal advice .
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:42 pm

Update on the above.
Reported the matter to Planning & Building Control.
Both came to examine the situation on the ground. The builder has recently replied to say "the permitted garage was built and subsequently converted and completed to habitable accommodation and is therefore exempt"
I saw the houses being built and none of them was ever built as a garage, complete with garage door before being converted.

Several questions arise.
The entire line of houses was all built with habitable on the lower ground floor. The brochure showed habitable and the price list for habitable only. There was no cheaper option for a garage.
The converted area is 50m2 and is therefore over the permitted converted area of 40m2.
An additional area of over 20m2 was also built on the lower ground floor at the time of construction.This area was not included on the original plans, is visible from the front and cannot be connsidered exempt. The builder made no reference to this additional area in his reply to the Council.
Finally, the total area of the lower ground floor, converted garage/store plus the additional area not shown of planning drawings, is over 75m2.
There is no way that he can claim that this is exempt.
I am anxious to get opinions as I want to make my observations to the Council before they reply to my original complaint.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby Bob Dole » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:55 am

joebre wrote:I am anxious to get opinions as I want to make my observations to the Council before they reply to my original complaint.

State what you've said in your last post to them - if you've any proof of any of it, include that (e.g. photos of stuff getting built etc.).

Personally, I would be more worried about Building Control than Planning - it is almost certain that the resolution of the Planning issue is to allow a Permission for Retention. The Building Control issues may however require a physical intervention into the house.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby Wild Bill » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:55 am

Enforcement should encompass all aspects of the planning permission which were not properly addressed on the original. An application for retention also allows the Building Control to have their say, without doing so independantly.

It sounds like a real mess to be honest.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby PVC King » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:31 pm

You have my sympathy this sounds like it may have been a right stitch up.

I agree with a lot of the posters that the solution may be more physical intervention i.e. getting fire regulation compliance sorted rather than worrying about retrospective planning consent which if the envelope of the building is unaltered the planners could be in a position to take a view in the context of all the circumstances; particularly in respect of your role prior to handover.

The only issue I wish to add is to be very careful before taking action; get an experian credit report on the parties involved; the final straw would be to have to pay to resolve fire regs issues and a corrective planning application and then win a court case only to find that the entity you enforce against has protection of the insolvency acts to avoid paying your costs.

On the positive getting a chippie to do a nixer to install fire doors etc at the right price may prove a lot easier. :o
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby joebre » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:53 am

Quick update on this;

I eventually had to write to the County Manager to get some action.
I am sorry that I did not seek a Section 5 declaration last July but there seemed little point in looking for an exemption certificate for something that I knew was not exempt. Howver, it would have given a decision with 4 weeks.

The developer has recently submited retention for the lower ground floor and for the conversion of the attic.
He has not addressed my problem about the lack of a suitable means of escape but I will post that separately.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby Solo » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:42 pm

joebre wrote:Quick update on this;

I eventually had to write to the County Manager to get some action.
I am sorry that I did not seek a Section 5 declaration last July but there seemed little point in looking for an exemption certificate for something that I knew was not exempt. Howver, it would have given a decision with 4 weeks.

The developer has recently submited retention for the lower ground floor and for the conversion of the attic.
He has not addressed my problem about the lack of a suitable means of escape but I will post that separately.


Where was your own adviser in all of this?? Did you not on the advice of your solicitor seek professional assistance before you purchased?

Did you not have a snag list done and did your solicitor not ask you to engage an architect to review the planning drawings and the as built construction?

The situation you are in was not uncommon in the bad old days and when I was asked to do a snag list I regularly asked for planning and fire drawings so I knew what was supposed to be there and anything missing was put on the snag list. Needless to say my snag lists were a bit expensive but to some extent you get what you pay for.

From your posts it appears that you are in possession of a property that has no planning permission and does not comply with building regulations. Recent high court cases have forced the builder to chose between correcting all of the defects or buying back the property and the sale price plus costs.
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Re: Exempted development regulations for a garage

Postby onq » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:31 pm

Why did you start another thread on this as noted below?

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?p=106220

Just posting to this one would have bumped it up.

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