Is this exempted development

Is this exempted development

Postby Confused » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:13 am

We have just completed an extension to the rear of our house, total floor area 21.8sqm. We used the entire width of the house so in effect, blocked our side entrance entirely from access to the back. So we have built 2 parapet walls on either side of the garden (just up to the party line as agreed to the left of us and well inside the party line on the right hand side as agreed) The parapet wall on the left is 3m (incl capping) and the parapet wall on the right is 2.7m high (incl capping). We built a pitched roof from either side meeting in the middle of the house at the back, 3.7m high. So based on the PL5 guidelines as well as the planning act we have been well within the criteria for exempted development. We also left 38sqm outside personal space in the back of the house. The final part of the extension was to fill in part of the side entrance to meet the back of the house. This is walled to one side where the neighbour agreed to allow us build up the side entrance wall (which was up to our waists) and we built a lean-to with pitched roof in the same style as the rest of the house. We then have an external door from that space out to the front of the side entrance which has been left uncovered for the storage of bins. This side space is 5.1sqm and structurally sound as we also had a structural engineer assess it and certify it. This area has not been floored, has a 6" step from the house into it and will be used as a boiler house/shed for storing kids bikes and a sleeping area for the dog and possibly the washing machine. This space is listed in PL5 section 7&10 as a shed/boiler house and is exempted provided we keep the outside to the same style as the house. This is not seen from the front of the house as the original side entrance gate is there and it's ecntrance is set back into the back part of the house.

So all in all we have kept within the rules. Last week when I was away my neighbour called the council as she was not happy with the side entrance wall, told the inspector that she never gave us permission to build upon it and she was scared that it would fall down so she was adviced to get a structural engineer's certificate (which we arranged and paid for) and the matter has now been reported to the planning authority as unauthorised development as the back part of the extension can be seen from the road although it's in the rear of the house, it's considered the side and is a grey area. When the structural engineer was in with my neighbour, she told him that she was sorry she ever gave permission to us so admitted to him that she had. This same woman has originally given us permission to build the extension on the party line but changed her mind 4 days before the building started. Her reasons were that she liked her fence and her flower bed and didn't want them disrupted. She has since dug up all the plants and replanted new rose bushes and removed half the fencing so it is now to our hips. My husband and I had spoken with her numerous times before the side entrance wall was built on and she was always in agreement, she even invited my husband in to her house to meet with her 2 daughters and son in law where thay all came to the agreement that we would not build the extension on the party line but would build up the side entrance wall.

So we are now waiting for the planning authorities to call out to inspect the extension. We sent them drawings and dimensions etc. so they know what they are coming into but we feel that the problem has been caused by our neighbour denying that she gave us permission.

Does anyone have any experience with this or if her denial has caused this problem in the first place. We have since rendered the entire side entrance wall on her side (including the 5m of wall that wasn't increased) and she seems happy that the engineer gave it a clear bill of health but I doubt she has retracted her complaint to the planning department. Does anyone know how long these investigations usually take. The extension is complete, just needs painting and the kitchen installed into the old part of the house so when it's investigated they'll be looking at a completed build rather than one still in progress.

Thanks in advance for anyone's help, we are very stressed over it as we had done our homework beforehand and sure we were well within the scope required for exempted development.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby shadow » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:16 pm

No it is not a grey area. Any development that is seen past the line of the side of the house is not exempt. Even if is located "behind" a garage that has not been converted.

Also building on party walls is not advisable as it always gives rise to property disputes and maintenance issues.

In relation to the first it will be necessary to seek approval for retention.

In the second it may be better taking it down and setting the wall back from the end or better behind the house where it would remove the planning problem.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby Confused » Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:33 pm

Thanks Shadow, do you know where this information is documented. We had no idea following the planning regulations would be so difficult. None of the guidelines and regulations we studied before starting this extension mentioned that it is a requirement that the extension to the rear of the house must not cross the line of the side of the house or we would have applied for planning. I'm sure a lot of people get caught in this one.

On the side entrance issue, we have spent a lot of money ensuring it is finished in the same manner as the house with a pitched roof as well as the rendering of my neighbour's side of the wall so taking it down at this stage and rebuilding is not an option. The lean-to is no longer a lean-to as it is now tied into the house and no longer leaning. We now simply have a higher side entrance wall which would have been done eventually as we are at a higher height than our neighbour so our wall was always only waist high and we had no security or privacy from it.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby shadow » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:04 pm

CLASS 1
The extension of a house, by the construction or erection of an extension (including a conservatory) to "the rear of the house" or by 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.
The key piece in the legislation is the term "the rear of the house". Certain local authorities are very clear about this definition. If it extends beyond the side wall it is no longer to "the rear of the house".
For the full reading of the legislation and other qualifications see:
http://www.environ.ie/en/Legislation/DevelopmentandHousing/Planning/FileDownLoad,8797,en.pdf
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby henno » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:27 am

the definition of 'to the rear of the dwelling' as shadow gives above, is the same as is understood by all local authorities close to me...

if the extension appears to the side of the dwelling when viewed from the front, then the extension is no longer 'to the rear'....

if you are in doubt however, you can apply for a section 5 determination from your LA.... see here for example...
http://www.dlrcoco.ie/planning/Forms/English/Section_5.pdf
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby sinnerboy » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:05 am

Anybody seen any official statement / guidance as to what is "the rear" . Not seen from the front seems a reasonable interpretation - but is there a formal definition ?
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby Confused » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:23 pm

Thanks Shadow but where exactly is the definition of "the rear of the house" documented as I can't find it in these regulations.

As this definition is not documented anywhere, how, other than phoning the planning authority, is the general public supposed to know this?
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby shadow » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:59 pm

Page 154 of the document describes the exemption rules.

The extension of a house, by the construction or erection of an extension (including a conservatory) to the rear of the house or by 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.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby wearnicehats » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:42 am

shadow wrote:Page 154 of the document describes the exemption rules.

The extension of a house, by the construction or erection of an extension (including a conservatory) to the rear of the house or by 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.


I think the guy's looking for a definition of rear. For example, if I live in an end-of-terrace and put an extension on the rear, it's fully visible from the side.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby shadow » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:25 am

The rear (back, behind) is the "back part of anything" OED short edition..... Therefore the building at the end of the terrace means the back elevation "behind" the front elevation, not the side elevation. However other rules such as the set back from the boundary interact as well. The legislation was meant to make things simple for 90% of situations and give a simple series of rules of thumb that would be easy to follow. Stepping out from the rear, back, behind etc. is in contrary to the rule.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby Confused » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:56 am

Thanks everyone but I still don't see anything written in black and white that states "the rear of the house is where it cannot be viewed from the front" or "The rear is the back of the property but not beyond the side wall". Most people have their sheds built to the back of their gardens, normally in the far corner where it can be viewed clearly from the front garden, does this mean that this shed is actually to the side of the property as opposed to being at the rear of the property as we would naturally have assumed seen as it is beyond the back wall of the property even though it is to the side where it can be seen from the front...

What I am trying to ascertain is how was I to know that the extension that we built (believing it to be to the rear of the property as there was nothing that stated otherwise) was not exempted development? Surely if a rule/definition such as this one can be the deciding factor in whether an extension is exempted or not, it should be clearly stated in ALL documentation including the simple guidelines in order for the Joe Soap of this world to know if their planned development is exempted. Surely there should be a simple statement within the guildelines/regulations that an extension to the rear of a property should not be visible from the front of the property down the side entrance, this would be clear and easy to understand and therefore we would have applied for planning permission before building the extension.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby pico » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:14 pm

Confused, it is not written into the Regulations, which leaves it open to interpretation.

The interpretation by most Planning Authorities is that it should not be visible from the front elevation and therefore if it extends beyond the side wall it is no longer to "the rear of the house".

If you want to challenge this, the procedure would be to make a Section 5 application and if rejected, appeal to An Bord Pleanala.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby henno » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:26 pm

confused, as pico has stated... the course of action for you is to get a section 5 determination.... thats what its there for....
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby Confused » Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:53 am

Thanks Pico and Henno, I'll look into the Section 5 route. It's under investigation anyway with the Planning Authority. We received a letter dated the 24th July stating that an investigation had started and that they would be in touch and so far nothing since. I did email a contact I have in the planning department who told me that the inspector was on holidays and would be returning on 17th of this month which was last Monday and still no word from them. Does anyone know if there is a timescale for response at this stage?

We have read a lot about the extension that we have done and some authorities have a question in their Section 5 application form asking if the extension is within the curtilage of the dwelling and again another word with no written definition in the regulations so I checked the legal definition which states that the curtilage is the land sorrounding the dwelling or 'the garden' provided it is within the boundary of that land (we took that to mean not using a party wall). Anyone have a different definition on this word or is it also open to interpretation which makes things more difficult for us Joe Soaps.
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Re: Is this exempted development

Postby sinnerboy » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:59 pm

simply answer "yes" to the query confused
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