Fri | Aug 18, 2017

A matter of land | Can I build without going through the parish council?

Published:Sunday | November 20, 2016 | 11:00 AM
Craig Francis
You are allowed to effect cosmetic changes and interior design changes without permission from your local authority; however, you need approval for pretty much anything else you want to do where construction is concerned on your property.
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Good day, readers. Thanks for the continued support of this column. I ask that you exercise some patience with us as we try to get to all your questions in a timely manner. This week I respond to a reader's question regarding approval to remodel their property.

Hi Mr Francis,

Read your articles all the time.

If a homeowner encloses a garage that was previously grilled off and makes it into a room, does he need to get approval from the parish council?

If he wants to add a bathroom to the back of the house, what kind of permission would be required (if any)?

Thanks for your help.

C.R

Good day C.R,

This is a question that is asked by many, and not just of me but of architects and draughtsmen alike. The first thing I will look into, of course, is what does the restrictive covenant says.

There are many communities where you are allowed to have a garage built very near to the boundary lines, as long as it is done so with 'grill'. If you change that material to, say, concrete so as to make the structure into, say, a room, then you will have a breach of the restrictive covenant. So the first thing I would suggest you do is to check the restrictive covenants on your certificate of title. If the restrictive covenant does not allow it, then you will have to either reconsider that plan or try to have the covenant modified or removed from the certificate of title so that you can proceed with your plans.

As to your more substantive question about transforming a grilled-up area, converting it into a room, if permission is needed from the local authority, the answer is yes. Any modification on your building that will affect the exterior or the roof will require you to submit drawings for approval from your local authority. So that would also apply for the addition of a room to the rear of the house. You should not undertake any construction or modification to your building structure unless you have sought and received approval from your local authority.

You are allowed to effect cosmetic changes and interior design changes without permission from your local authority; however, you need approval for pretty much anything else you want to do where construction is concerned on your property. Even to construct certain walls require local approval.

So to 'add on' the bathroom, you will require building approval and permit to do any construction of the kind. If you don't seek approval, then a stop order can be issued to you and you pay a fine, then have to submit drawings for approval. If the building is not up to the required code, then you can be instructed to demolish what has been constructed already. So I urge you to seek approval before attempting anything of the sort.

My advice, get the requisite drawing, meet the required standards by the local authority and submit your drawings before embarking on any such project. However, first check your restrictive covenants to see if what you want to do is allowed.

Until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at craig_r_francis@yahoo.com or Precision Surveying Services