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A guide to period property building regulations

PUBLISHED: 09:44 20 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:50 20 July 2016


As specialists in the restoration and refurbishment of listed buildings, Nutshell Construction is frequently asked the same familiar questions by clients; often, they are unaware of the planning complications and regulations surrounding construction work on listed buildings.

Nutshell are specialists in period properties and in order to help clients they would like to attempt to demystify the regulations surrounding building planning and construction.

When do you need permission?

Thankfully, not every job needs planning permission but knowing what does require advance approval can take a lot of stress out of the construction process. Contact either your local authority or a private building control body to apply for approval or ask any questions.

Generally, advance approval is needed in order to:

• Replace fuse boxes and connected electrics

• Install a bathroom that will involve plumbing

• Change electrics near a bath or shower

• Put in a fixed air-conditioning system

• Replace windows and doors

• Replace roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs

• Install or replace a heating system

• Add extra radiators to a heating system

These are relevant to any property - listed, period or otherwise. Additional things to consider when carrying out work on a listed property are any changes to the structure or character of the building internally or externally. In these cases, listed building consent is usually required on top of ordinary planning permission.

What type of plan do you need?

Before applying for any permission, you need to be clear about the type of work you are undertaking. This will help you massively when you come to apply for permissions and approvals. Applying for the right one is important to make sure you don’t have to alter the work or pay a fine later on. There are 2 types of planning permissions to consider:

• Full plans – these are the most thorough permissions. They cover bigger jobs, such as external work, extensions and structural changes. These need to be applied for well in advance, as sometimes a decision will take up to 2 months to come through.

• Building notices – these are for smaller projects, like interior and domestic projects which do not include structural changes. These are very quick, and should only take 2 weeks to come through.

What fees are involved?

Nothing comes for free! Planning permissions are no exception. Make sure the necessary fees for permissions are included in your budget so that you’re not caught out. Because each project is different, there is no set price. Things like the size of the project and the type of work to be carried out will input into the overall cost of permissions. However, you can get a rough estimate by contacting your local authority or other planning bodies. 

Hopefully this brief guide puts the rules and regulations of the construction world into a clearer light, but if you still have questions, we’re happy to chat – contact us on 01903 217 900 or and we’ll share our expertise with you.


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