Sunday 3 June 2012

Planning Department


The Planning Department is responsible for managing land use and development in Birmingham City. You should always consult the Planning Department before you undertake any extensive work on your property. This applies equally as much to residential dwellings as it does to business.

In many instances Planning Permission will be required and it is always better to find out what paperwork and permissions, if any, are required before you start to make any changes. Not doing this can result in costly rectification later if the planning department do not agree with the modifications on your property. This responsibility is required for the council to control the use of land and buildings to ensure that new buildings and alterations are to the benefit of not only of those making them, but are not detrimental to the local community.

All of this falls under The Birmingham Plan or the City's Unitary Development Plan (UDP). It is actually a legal requirement under UK Law that the council have such planning in place and abide by its rulings. The plan is extensive and covers new housing, recreational parks and open spaces, new housing, factories, offices, shops and residential dwellings. In fact, any building work whether it is new or old.

Before carrying out any work on your property that will alter it structurally or otherwise, you should always check to make sure that you are not in breach of any regulations. There are some exclusions of course and general DIY and upkeep does not apply with regard to cosmetic changes. By the same token, if you painted your house bright pink and then applied yellow dots all over it you might get a Council Officer calling round with a legal notification and Court Order for you to restore it to its orginal status. Properties that are listed buildings follow separate planning permission requirements. Trees are also often protected so don't think you can chop down that big oak at the bottom of your garden without checking whether it is covered by a protection order. Some new housing estates have been built round mature trees with preservation orders. There are a host of permissions required with regard to health and safety, regulations, hazardous substances and demolition. In fact any aspect of structural change or major alteration is going to require planning permission.

If all this seems to much for you then your local contractor will normally process all the necessary forms or appoint the appropriate architect or surveyor to ensure that you comply with the rules. If in doubt, phone them and find out. The Council are not shy on taking the appropriate action if complaints are made about changes to properties that have not applied for permission. If they regard the complaint as justified they will serve notice which can often cause cessation of work or even a demolition order for work carried out.

Building Regulations are national safety standards which cover the alterations to buildings. These regulations also cover the stability of structures, fire hazards and a host of other safety measures. Alterations to shops, factories, offices, hotels and buildings in which people congrigate must submit full plans and demonstrate that they have satisfied or will satisfy the safety procedures and standards that fall under the Building Regulations. In many cases the Fire Service are consulted to ensure that the premises or proposals are safe. To find out more about the Planning Department take a look at their website:

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