There have been additions to legislation governing the construction of housing (including Oak Framed Houses) on rural areas which need to be read in addition to and not instead of existing legislation. The legislation is of particular interest to those who wish to self-build in remote areas of the countryside as it explains what sort of build is permitted in the regions which have a high level of protection. PPS7 refers to Planning Policy Statement Seven: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas, it is clause 11 which is of interest to those considering a self-build project:
“11. Very occasionally the exceptional quality and innovative nature of the design of a proposed, isolated new house may provide this special justification for granting planning permission. Such a design should be truly outstanding and ground-breaking, for example, in its use of materials, methods of construction or its contribution to protecting and enhancing the environment, so helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas. The value of such a building will be found in its reflection of the highest standards in contemporary architecture, the significant enhancement of its immediate setting and its sensitivity to the defining characteristics of the local area.”
This was replaced in March 2012 by paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which states that a design should:
“be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design, more generally in rural areas; reflect the highest standards in architecture; significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area”
Building Regulations or Building Control
Building regulations are often confused with planning permission. They are two very different processes. The council can carry out both elements, but latterly private firms have the power to ‘sign off’ key stages of a build project.
Building Regulations are concerned with the quality and safety of the building and build method; it covers many areas. For example, Carpenter Oak Ltd need to have the green oak timber frame engineered by an independent engineer whose certificate signs off the structural integrity of the structural skeleton. The engineer will consider snow loading, the roofing material, the timber sections and the type of jointing to satisfy themselves that the frame we have designed is fit for purpose.
Building Regulations also cover the log burner, fire safety and the suitability of the foundations.
There are several ways to obtain Building Regulations. Firstly to submit detailed drawings for sign off and then key site inspections at critical stages of the build, foundations being the first. This process is the standard approach for more extensive projects particularly if an architect is involved. The other is to obtain building notice – you or the builder issues the building control department of your intention to build and they will then come at critical stages to inspect the work being carried out. This process works well if the building team are up to date and experienced and suits small projects.
Private firms like Jhai or the local authority building control officer can carry out inspections. You can still start a build without Building Regulations but cannot start building before gaining planning permission.