More than half, or around 57%, of British homeowners claim to have had extensive work done on their properties. Of these, nearly a fifth are unsure or ‘couldn’t remember’ as to whether they had the right permission in place before doing the work, according to new research.

In all, some 15% of property owners couldn’t say for certain whether work including conservatories, extensions and the like, needed planning permission to go ahead. Of these, approaching a third, or 29%, said they took the risk because they were confident of getting away with it.

The research, carried out by Co-Op Insurance, found that nearly a fifth, or 19%, felt they didn’t need to seek permission, 14% didn’t even give planning permission a thought, while nearly one in 10 decided not to bother as they feared having to pay extra money. A further 20% didn’t tell insurers about the changes they were making to their homes.

In the currently cautious housing market, more of us are choosing to improve our homes rather than sell up and move. This study perhaps raises some justified concerns about just how much work is being doing without proper authorisation through the relevant channels.

The research also suggests that more than 40% of householders are planning on carrying out building work in the future. Of these, nearly a fifth, or 18%, would risk not seeking proper consent. Again, the belief that they could ‘get away with it’ was cited as the key reason for not obtaining planning permission, with approaching a third or 29% of home owners claiming this.

But, equally, around a quarter felt that waiting for the right permission would slow down work. Slightly more (27%) were worried about the additional potential expense, while 19% comment that permission ‘didn’t seem important.’

According to the survey, there’s even something of a gender divide, with women more likely than men to want to seek appropriate consent for extensive building work.

It is, of course, hugely important that you do have the right permission carried out to your property, and that you tell your insurance company about any material improvements you have done. And of course, not having correct permission can seriously jeopardise any subsequent insurance claims. Equally, subsequent problems can end up being far costlier than the original planning fees.

In the vast majority of cases, for conservatories with certain provisos, planning permission isn’t needed. Nonetheless, you need to be sure that what you are doing is 100% legal before work can begin.

At Oasis Windows, covering our area of East Sussex from Battle to Bexhill and beyond, we’ll talk you through everything, and help you apply for, planning permission where it’s needed. And our industry experience makes it more than likely you’ll get a successful outcome where you do need to apply. Get in touch to discuss your project today.