Can I use Zinc, Steel or Render as a Loft material finish?

Under "The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015" all material finishes need to be of the same matching material as the existing roof. This has always been the case and will remain. In most cases, roofs are built with either a tiled or slate finish, if this is the case then the proposed dormer when applying for a certificate of lawfulness needs to present that all materials will need to be of the same matching kind. Slate for Slate, Tiles for Tiles comparison, this article will explain example situations which have fallen outside the PD parameters.

LOFT CONVERSIONS FINISHED IN STEEL SHEETING

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Steel sheeting was refused by the council

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A tiled finish was needed to comply

Our client choose to construct his rear dormer out of a modern steel sheeting material spray painted with a dark grey powder-coated finish, the end product looked very nice we were very impressed in the office. The homeowner decided to build his loft conversion first and then when complete to apply for a retrospective PD application ("existing use class") so to obtain a valid Certificate of Lawfulness.

The rules under Permitted development are set in stone "Materials to be of similar appearance to the existing house" so when any application is sent in to be reviewed under the GPDO legislation a case officer will review all elements including the materials. If the proposed materials do not match that of the existing kind that the house currently has, like tiles or slate then the application will be refused based on non-compliance.

RETROSPECTIVE - APPLICATION "EXISTING USE CLASS" WITH THE INTENT OF ZINC CLADDING BEING USED

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After a lengthy 8-week wait the applicant received the worst news which he did not want to hear. The decision came back as refused due to the non-compliance of materials not matching the existing material finish of the property.  

Building control signed off all the works for compliance and issued a final completion certificate, however, the planning department is totally different from building control and has its own powers put in place for compliance.  

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REFUSED

RETROSPECTIVE - APPLICATION "EXISTING USE CLASS"
RE-APPLYING AFTER 4 YEARS OF TILE REPLACEMENT

The next steps the homeowner had to take was to replace the costly steel sheeting he had paid for and replace it with tiles that matched the existing property materials. Scaffolding was needed for the roofer's access which came at an additional cost, so the whole replacement from steel cladding to tiles did come in at a heavy price. The client replaced the tiles and waited 4 years to decide to again apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness as an "existing use class" to pay the council a further £103 for the application fee.

Good news all came back excepted and a PD certificate was issued. 

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APPROVED

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Architectural Design Studio

A NICE HAPPY ENDING TO ONE OF THE NICEST CLIENTS WE HAVE EVER WORKED WITH - YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Mr TB thank you kindly for your generous gift, our team are very happy that you have achieved the end goal and that you can now relax without the council bothering you anymore. . .  :-)

THANK YOU MR TB FOR SHARING PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOUR COMPLETED LOFT CONVERSION DESIGNED WITH THE FINISHING TOUCHES, STAIRS AND INTERIOR MAKEUP BY YOURSELF FOR OTHERS TO VIEW AND GET IDEAS WHEN DESIGNING THEIR OWN.
Kind Regards,  John Domenech

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THE ABOVE EXAMPLE IS THE WORST-CASE SITUATION FOR ANYONE TO GO THROUGH AS THE BUILD TOOK PLACE WITH THE RISK OF BEING ALTERED BY ENFORCEMENT ACTION TAKEN AGAINST THE HOMEOWNER, THIS WAS A COSTLY CHANCE TO TAKE

ANOTHER MATERIAL MATTER TO BE MADE AWARE OF RELATING TO GPDO RULES

BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE OF AN APPLICANT REQUESTING THAT MATERIALS ARE TO BE DESIGNED WITH A SMOOTH RENDERED FINISH, EVEN THOUGH OUR DESIGN TEAM HIGHLIGHTED THAT THIS WOULD NOT COMPLY WITH GPDO AND THAT TILES ARE THE ONLY MATERIAL TO BE ACCEPTED FOR APPROVAL THE HOMEOWNER WAS ADAMANT THAT THE APPLICATION WAS GOING TO BE MADE WITH A MATERIAL FINISH OF HER CHOICE AS OTHER HOUSES IN HER AREA HAD LOFTS CREATED WITH RENDER FINISHES.

An application was made for a proposed Loft conversion where the material was noted as RENDER finish. Usually, the case officer assigned to any Certificate of Lawfulness application of the proposed use case officer will not interact with the agent at all. They will review the design and if the design fails to meet all the criteria of the PD legislation for Lofts then a refusal will be issued. The response from the case officers in the past is that the design submitted was not lawful therefore a refusal was given and it is not the case officer's job to highlight areas of failure the design must comply with. 

In this rare instance, we had a very nice case officer assigned to this application. An invalid letter was sent out to the agent stating that the submitted design was non-compliant, the reason was that the proposed materials (smooth render) were not matching the existing being of a tiled finish. The letter basically saved our client an 8-week duration and getting a refusal if dealt with by any other person. The Applicant then gave in to accept the GPDO rules and to then go ahead and amend the drawings to reflect tiles to be the chosen material. Please see below the correspondence from the council's planning department.

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CONCLUSION: Asking for any other material finish other than what is existing then a refusal will be the outcome of your proposed GPDO application status wasting time and money. 

SMOOTH RENDER - ZINC - STEEL SHEETING - PEBBLE DASH ARE NOT PERMITTED UNDER GPDO 

DPL DESIGN TO THE RULES AND ARE REALLY NOT CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT OTHER ILLEGAL METHODS HAVE TAKEN PLACE ON OTHER HOUSES.  SUBMIT YOUR PLANS TODAY TO OBTAIN YOUR CERTIFICATE.

Appeals are more successful if you use and hire a professional planning consultant to prepare documentation and act on your behalf

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