Do I need UK planning permission for subsidence repairs with foam resin injections?

No, resin foam injection may not require planning permission. This is because it is a less invasive and disruptive process than traditional underpinning.

Resin injection is a less disruptive process than traditional underpinning. It does not require excavation, so it is less likely to damage landscaping or disrupt daily life. Foam resin injections are a simpler process than traditional underpinning. In most cases, SubsidenceLtd engineers will not need to enter a property at all, focusing on the exterior land around your home and pinpoint foundation repair locations with specialised construction equipment.

UK Planning Permission for Structural Repairs to Foundations

Want to speak to en engineer? Call us on 0333 1300592 between 08:00-20:00, we are open 7 days a week! Alternatively, you can use our subsidence cost calculator to get an estimate of the cost of subsidence repairs.

The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990: This UK Act states that any work that affects the structure or appearance of a listed building or a property in a conservation area requires planning permission. However, there are some exemptions for minor works, such as repairs to foundations. Foam resin injection may be considered a minor work if it does not significantly alter the structure or appearance of the property.*

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015: This Order sets out a list of works that are permitted without planning permission. Schedule 1, Part 1, Class B(b) of the Order states that underpinning is permitted development, provided that it does not involve the excavation of more than 25 cubic meters of material. Resin injection typically does not involve the excavation of any material, so it is likely to be permitted development under this Class.*

Subsidence Repairs for Listed Buildings

For both subsidence repair methods, if the property is a listed building or located in a conservation area, you may need to obtain specific consent due to the sensitive nature of these locations, so listed building owners and areas of national conservation will need to enquire on a case by case basis.

Regardless of whether you opt for resin foam injections or traditional underpinning, both methods require compliance with building regulations to ensure safety and structural integrity. You need to notify your local authority’s building control department, do ask us if you need any help with finding the website of your local authority. In both cases, leaseholders should check their lease terms and may need permission from their freeholder or management company.

Structural Repairs with Traditional Underpinning

The initial messy phase of traditional structural underpinning is about preparing a new, stronger foundation under your house. It involves digging deep to reach stable ground and then putting in strong supports to hold up the house.

Imagine using a spade to dig a hole in your garden but on a much larger scale. Traditional underpinning structural engineering professionals use special equipment to dig deep holes or trenches under your house. These holes need to be deep enough to reach stable soil or rock that can support your house. How long this takes depends on things like how big your house is, what kind of soil you have, and how deep the stable ground is.

The excavation aim is to create a new, stronger foundation underneath the existing one because the current foundation isn’t holding up the house properly anymore. Like the table wobbles, and when a chair leg breaks – you need to put something stronger underneath to keep the chair up.

Once the holes or trenches are dug, the next step is to put in supports. These are usually made of strong materials like concrete or steel. You can think of these supports like new, sturdier legs for your house. They’re placed in the holes or trenches and then carefully positioned to make sure they can hold up the house.

Time it Takes: The time this all takes can vary. If the soil is easy to dig and not very deep, it might be quicker. But if the soil is hard or the stable layer is far down, it can take longer. Also, larger houses or buildings might need more supports, which can also take more time.

After the Supports Are In: Once these new supports are in place, the house’s weight is gradually shifted onto them. This needs to be done carefully to make sure everything stays stable and the house is properly supported.

Remember, informing your insurance company about planned repairs, even if not legally required, is generally the safest and most responsible course of action. Transparency allows them to assess the risk and adjust your coverage if necessary, ensuring you remain protected in case of future issues. Having said that, when our engineering and/or technical engineers conduct an on-site assessment, their professional qualifications and paperwork may negate the need to contact your home insurance company as the insurance company will use the same legal guidelines in their decision-making process.

*Sources:

The Planning Portal: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/
The National House-Building Council: https://www.nhbc.co.uk/builders/products-and-services/techzone/nhbc-standards
The Federation of Structural Engineers: https://www.istructe.org/
Party Wall Act 1996: If either method involves work that affects a shared wall (party wall) or is close to a neighbour’s boundary, you must inform your neighbours and may need their agreement under the Party Wall Act. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-resolving-disputes-in-relation-to-party-walls/the-party-wall-etc-act-1996-explanatory-booklet

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