What are they?
In a planning sense
Changes of use in the Local Authority planning sense, are normally required when changing an existing area from one planning usage class to another.
For example : A normal shop or retail unit to A3 food preparation and take away unit.
We at M.Brebner are able to advise you whether your intentions are a “permitted change” (As termed by the Planning act.) or not and if a formal application is required, we will be able to assist, with drawings etc.
In a Building Control sense
Just to complicate matters, there is such a thing as a building regulations change of use application, which applies to scenarios such as a garage conversion to a house. A common misconception is that because from a planning perspective, garage conversions are considered “Permitted Development” (as long as the Local Authority have not placed restrictions to prevent this on your home), that a building regulations application does not need to be made. This is simply not the case.
There needs to be a change of use application to building control, to ensure all the building regulations requirements pertaining to a habitable area are complied with and signed off. Failure to follow due process of the above and gain a building regulations completion certificate for the conversion, can lead to the re-sale of your property being hampered or the re-sale offer reduced by prospective buyers under the heading of “potential regularisation costs”.