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Your adaptation will either be a 'major' or 'minor' adaptation.

Minor adaptations

Examples of 'minor' adaptations are hand rails to your external pathway or steps, stair rails and grab rails. These are provided free of charge up to a cost of £1,000 regardless of whether you rent your home or are a homeowner.

All 'minor' adaptations will be organised by the council and passed directly to a builder to progress.

Major adaptations

Examples of 'major' adaptations will include the provision of a ramp, level access shower, stair lift, vertical through floor lift or external lift or extending your home to provide sleeping or bathing facilities.

What help can we give you?

For all 'major' adaptations, you will receive a visit from a technical officer who will determine whether the adaptation is reasonable and practicable, considering other residents, the practicality of carrying out the works with regard to access to the work area, conservation considerations and the structural characteristic of the property.

If the adaptation is not considered to be appropriate at this stage you may have to consider moving to another more suitable property.

However if the adaptation is considered appropriate then we can assist you by designing your adaptation to fully meet your needs, developing full working drawings and a specification for the works.

We can also support you by making all of the necessary applications to planning and building control, building over sewer notices and party wall applications where needed.

If moving home is the best option, you may also be eligible for support with this.

What about planning applications?

Your adaptation may require approval from the planning department. This requirement will be mostly limited to adaptations that propose extending your home. As a general rule, planning approval will always be required for a single storey extension that:

  • Extends beyond the line of the building to the front of your home.

  • Extends to the side of your home with the width of the extension being greater than half the width of your existing home.

  • Extends to the rear of your home where the length of the extension is over 3m.

In addition any external step lift or vertical lift to the front or side of your home will require planning approval.

It can take up to 12 weeks to obtain planning approval from the date of submitting a planning application, although most applications are decided within 8 weeks.

The planning department would normally charge a fee for processing a planning application but if the works are to improve the lifestyle of a disabled person then the works are exempt from this charge.

Your technical officer will submit or arrange the submission of the planning application.

Visit planning for further information.

What about building control applications?

Your adaptation may also require approval from building control. They ensure that all works are carried out in accordance with all current building regulations which cover structural stability, fire safety, site preparation and damp proofing, use of toxic substances, soundproofing, ventilation, hygiene, drainage and waste disposal, heating, stairs and ramps, fuel and power conservation, access, glazing and electrical works.

It normally takes around 8 weeks to obtain building control approval from the date of submitting a building control application.

Once the works have commenced, building control will inspect the works at various stages to ensure compliance with building regulations.

Building control would normally charge a fee for this service but if the works are to improve the lifestyle of a disabled person then the works are exempt from this charge.

Your technical officer will submit or arrange the submission of the building control application.

Visit building control for further information.

What about building over public sewer notices?

If it is proposed to build an extension to meet your needs and the extension is to be built within 3m or, in some cases, is to be built over a main sewer pipe then a 'Building Over Public Sewer Notice' will be required.

The application will need to be made to the local water authority (Severn Trent).

There is normally a cost related to submitting such a notice but all applications and payments will be dealt with by your technical officer.

What about Party Wall Notices?

Under the Part Wall Act 1996 building owners must notify adjoining home owners if they intend to undertake any building works to their property which is covered by the Act.

A party wall is one that stands on either one owners' land but separates the two buildings or sits on the land of two or more owners and can either be part of a building (e.g. dividing wall between two houses) or not part of a building (e.g. garden wall).

The act covers any new building work on the boundary, work to an existing party wall or structure or any excavations that are near to or below the foundations of a neighbouring building.

Your technical officer will submit or arrange the submission of the party wall notice.

Managing the build

We can also assist you by appointing a suitable contractor and ensure that the work is undertaken correctly by visiting your home while the adaptations are in progress and undertaking appropriate checks on the work.

We can also assist by enabling all stage payments and completion payments to the contractor to ensure that they have paid for the work that has been completed.

How is a contractor appointed?

Contractors are appointed using a council approved select list of contractors who may be either employed by the council to undertake adaptation work on a term contract over a period of time and will carry out your adaptations as well as many others, or as a single one off contract specifically for your scheme.

In both instances the council will ensure that there has been a proper and robust tender process undertaken in accordance with best practice and the council's standing orders and financial regulations.

How are the works managed?

The contractor will meet with you prior to works starting to discuss them and the start and completion dates agreed with approval from the council. If required, your technical officer will also be present.

Once the works have been commenced, the contractor will manage the works on a day to day basis and the Technical officer will visit you, a minimum of 1-2 times a week, to ensure that the work is progressing smoothly. You will also have the option of contacting your Technical officer at any time during office hours if you have any queries or problems.

All payments to the contractor will be made by the council to the contractor either upon completion of the works or as stage payments throughout the course of the works if the works are likely to take longer to complete due to their size and complexity.

Related Links

Contact Details

Access to Care
0300 555 0055

Dudley Council Plus
0300 555 2345