There were two obstacles blocking me from proceeding with my build. After finding a professional who could sign off the compliance paperwork (I couldn't afford the Architect) I had a boundary issue which I agreed with a neighbour to resolve and then I had to add a window to the plans and submit them for approval before I could lodge a commencement notice and get going.
When the house was built years ago a hedge was planted at 90 degrees to the house fronts but the land registry boundary was different, meaning when I go to put in a new driveway, some of this land is owned by the neighbour. This could be a major headache when selling the old house to fund the self build. The neighbour was very agreeable and it only took a few goes with the solicitor to get all the forms signed, get some mapping errors resolved and the land registry map THEN matched the Architects plans / assumptions they were drawn up with at the time. Simple fix but it took a call to the Land Registry office to get hold of the person who was dealing with the query. As they were on holidays for a week, the system automatically demotes unresolved issues from "waiting for attention" to "request for more information". They dealt with the issue the same day they were back and thankfully the revised map coordinates all matched and the file / folio was updated. Case Closed!!
There were a number of planning conditions attached to the grant of planning permission. Some were protect trees, etc but one was to add a window on the gable end for passive surveillance of a public road. I've written about this before but the grant of planning was very clear that updated drawings would be required to be accepted as compliant before I could commence building or else!! I wrote to them in September 2018 looking to have this removed and told them why. Never got a reply to this date. I had other issues finding a path through the building regulations without access to an Architect. It was September 2021 when I got my finger out and had another go! I expected it would be a few weeks, it was an easy decision for someone to make, I'd get the ok in early November and I could start selling up / planning my build from January 2022. Christmas came and went, no word. I did reach a very lovely administrator who did reply to my enquiries but had no idea when a decision would be reached. There was a change in the law in December 2021 (Ireland - Republic Of) requiring responses to compliance issues to be made within 8 weeks. I assumed I would be fast tracked to clear the backlog but as January went and February was reaching the end I wondered if everyone like me was at the bottom of the pile as the newer applications would be given priority. I made that exact enquiry and it was politely suggested that if I resubmitted the same drawings they would THEN be covered under that new legislation. This was going to mean a winter build though, not what I wanted at all. But I needed that decision. So on February 28th 2022 I resubmitted the plans and waited 8 weeks. In the ninth week I had received no word from anyone but thankfully as it was a bank holiday they were running a day or two behind and on the first day of a two away holiday break, my first in three years, I got the word, the compliance submission was approved.
Now, I had a fallback plan in mind where I could extend my planning by another 5 years - this was a hangover from the last crash, making it easy for people to extend planning due to that disruption - unknown to me however it was rescinded last year. I only found out recently. My planning expires next June 2023! I can only extend it if the building work is expected to be substantially completed by that time. Bit open to interpretation but I really need now to make a call to proceed or not. If I can get started by January 2023 I should be well ok. Later and it might get fun!! I'm on variable rate % on my current house so I need to get all my ducks lined up and sell to proceed.
Anyway, long story short (amazing if you're still reading this!) but I can now lodge a commencement notice. That clears the way for my to realign the driveway, put in a new boundary fence to split the property and sell the house, and build on the side garden site I've been hoping to do for the last 7 years! My mortgage application has expired and a lot of the quotes have too. Can I still afford to build and find reputable trades to do the work? Remains to be seen but the plan is to finish all DIY on the current house, get it cleaned up ready for sale and go from there. 7 months of legal/planning issues finally over. I've read and heard of far worse but a window in my case has been partly to blame for a delay of 3 and a half years!! Certainly the last 7 months for sure but that's how it goes. But with a few really good people onside (land registry, planning office and solicitor) a result was reached and delivered. And I just started a laying a new Patio last week in frustration....!!