The importance of distinguishing between one and the other lies in the necessity to apply for either a major works licence or to simply notify The Town Hall of your intention to do minor works to your property. If the works are classed as 'minor' it is a relatively simple process to do the Town Hall notification. If the works do not fall within the scope of a 'minor' works then a detailed project prepared by an architect and technical architect will need to be submitted with an application. and approval awaited.
What is covered by a 'Minor' works licence?
'Minor' works are simple in nature and do not affect the structure or 'footprint' of the building. They are also works which don't affect service installations or common area services or the actual number of dwellings or commercial units. Also, 'Minor' works must not alter the exterior finish or design of the property or the foundations or structure. Finally the works must not adversely affect existing provisions for occupation, fire safety or security.
'Minor' works should include replacing floor tiling, sanitary ware, baths, kitchens, repairing render and repainting external walls, repairing roofs, replacement of windows, doors, shutters or awnings, provision, repair or replacement of pipework for service installations, waste or soil pipes, clearance and fencing of parcels of land and installation of solar panels.
This list is by no means exhaustive and is only given as an indication taken from research and consultation with various Town Hall technical departments. Individual cases and proposals should be consulted with the relevant technical departments to ascertain if they consider the proposed works to be covered by a Minor Works Notice or Major Works Licence.
If the works that are proposed do not appear to be covered by the definitions above then it may be necessary to apply for a Major Works Licence.
To accompany this type of application it will be necessary to provide a detailed report specifying the works with plans, calculations etc. This will normally be produced by an Architect working in conjunction with a Technical Architect.
To make the Notification of Minor Works, a Technical Report, plans and priced specification of works are usually required. These can be produced by a Technical Architect or Architect. The Town Hall fee is usually around 4% of the cost of the works, although some Town Halls do not charge a fee.
If you ever find yourself unsure which application is likely to be necessary for something that you are proposing to carry out, please do not hesitate to contact me, Philip Wright, Technical Architect and Chartered Building Surveyor, on 667 757 323.