Raising Roof Height Of Semi-Detached House Rules

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David H | 03:33 Wed 20th Mar 2019 | Law
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The latest twist in my unplanned house rebuild is the new roof was built almost two feet higher than before, only found when the scaffolding came down. Of course the council were on it like a tramp on a fiver, and is now on the system for retrospective permission.

Semis are either the usual continuous ridge height, or like me when on a steep slope staggered to correspond with each floor level. Mine is now aligned with the higher house next door. Apparently this is the equivalent of flashing in church on Good Friday or farting in a lift with the Pope, and am yet to discover more than a single case in Canvey Island which was not just done but passed, of course any which failed will no longer exist.

It seems there is no remedy for a roof being too high besides total removal, although in some cases the ridge can be cut off, but as the new roof was in proportion it's also wider so would depend on the width being accepted. I am looking for anyone who has seen another house with one half of a pair being raised with council permission, and any other advice on dealing with a builder who has raised a roof without permission (I wasn't asked or told either). The due date for the decision is the end of April, so I am preparing myself in the meantime with as much law as I can get hold of in case I need it.


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This story reminded me of a similar case about forty years ago in Northern Ireland. A number of semi-detached houses had been damaged in a bomb blast. The road sloped quite steeply and each pair of houses had different level roofs. When the builders repaired one of the houses they raised the roof to the level of the next pair, instead of raising it in proportion with the other half of the semi. Planners pounced, mainly because neighbours complained that the smoke from the chimney was now not being carried away properly and was coming in their window. After a lengthy dispute, and many solicitors' letters, the roof was allowed to remain, and can still be seen as it was constructed. I cannot say, however, whether the same decision would be reached today. This happened forty years ago when many buildings in NI were bomb-damaged in the troubles and building repairs were a daily event in many towns. I think the local council/planning office had enough to contend with so they let this one go. Good luck with your repairs. I hope you are able to sort it out.

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