- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 23 Dec 2020
Alteration work may be required for a wide range of reasons, including:
- Factors unforeseeable at the design stage, e.g new efficiency standards become possible.
- Total or partial change of use e.g an office block converted into housing.
- Change of ownership necessitating enlargement, extension or other changes.
- Failure of building components.
- Changing technological possibilities.
- Wear and tear.
- Partial demolition.
- Linking or separating spaces.
- Making or closing openings.
- Retrofitting a new component or feature.
- Refurbishing an existing component or feature.
- Renovating an existing component or feature.
- Repairing an existing component or feature.
Alteration work may be instigated by:
- The building owner.
- The building tenant (with the owner’s permission).
- The local authority (e.g if it needs to take urgent action or has instigated a compulsory purchase order).
- Central government (e.g. changes in regulations).
Alteration work can be complex and may involve higher design and construction fees than new build work. Appointing a designer or contractor to carry out the works may be on the basis of a firm that has successfully undertaken work in the past and is trusted by the client/building owner; or by inviting firms to tender for the work in an invitation to tender (ITT).
Some alteration works may require planning permission while some may be considered ‘permitted development’ for which planning permission will not be required. The best way to determine whether a development is ‘permitted’ or not is to refer to the local planning authority.
Examples of permitted development include:
- Certain enlargements or alterations to houses.
- Construction of some sheds and fuel storage containers.
- Certain porches, doors and windows.
Alteration work may also require building regulations approval.
The term ‘alteration work’ as used in this article should not be confused with alterations to the scope of works of a construction contract, which are more commonly known as ‘variations’. Variations are changes involving addition, substitution, or omission to the original scope of the construction contract, and can affect the design, quantities, quality, working conditions or sequencing of the works.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building regulations.
- Change of use class.
- Do the building regulations apply to existing buildings?
- Henry Boot Construction Ltd v Alstom Combined Cycles.
- International Existing Building Code (IEBC).
- Material change of use.
- Planning permission.
- Permitted development.
Featured articles and news
From inns and coaching houses to boutiques.
Survey reveals green skills gap.
America's economic collapse produced scores of PWA Moderne projects.
The benefits of glowing aggregates and cement.
Urgent need for open communication to address mental health issues.
Guidance offered on COVID-19 green recovery, building safety and more.
Providing strength and support above the joists.
Enforcer will test and investigate product safety.
Underfloor air conditioning comes to 24 St James's Square.
Consultation on public right to buy unused public property.
IHBC resource offers improved consistency.