TrustMark, the government backed quality mark for tradesmen, recently said this about the proposed plans to relax the current planning laws: There has been much talk of how this new housing plan could help fuel the economy, and there’s no doubt that anything that gets Britain building again is a very good move. But our concern is that relaxing the planning laws on home extensions and other major building projects could end up fuelling the black economy.

To be fair straight away here, TrustMark have said that they do support the plans and support any measure which is design to get Britain building again. But that comment from Chairman Liz Male seems a little hairy fairy to me. A relaxation of the planning laws won’t help the black economy and give the advantage to cowboy builders. Why would being able to build a slightly bigger conservatory than was previously possible allow the black market to benefit?

Yes the planning laws are being relaxed. But at the same time, the rules to help govern our industry are NOT being made any tighter. Therefore, IF a cowboy builder was to try and rip off a customer, it wouldn’t have made a difference if the extension/conservatory was 3 meters deep, 4 meters or even 8 meters! If a builder is going to attempt to rip someone off, having the ability to build a bigger extension isn’t going to make that any easier.

But lets give a bit of credit to the potential homeowners that are thinking of building a new extension or conservatory. Just because they now have the ability to build a bigger building, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to lose some extra brain cells and use a bunch of unprofessional people. Granted, there are still some people that get ripped off, but that is not down to the planning laws. In these days of better consumer awareness and an abundance of information, customers generally tend to know the better companies from the ones they should be staying away from. Being able to build a 8m long single story extension isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference.

Now on a slightly different matter, does anyone actually know when these new planning laws are set to be introduced? I have done a little bit of digging when I can but I can’t find anything which hints to when Parliament will pass the laws. The good news is that it doesn’t have to go to public consultation and only needs MP approval. But when they will give this approval, I don’t know. Do any of you out there have a better idea or know for sure when this is going to be approved? Is it already in place? A comment or two would be appreciated on this matter!

You can see a report on the TrustMark article here: