The Community Infrastructure Levy and what it means for self-builders and barn conversions

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a piece of legislation adopted by most UK councils affecting developments since 1st April 2016.  It is an additional charge that applies to new-build homes, new floors in barn conversions and home extensions over 100m2. You can apply for self-build exemption if it will be your only home.

What is a community infrastructure levy charge?

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge that local authorities in England and Wales can choose to place on new developments,  with over 100m2 of new floorspace, or that create one or more new dwellings.

Am I liable for community infrastructure levy?

What is CIL and who pays?

This charge only applies if you are creating:

  • New-build floor space such as a new-build dwelling.
  • A large home extension (over 100m2).
  • New floor area such as a mezzanine level in a barn conversion.

The CIL charge does not apply to any existing floor area.

But don’t panic because….

If you are a self-builder (i.e. you will be living in your new home or barn conversion for at least 3 years. Or it is an extension to your own home that you will be living in for at least 3 years) then you can apply for exemption of the levy.

Read more about specific project types…

The CIL regulations can be complex. It is important to consider how it may affect you if intending to convert an existing barn, build a new home or extend your home in the future.

I am planning a barn conversion…

View our barn conversion case studies here.

The good news is that changes of use (such as the conversion of a barn into a dwelling) do not usually attract the CIL for two reasons.  Firstly, a barn conversion does not usually involve creating 100m2 or more of new floorspace.  Secondly, floorspace that has been in legal use for a continuous period of at least six months within the 12 months preceding the granting of planning permission is disregarded when calculating CIL (See Section 40 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations).

Section 40 of the CIL Regulations

But, you might be liable for CIL if your barn conversion involves creating additional new-build floorspace (e.g a mezzanine or extension to the barn). Here the levy would only apply to the additional floor area, not the total building area.

I am planning a self-build or house extension…

See our self-build and extension case studies here

A government initiative to stimulate the self-build market means that a development can also be exempt from the CIL if it is a self-build/extension project.

There are three types of self-build exemptions; for a whole property, for a residential annexe and for a residential extension.

  1. Whole Property

Those claiming exemption must own the property and use it as their primary residence for a minimum of three years post-completion. If the self-builder sells or rents their property within this period, they will be charged the full levy of their area.

  1. Residential extension

If certain criteria are met (see regulations 42A and 42B), then a self-builder will be exempt from paying the levy for extensions. For example; the main house must be the self-builder’s primary residence and only if the proposed extension enlarges the primary residence i.e. it is not an additional unit. Extensions less than 100m2 are already exempt according to the minor development exemption.

Regulations 42A and 42B

In both cases it is important that the correct procedure is followed in order to receive a notice of exemption; including not starting works before this is received. It is important to note that even if these types of projects do not require planning permission, the CIL will still be charged unless exemption applies.

Ultimately, the landowner is responsible for seeking CIL exemption, or, is liable for paying the levy within 60 days of commencement of the works. CIL payments are usually made in cash, but can also be paid “in kind”, for example through land.

What is community infrastructure levy used for?

A CIL enables the local authority to raise more money for local infrastructure improvements than Section 106 obligations. It also provides developers more certainty about costs, as it is a fixed charge.

Section 106 agreements and CIL

The Bad News

The paperwork – The first set of forms and area plans would be submitted by your architect. The second set, need to be submitted by the self-builder and prior to commencement of building – so set a reminder on your calendar. Starting building works before the forms are submitted could mean you need to pay the charges, even if you qualify for exemption.

CIL charges

Councils use Charging Zones to determine the CIL cost, and have produced corresponding maps. In West Northants there are three main categories for charges; rural, urban and Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) which range between £50/m2- £200/m2.

Further information on CIL charges for two local councils can be found below.

West Northants CIL

Cherwell District Council CIL