The planning process is a complex phase, which can require us to produce a well-thought out strategy when preparing a proposal.

There are many factors for us to contemplate when commencing a project, which will include:

  • Local and national policy
  • Government guidance
  • How the proposal will be considered at local level
  • Impact on landscape
  • Impact on neighbouring properties
  • Listed Building restrictions
  • Ecological and Topographical restrictions

We will take into consideration all of the above factors to help form a strong strategy to maximise success for our clients.  Our in-house Planning Consultant will review each of the projects at this stage.

Introduction on Planning
A planning application is required for most new buildings and changes of use under the Town and Country Planning Act.  The Local Authority has a legal right to remove structures which have been erected without consent or which breach conditions of consent.  It is therefore vitally important that when required, planning permission is obtained prior to commencing with construction.  The Local Planning Authority (LPA) is a department within your Local Authority responsible for determining applications and enforcing the removal of unauthorised development.

Permitted Development
Certain small developments may fall within Permitted Development, which means a planning application is not required.  There are a number of criteria which must be met, including height, distance from boundary, and distance from highways or footpaths.  There are also areas where Permitted Development rights have been removed and an application is required for even a small Conservatory.  As part of the consultation process we will enquire with the LPA if they consider these rights may apply, and obtain written confirmation.

Types of Application  
There are various types of planning application, including, full planning applications for new homes, commercial projects and changes of use, and householder applications for domestic extensions.  Others include, Listed Building consent and Conservation Area consent.  You will be advised during your initial consultation which may be required.

Required Information
Once established that an application is required, the LPA will require a formal application and supporting documents.  This will include accurate scaled drawings of both existing and proposed layouts and elevations, a section view, roof plan, block and location plan.  A Design & Access Statement (DAS) may also be required.  Further information including Flood Risk Assessments (FRA), tree reports and environmental reports may also be required.  We will advise of these and prepare your application with all necessary documents.  As your agent, we will communicate and negotiate with the LPA during the application process.

Following your initial consultation and upon instruction your application will commence. The time to prepare drawings will depend on the size and complexity of work, usually for domestic extensions and individual houses this can be achieved within only a few weeks of instruction.  Once a final design has been agreed, your application and all supporting documents will be uploaded electronically via the Government’s Planning Portal.  This system ensures the LPA receive your application immediately and without the risk of postal delays.  The Local Authority will normally determine your application within eight weeks of registration.

LPA Fees    
Planning application fees are standard across the UK, currently £226 for a householder application, and £482 for a new dwelling.  Fees for commercial projects are dependent upon the size of development and Listed Building Consent is free.  You will be advised of the current fees for your particular project during your initial consultation.

The Decision    
After the planners have considered your application and any comments received, we will be issued with a decision notice, either granting or refusing planning consent.  We pride ourselves with an extremely high success rate, with over 90% of our applications being approved first time. However, there are occasions, despite our best endeavours, when permission is refused.  In this event, suggestions on design amendments to satisfy the planners’ concerns can be agreed and a reapplication made. An alternative is to appeal to the planning inspectorate.  Either way there are no additional application fees to pay, as you are allowed a “free go” if the application is of similar character and made within 12 months of refusal.  Appeals are free.

Building Regulations

Introduction to Building Regulations
Unlike the planning authority who are mainly concerned with the building’s appearance and impact locally, Building Control exist to ensure the proposals will comply with Building Regulations.  Work will be checked at various stages by an approved inspector and a certificate of compliance issued on completion.  Although the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) are usually used to perform this function, there are a number of alternative approved Inspectors.

Do you need Building Regulations approval?
Almost all types of building work will require a building control application except certain small buildings, such as porches and carports.  You will be advised during your initial consultation if any exclusions may apply.  It is a legal requirement of the owner to ensure compliance with building regulations, and unauthorised structures may be removed in extreme cases.

Application Types  
There are two types of application, Building Notice and Full Plans Submission.  The first may be suitable for minor works where building plans are not required, but carry the risk that should work not comply it may have to be taken down.  A Full Plans Submission will take a little longer as drawings are approved prior to commencement, but this eliminates any misunderstanding and ensures compliance of the works.  We will provide Building Control with all of the required information including drawings, specification and supporting calculations.  Furthermore, we will negotiate with, and provide any required amendment to Building Control.  On approval you will be provided with a copy of the Approval Notice and approved drawings.

Building Regulation Fees
The cost of Building Notice and Full Plans Submission are similar.  With the former the whole amount is payable on commencement of work, with the latter a smaller fee is paid on submission of drawings and the balance on commencement.  Fees vary between approved bodies and even LABC in different areas.  A project specific quote will be obtained.

The Approved Documents
The Building Regulations or “regs” as they are known in the building industry, exist to ensure the construction of safe, thermally efficient and accessible buildings.  This is usually achieved by following guidance set out in the following approved documents which are given legal status by the Building Act 1984.

We are very familiar and up to date with all current regulations, and will guarantee building control approval for all of our final drawings.