Frequently Asked Questions
Our FAQ section is rather detailed due to our varied project knowledge. We’ve been asked (and answered) it all before but if there is anything specific you would like to know, please ask by using the button below. We will try to add it to the FAQ to keep adding to the quality content already found here:
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?
What planning services do you require? Depending on what you need we can offer a complete package on all planning, architectural and structural designs through to construction stage on any size projects within the domestic and commercial sectors. We offer a free initial site visit and consultation to establish the feasibility of the project and if planning permission is required. We can provide a free quotation on most domestic projects. Depending on the size and scale of the project we try to tailor our packages to be as competitive as possible. Below are some of the services we provide, and this is by no means an exhaustive list:
- House Extensions – Rear Extension, Side Extension, Side Return Extension, Wrapped Extension, Porch
- Loft Conversions – Dormer Loft, Mansard Loft
- Garage Conversions
- Internal Alterations
- New Build
- Design and Access Statements
- Planning and Building Regulations Approval
- Site Surveys
WHY DO I NEED THE SERVICES OF AN ARCHITECT?
When considering architect services there really are a lot of niches to choose from. Our Architects and Architectural Technologists can help with everything from initial design drawings to build ready drawings ready to hand to your chosen builder.
We understand each client requires a different type of architect services such as wanting initial advice on design options and feasibility, while others want help with planning permissions and building regulations.
The more you use us, the more it costs. But, this will allow you more control on your project, as we can help you avoid pitfalls and getting ripped off. Having an expert on board gives you more weight when dealing with builders and contractors. As the more detailed the drawings and specification, the lower the risk of overruns, which is the main contributor to costs rising.
Our architects and architectural technologists will come up with a fixed scheme and make it clear what is required and expected from the builder. We try to tailor our services to each individual client depending on the scale of the project on hand.
DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION?
You will need Planning Permission and need to apply for it if your property doesn’t fall under permitted development. Your Local Authorities regulate the development and use of land through local policy guides, government guidance and statutory legislation. It is hard to tell what you can and cannot do as there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.
Permitted Development rules do not apply if your property is located within a Designated Area’ (e.g. Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conversation Area) or has a Listed Building Status. There is nothing to stop you from applying for Planning Permission, but you will need scale drawings of plans, elevations, a section through the building and its relation to surrounding properties.
Our free initial site visit and consultation will help you establish whether you need Planning Permission for your proposal. Speaking with the experts could save you thousands.
DO I HAVE PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS?
Many councils allow permitted development rights for extensions under what is called, yes you guessed it: permitted development, meaning you do not need to seek Planning Permission. This means you’re allowed to extend your home within the permitted rules such as size, height and distance from the boundary of your land whether that be a house extension or a loft conversion. They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Similarly, commercial properties have different permitted development rights to dwellings. In some areas of the country, known generally as ‘designated areas’, permitted development rights are more restricted. For example, if you live in:
- a Conservation Area
- a National Park
- an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- a World Heritage Site or
- the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads,
you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas. There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO SUBMIT PLANNING APPLICATIONS?
Submit Planning and find out more about planning applications. Planning application fees are set nationally by the government with Building Regulations fees set by each individual Local Authority. Because of this, we do not include any planning fees or building regulations fees in our packages and you will have to pay statutory fees to your Local Authority when submitting formal applications.
You can calculate the fee yourself by using the Planning Portal’s online fee calculator or you can ask your council. If you are unsure about the appropriate fee for your application, you are strongly advised to contact your local planning authority in advance of submitting your application, as an incorrect fee will delay the processing of your application.
However, we can act as your agent and submit your applications on your behalf to save you the hassle of having to do this yourself.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLANNING PERMISSION AND BUILDING REGULATIONS APPROVAL?
Planning decisions determines whether or not a proposed development or change of use can go ahead based on overall size, aesthetics and its effect on the surrounding area. This is decided by your local Planning Authority, whereas Building Regulations approval is determined by your local Building Control Authority that deals with the design and construction detailing of a project and monitors the project at building stage through regular on-site inspections.
Building Regulations Approval is more straightforward than the Planning Permission process as Building Regulations Approval sticks to its guidance on achieving compliance and is far less open to broad interpretation.
The UK’s Building regulations seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out properly. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK. There are two parts to getting Building regulations approval, there is the architectural aspect that deals with the technical factors such as ventilation, insulation, materials and fire safety and there are the structural aspects that require structural calculations to determine what size steel beams and foundations are needed to hold the structure. We can provide you with both the architectural and structural side as we also have a sister company that does everything structural related, so everything is done in-house.
If you have any other questions that were not answered here feel free to get in contact with us.
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Unit 19, Tims Boatyard, Timsway
020 3151 7686