Should I approach builders first before obtaining Planning and Building Regulations approvals ?
Most builders will tell you that they require planning permission and building regulations plans before they can commence any work. Without these, builders will also not be able to provide you with an accurate quotation for the work. You will also have the advantage of being able to make an accurate comparison between quotes from several builders as those quotes will have been based on the same information.
Are your fees less or more expensive than other consultants ?
It depends on who you are comparing us to. If you compare us with traditional architectural practices then we are considerably cheaper. Most will offer a great service but their fees will be high at between 10-15% of the projected build costs. Therefore for a £50K extension your fees could be between £5,000 to £7,500. On the other hand there are some companies that offer a budget service for between £250-£800. The drawings can often be of a poor quality and the consultants are usually un-qualified and un-insured. They can also offer a less than perfect level of customer service. We will normally charge a few hundred pounds more but we produce high quality drawings and an excellent level of customer service.
Do your fees include council planning and building regulation fees ?
The Planning fee and Building Regulation fees made payable to the Local Authority are extra. We will advise you of the costs in writing prior to making the submissions.
Does the price include Structural Engineering calculations and details ?
Our fees are for architectural services to obtain Planning and Building Regulation approvals from the Local Authority. We are more than happy to sort out the specialist consultant with one of our approved consultants. All you would need to do is agree the fees with us and pay us the fees.
Is postage and printing included in your fees ?
Yes, all postage and printing is included for submissions of Planning and Building Regulations approvals. We only charge printing costs if you require additional copies or issues to third parties. We provide a full set of drawings upon approval of Planning and Building Regulations.
Is there anything else that is not included ?
All applications are different and all councils have various application requirements. Our fees include anything of an architectural nature but occasionally the council may ask for additional information which we are not able to provide. Examples include, and are not limited to, flood risk assessments, tree surveys, topological land surveys, protected species assessments, bio-diversity statements etc. If the council does require any of this information we will off course administer the process but a separate fee will be required to the specialist consultant. We can normally offer advice on these matters and the likelihood of them occuring.
How detailed are your drawings ?
Our drawings are extremely detailed and fully annotated. All our drawings are computer generated and our details and notes have been developed over the years so that they comply with all the current regulations.
Are you insured ?
We have Professional Indemnity Insurance.
What is the difference between Planning and Building Regulation Approval ?
Planning drawings will include plans and elevations as existing and proposed. The Planning Officers will be checking to ensure that your development fits in with the street scene and does not adversely affect any neighbouring properties. Building Regulation drawings are more detailed and include sections and details to show that the development will be built to the correct standards and Building Regulations.
How long do the approvals from the Local Authority take to be processed ?
The time it takes Local Authorities to process planning applications differs from Council to Council. Planning decisions should take a minimum of eight weeks to be processed if everything runs smoothly. Unfortunately we have no control over the process once the application has been submitted although we do obviously chase the Council on your behalf.
The process for obtaining Building Regulations approvals takes approximately six weeks. We will submit Building Regulation drawings approximately 2-4 weeks after planning has been submitted.
Being realistic you should allow a minimum of 2-3 months to obtain both sets of approvals from your Council.
Can I start building works before obtaining the approvals ?
Absolutely not – it is against the law to start building works without Planning or Building Regulation approvals. If you do start works before approval you may be forced to put the building back to its original state entirely at your own cost which may result in demolishing all new building works. It is extremely risky to start works prior to obtaining all approvals and we will always advise against such action no matter what the circumstances.
Do you also carry out surveys and what type of survey do you perform ?
Unlike most other companies our fees include a measured survey of your property. The survey determines the layout and size of the rooms and boundaries. The survey is not a conditions or structural survey. However, we would be more than happy to conduct such a survey if one should be deemed necessary. You will be advised if this is the case and of the costs prior to any such survey being conducted.