planning FAQ's

Architectural planning

Do I need a site survey?

Site surveys are inspections of an area where work is proposed, to gather information for a design. This can be done by you. Photos of the property & grounds will tell our designers as much as a walk round the site will. Things such as drains, foundations, external wall composition have to be assumed whether an on-site survey takes place or not.

Your property can be drawn by our designers with the sketch and dimensions you take when you follow our simple survey guidance sheet in the downloads section. The boundaries can also be picked up by using an ordnance survey map

Do I need an Architect?

The simple answer is no, we can provide you with the expertise with the information you provide us. We are fully experienced and will be a lot cheaper than your local Architect.

Do I need Planning Permission?

Not in all cases, we can advise on each individual case or you can follow the link below for FAQ’s on the planning portal.

What is the difference between planning permission and building regulations approval?

Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment.

Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

For many types of building work, separate permission under both regimes (separate processes) will be required. For other building work, such as internal alterations, buildings regulations approval will probably be needed, but planning permission may not be.

Do I need Building Regulations approval?

If you are carrying out building work personally, it is very important that you understand how the building regulatory system and material applies to your situation as you are responsible for making sure that the work complies with the building regulations.

If you are employing a builder, the responsibility will usually be theirs - but you should confirm this at the very beginning. You should also bear in mind that if you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations.

Some kinds of building projects are exempt from the regulations, however generally if you are planning to carry out 'building work' as defined in regulation 3 of the building regulations, then it must comply with the building regulations. This means that the regulations will probably apply if you want to:

  • Put up a new building
  • Extend or alter an existing one
  • Provide services and/or fittings in a building such as washing and sanitary facilities, hot water cylinders, foul water and rainwater drainage, replacement windows, and fuel burning  appliances of any type.

The works themselves must meet the relevant technical requirements in the building regulations and they must not make other fabric, services and fittings less compliant than they were before - or dangerous. For example, the provision of replacement double-glazing must not make compliance worse in relation to means of escape, air supply for combustion appliances and their flues and ventilation for health.

They may also apply to certain changes of use of an existing building. This is because the change of use may result in the building as a whole no longer complying with the requirements which will apply to its new type of use, and so having to be up-graded to meet additional requirements specified in the regulations for which building work may also be required.

In summary, the following types of project amount to 'building work':

  • The erection or extension of a building
  • The installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations
  • An alteration project involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure,  fire, or access to and use of buildings
  • The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall
  • The underpinning of the foundations of a building
  • Work affecting the thermal elements, energy status or energy performance of a building.

(Source: Planning Portal)

What happens if I don’t comply with Building Regulations?

Notwithstanding the possibility of enforcement action, you should bear in mind that if the local authority or approved inspector considers that building work carried out does not comply with the building regulations and it is not rectified, no completion/final certificate will be issued and this is likely to come to light through a local land search enquiry when you wish to sell your property.

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Architectural planning