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A step by step guide to planning

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A general guide to submitting your householder application

Each customer and project has a unique set of requirements but the general process is that you submit your design to us for approval. To help you do this we’ve compiled this guide from our experience of the most common issues customers face when going through the process.

Step 1

Make sure you know what you want to achieve. At this stage, if you’ve decided to use an agent, they will take responsibility for the process as a whole, as well as guiding your project design with you. If you decide to do the work yourself, you should consider the following;

  • What size do I want the building/extension to be?
  • How do I want the inside to be laid out?
  • What materials should I use?
  • How will the design ‘fit in’ with the rest of the dwelling?
  • What effect will it have on neighbouring properties?

Poor preparation can lead to considerable increases in time on the project. If you have decided to do the work yourself, prepare a simple scale drawing of the project. It should have the key dimensions, such as length, width and height. This will give you something to refer to as you step through the process, or should you come into the office to discuss with a planning officer.

Step 2

The Planning Portal has an interactive 3D guide for houses and 3D guide for flats. These are very useful guides that can help you to quickly determine whether you need planning permission and/or building regulation approval or not. It contains information on the most common householder applications such as extensions, loft conversions and external works.

Step 3

Some extensions to dwellings are allowed under ‘permitted development’ rights. This means that in effect the government has given a blanket approval for the work. As long as you come within the restrictions in each case you will not require planning permission.

In some cases your permitted development rights may have been removed, so if you’re not sure always check with the local planning office. They will be able to confirm whether these rights have been removed from your property.

Steps 4, 5 and 6

By now, you should be fairly sure whether you need planning permission or not. If you’re still unclear, check with your local planning office. If you can’t get to your local planning office, contact us and the planning officer will  confirm the position. They will be able to guide you on the requirements of the legislation and give advice on whether a planning application is required.

Step 7

As noted above, if you’ve decided to use an agent (architect, surveyor etc.) they will have already gone through the above steps on your behalf. We would always advise that for larger more complex works, you seek professional advice. A good agent will help you refine your ideas and design and develop the project for you. They will also be able to advise you on what other permissions (if any) are required.

At this stage you will need to get proper plans drawn. With properly drawn plans your builder can more accurately ‘price’ the project for you.

Step 8

Our website contains all the necessary forms, guidance leaflets and instructions you will need. You can download the planning application forms and guidance from our application forms and fees page.

Step 9

Make sure that you’ve included all the necessary plans, forms and statements required for your application to be registered.If you’ve used an agent this work will have been done on your behalf.

Step 10

Send your application to the planning office. Each office has the facility to accept applications electronically, so if you can scan your information in you can send it to us in Adobe .pdf format. Or apply online using the planning portal. You will need to send the cheque in under separate cover.

Step 11

The decision making process normally takes up to eight weeks. This gives you the time to check with building control. Most extension and alteration works require building regulation consent. At this stage and for more information on the building control and construction process in general, please visit the building control householder guide.

Last updated: 6 January 2016


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