(no fees involved)

An essential part of the process, meeting face to face and viewing the site first-hand, enables us to get a full understanding of the client’s brief, the site, and the constraints and opportunities.

Following the initial meeting we will issue a fee proposal, this will include any general advice (Permitted development Rights, planning history, etc) that we think may be pertinent to your project.

Once the fee proposal has been accepted and confirmed the process breaks down into 3 main elements: (i) Concept design and Planning, (ii) Building Regulations and construction information, (iii) Tender and contract administration

You may not require our services for all stages of your project, and you are only committing to one stage at a time. Please note that interim stage payments and sub-stages vary from project to project, depending on size and complexity.

The following resume provides a brief guide to the process for those who are new to planning and development:-

Stage 1 – Concept design and planning

1a – Site survey – Most projects require a topographical site survey, or a measured survey of the building, or both. Some survey work can be done in-house but it may require a specialist land surveyor

1b – Concept design – Depending on the brief we can provide options appraisals, design workshops or 3D modelling as appropriate

1c – Pre-application advice – Local authorities offer pre-application advice for a fee. The advantage of this service is that it will flag up any concerns that officers may have, and the design can be modified to suit prior to submitting a formal application

1d – Planning – Taking on board any pre-application advice that has been sought we can proceed to prepare and submit the planning application. Subject to location many planning applications may require one or more specialist reports and surveys (E.g., Tree survey and report, Environmental survey, Transport statement, Flood Risk Assessment). The standard timescale for a domestic application to be decided is 8 weeks from the date of registration

Stage 2 – Building Regulations and construction information

2a – Construction information – Also known as working drawings, this is the stage where we prepare the technical drawings and specifications required for the purposes of the Building Regulations, for tendering and for the contractor to build from. We continue to liaise with the client to ensure the detailed specifications are to their liking and meet their needs.

2b – Other consultants – Most domestic projects will require the services of a structural engineer, and larger projects may require a full team of consultants. We are happy to advise on the appointment of consultants and whilst we are not responsible for the work of others, we will work with them to provide a coordinated pack of information

2c – Building Regulations – Most building projects require Building Regulations approval. You have the option of using the local authority Building Control or a private consultant ‘Approved Inspector’. We will submit the Building Regulations application and liaise with them over any additional information they require.

2d – Pre-tender – We are happy to assist with compiling a list of tendering contractors and advise on different types of contract. Please note we cannot take responsibility for a contractor’s work and we strongly advocate getting recommendations and seeing other examples of a contractor’s work. The issue of tender documents concludes stage 2 of the process.

Stage 3 – Tender and contract administration

3a – Tender – During this stage we will deal with any contractor queries and on return of the tenders we’ll provide an analysis and comparison of the tenders received

3b – Start on site – The day when your property, or part of your property, becomes a building site, and is handed over to the contractor, with implications for insurances, health and safety, etc.

3c – Contract administration – This is not a daily presence on site but generally involves regular site visits on a fortnightly or monthly basis to check quality and progress and address any queries. Depending on the type of contract, administration of the contract may for example include issuing architects’ instructions and payment certificates

3d – Completion & handover – The technical term is ‘Practical Completion’ and when the works are reasonably complete, except for minor defects, a Practical Completion Certificate is issued. The contract will set a period for rectification of defects

Finally, to clarify

We are happy to advise and assist with the appointment of specialist consultants, but we are not responsible for their work

We expect the client to pay the local authority planning fees, and the fees of any other consultants.