It is important before you start your project that you are aware of the approvals that will be needed from the local authority for Planning and Building Regulations, as well as legislation that might affect your plans, such as party wall regulations. Your architect can guide you through matters as they develop the design. They will also be able to assist you in making the necessary submission for approvals and handle negotiations with the statutory bodies.
Planning permission and 'permitted development'
Bigger public projects (like a new supermarket or a library), always need planning permission. Smaller projects for private houses (eg extensions), often don’t need planning permission as long as certain limits and conditions are met. These projects are called ‘permitted development’.
Development of any kind on designated land is not permittable development. Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.
Building regulations make sure that new building work is safe, healthy, accessible and energy efficient. They are separate from planning permission. For some building projects you may need both planning and building regulations approval.
If you ignore planning and building rules
If you need to comply with building regulations and you don't:
· the person carrying out the building work could be fined - up to £5,000
· the building owner could receive a notice from their local authority requiring them to put the work right.
Why choose a Professional Architect?
If you’re thinking about building an architect is the best investment you can make.
When you hire an architect, you have a professional on your side who knows the construction industry inside out. You are working with someone who has undertaken seven years of architectural training – no other building professional is trained in design and construction to such a high level of expertise.
Architects provide a service that extends well beyond producing a set of drawings – they can handle the paperwork, bring value for money, imagination and peace of mind to your project, whilst keeping it on track and on budget.
The use of the title Architect is protected by law and may only be used by registered persons; provision of a general ‘architectural service’ is less clearly defined and may be provided by others such as technicians. A professional Architect will be expected to:
· Hold appropriate qualifications
· Be ARB registered as a statutory minimum,
· Hold an appropriate level of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) cover and
· Will maintain personal CPD (continuing Professional Development) training
How much will the build cost?
At current prices (2014), a very rough guide to overall construction costs might be as follows:
· Garage conversion 17-25K
· Simple lean-to extension 25-35K
· Two storey extension/loft conversion 60-90K
· Major refurbishment, and/or extension 35-180K
· Rebuilding 160K plus
Being a good client
Good architecture needs collaboration and dialogue from the outset – you have to be sure that you have chosen an architect whose work you like and that you are able to work with. Be ready to add your own views and banish the misplaced idea that your architect will impose their own tastes and ideas on the project. On the contrary, your architect’s aim will be to follow your brief closely and reflect the aspirations it contains.
Briefing, surveys and sketch ideas
Allow 3 to 6 weeks depending on the size of the project
· Decide on the main purpose of the work - what are you trying to achieve?
· Survey the property - understand the opportunities and constraints
· Develop sketch ideas - there is often more than one way of meeting your brief so we will prepare options and discuss which one best meets your needs
· Decide if further specialist advice is required (such as structural engineers and party wall surveyors)
Allow 2 to 4 weeks for preparation plus 8 to 10 weeks for approval
· Develop the design of the chosen idea (early input from an engineer might be appropriate)
· Review and agree that this design will meet your needs
· Prepare drawings, forms and other supporting documents for a Planning Application to your Local Authority
· Approach planners for initial comments, submit application and respond to feedback
Approach builders for quotes & submit Building Regulations application
Allow 4 to 8 weeks for preparation depending on complexity and scale of work.
· Develop detailed design and specification
· Obtain specialist design input from engineers if required
· Approach utility companies for consents if required
· Prepare a plans submission for Building Regulations approval if appropriate
· Research suitable builders and approach them for quotes
Construction and completion
Typically smaller extensions may take about 2 or 3 months and larger domestic developments can take up to 9 or 10 months. The speed will be affected by the size, complexity and methods of construction chosen.
· The chosen builder is appointed to carry out the construction work
· Many people carrying out small extensions feel comfortable to manage this process themselves, however larger works will often benefit from continued involvement of the architect:
· a meeting to brief the builder,
· regular site visits and progress meetings,
· a formal contract may be required which we can administer
· inspections on completion and up to a year after completion to deal with the possibility of defects
The time that it will take to get your development built will depend on many factors but it is wise not rush the process unnecessarily. Time spent at the beginning, making sure you have the right solution, can save much time and money later trying to put right things that were ill prepared.