Why you can’t afford to not use an architect…
When it comes to a building project, we all want to make our budget stretch as far as possible. If you’ve already got a builder in mind to complete the work, it may seem tempting to skip the step of hiring an architect completely. But we’re going to explain why using an architect will actually save you money.
A good Architect (and we do recommend using a RIBA Chartered Practice) will start by working with you to fine tune your ideas. Up to date with building regulations and practices they will quickly be able to let you know if your proposal is feasible and will put you in the best position in regards to submitting planning applications.
The architect will manage the design and build process for you, which includes liaising with building regulation officers and the planning department. Taking control in this way not only ensures the build runs as smooth as possible but also helps to avoid costly (and timely) disputes.
An architect will also assist in the selection of a contractor. Making sure they are adequately insured and competent. Your architect will convey your vision to the building team and will make thorough checks that all work is safe and adheres to both building regulations and your original plans.
Architects also abide by a statutory plan of works and will also be insured themselves which goes further to minimise risk for your build.
And finally, with a vast knowledge of construction, an architect will take in to consideration building materials and the design brief itself in order for you to maximise your budget and help avoid expensive mistakes, thus generating lower running costs of the overall project.
If you’d like to find out more about our process and how we work as a practice we have a quick and easy to watch video explaining all our stages of work.
Do I Need Planning Permission?
If you are looking to change the use of a property, there are many things that you need to know before going ahead. One of these things is whether planning permission will be necessary.
Planners categorise all buildings by their use class, i.e. offices, dwellings, etc. Certain use classes can be converted to other certain use classes without needing planning permission. This is called permitted development. Please note that permitted development policies vary between England and Wales.
For example, if you wanted to change a restaurant into a hairdresser’s, planning this change of use class does not require planning permission as it is permitted development. However, if the hairdressers were going to be converted into a restaurant, planning permission would be required as there is no permitted development right for this conversion in Wales.
We recently worked on a project that required planning permission for a change of use. We were approached by our client to assist with the conversion of a doctor’s surgery into six apartments. The doctors’ surgery and the apartments needed planning permission from the local authority due to being in different use classes.
What Is Needed When Applying for Planning Permission?
The following documents have to be included within the application to apply for planning permission;
• Relevant plans of the site and elevations if there are any alterations to the facades.
• Supporting documentation.
• The Application Form.
• The correct fee. Learn how to calculate this for both Wales and England.
Wales: https://ecab.planningportal.co.uk/uploads/welsh_application_fees.pdf and for
The Local Planning Authority then decides whether to grant the planning and will usually make a decision within eight weeks.
What Influences the Local Planning Authority’s Decision?
They base their decision on the following criteria:
• The number, size, layout, siting and external appearance of buildings.
• The infrastructure available, e.g. roads and water supply.
• Any landscaping needs.
• What you want to use the development to be.
• How your development would affect the surrounding area, e.g. if it would create lots more traffic.
Do I need Building Regulations for my Project?
If your change of use does not require planning permission, it may mean that your project still needs building regulations.
Still Not Sure If Your Project Needs Planning Permission?
If you’re still not sure that your project requires planning permission, the best option is to chat with people who will know. Our architects can advise if your project needs planning permission or even building regulations.
If you are undertaking a project and would like to receive some advice regarding planning permissions or building regulations, please get in touch. Call the office on 01633 744144 or email email@example.com to arrange a free one-hour consultation.