Starting any building project which involves planning permission can be a stressful experience for anyone, even for a professional in the industry who has worked for many years! First and foremost, like any type of construction work, do your own research before starting. Talk to all the relevant professionals and get as much advice as you can. Your architects, interior designers and builders have been hired to take care of all this, so make the most out of their knowledge and pick their brains. However, if you are embarking on this rollercoaster of a journey yourself for the first time, we understand the pain you're going through and believe us, we have all been through the daunting experience of never-ending application forms for building projects. We decided to put together a simple guide which will give you some of our top tips when dealing with the UK planning permission.
1. Do You Even Need Planning Permission?
This may be absolutely obvious, but you would be very surprised how many people think they need planning permission but don't actually need it. A great source to find out whether you need planning permission or building control consent is www.planningportal.co.uk. This is a great source to find up-to-date information regarding the ever changing rules and regulations regarding planning permission and building control. Your local council's website is also a crucial source for you to refer to for relevant information as well. Nowadays, everything is done online so it has become a lot easier to find the right information for you to progress an application for building work.
2. Fill Out All Necessary Paperwork Thoroughly
A great way to do a 'draft' version of any of these forms is to print off the online form and do a version by hand before completing and submitting the online form. This will ensure that no mistakes are made therefore no delays. Remember, each time you submit a planning application you will be required to pay an application fee, this will add to your overall budget so fill out all required paperwork carefully.
3. Use A Private Building Inspector
I recommend using a private building inspector, only speaking from my own experiences. I prefer to work with private building inspectors purely because you have a single person assigned to your project and who will regularly visit at various stages of the construction. This usually keeps the process moving swiftly without many delays. If you opt for the local council, you may not always get the same person, and although they write notes on the progress of the project, the inspector visiting on your next construction stage may not always read these or have access to these - therefore things may be delayed.
4. Be Present At Inspection Meetings
Even if your architects or builders are project managing from start to end, or you have a project manager taking care of your project, I would always recommend you being present as much as you can during these inspection meetings. This is because if any delays happen, you can hear from the inspectors reasons first-hand and you will be reassured the project is running smoothly. However, if you're very busy (probably the reason why you've hired all these professionals) don't worry, leave it to them as it's their job to get everything done and liaise with the right parties to complete the project.
5. Factor In Delays
Like any project in life - always factor in delays! Especially when it comes to dealing with local authorities, as there will always be some sort of delay from one party or another, always take this into account and factor in time for the delays when planning out your whole project. It can be very rough estimate, I personally incorporate these once I have planned out a project and broken it down all the aspects required. I give a very rough 'delay estimate' which is dependant on the scale of the project but shouldn't be more than a few weeks in total unless there is major delay due to something big and unforeseen by all parties involved.
6. Keep Calm!
Finally, make sure you keep calm through the entire process! It will be a long, long, draining experience, with many obstacles along the way. And a lot of fees too. Be reassure though, It will definitely be worth it, as all work will be approved by the local council (fingers crossed), therefore no headaches afterwards. As soon as the last screw and lick of paint has dried, you can enjoy your space without any more worries!
For further information regarding planning permission and building control consent, please visit your local council website and the planning portal website. Here you can find in depth guides and information on all topics related to planning permission. Remember, you can simply avoid costly mistakes by doing thorough research on everything!