Frequently Asked Questions


Stage A – Getting My Project Started


Freqently Asked Questions

1. With the Survey and Inspection kit – Do you survey the ground, first and loft floors? Yes a complete house measured survey with laser, unless otherwise stated. For a rear extension, we tend only to measure the ground floor. Some times customers want the FF for a future project or require internal works as well. We measure accurately, so that we can see how much space you have and how thick the walls are, where the neighbours are, and what walls are made of. Our measured surveys include all principal and main incoming service points, but we do not list light switches. Estate Agent plan are useful for approximate layouts, but these drawings are not structurally accurate and often have glaring errors.

2. What is a Garden and Drainage Survey Kit? This Kit positions drainage lines, depths, external steps and levels. We survey near by buildings affecting your extension. To do this we lift manhole covers so we can see line depths and line. The garden levels are estimated to within 75mm, so that we can gauge how many steps, and heights of patios, walls and drains. Garden tree surveys are usually conducted by our engineering team, as tree positions strongly affect the depths of foundations.

3. With the Elevation and Section kit – Does this give me the plans that will be submitted to the council or how the house is now? Does this include plans for the front garden (is it necessary to include this?).  This kit prepares front, side and rear elevations plus a section through the building. We need the existing heights, to relate for the future extensions and new roof lines.

4. With the Design and Ideas kit – Is this when I tell you what I actually want done and then you draw the plans? Yes, like at your first meeting with us, we interpret your needs and ideas. House Design is a process. We listen to your needs and ideas, then place on paper a combination of your requirements and our suggestions. These hand drawn sketches are discussed, develop and eventually made into computer drawings. Do I need a further face to face meeting to talk about the ideas? Yes, maybe, but not typically. We get to talk lots of times by telephone, until things are right for you, [the business] and the family.

5. Why is the cost of this Design and ideas kit different, i.e. £425+VAT as opposed to £375 inc vat quoted in your website leaflet? – The original booklet and website was produced in 2008. This accounts for the difference in price.

6. Do I get freehand or CAD drawings? Yes, both but only once we’ve completed the existing & survey drawings, from these I am able to sketch and discuss… Are freehand or CAD plans essential for obtaining planning permission for my relatively simple job?   Absolutely – We make ‘Scale Drawings’ these mean everything to the council, as without a scale drawing the application would never be validated by the council and your builder would not know what to put where. With scale drawings it’s very likely that you would never be quite sure what the builder will put, in what place or actually define succinctly you want.

7. Why do I need an Ordnance Survey [OS] map? To show the council which land / which building, we / you propose to do the changes to. Without the Ordnance the application will be invalid. We outline the land in red. In some cases land does not have a precise address, and so by using an OS map we can be clear, if you own adjacent land this is outlined in Blue.

8. What is Planning Strategy? – This is where we review how best to submit your application to the council. Sometimes, it is better use and partially use your Permitted Development [PD] rights, and then apply to extend further using a Planning Permission which is ‘bolted onto’ the partially built PD extension. Other times, apply for the least contentious planning application and then make a second application for the more difficult aspects.

9. Why ‘Withdraw the Planning Application only to resubmit it? Sometimes parts of the application [or design] need adjustment. Some parts of the design may concern the council planning officers, so by withdrawing the application, clarifications can be discussed and resubmitted on approval. With the more complicated applications, we often provide or work with a local Planning Consultant who writes a supporting ‘Planning Statement’. This optional document sets out ‘council policy’ and supports the Architect proposal drawings with reasons for why approval should be given.

With the Application kit – this is the actual application to the council, is that right? Yes, We submit the existing & proposed scale drawings, and complete an on-line Planning Portal application form. We upload a project specific ‘Design and Access Statement’, often include the ‘Planning Statement’, and provide a short text summary ‘The Planning Proposal’ [2 lines] You are the given a Portal Reference and we provide details of where and how to pay the council fee [Typically this is £150 paid by you, for new housing units it’s £295]. For this fee we check the application are regular and timely intervals, following the application through to validation within the first 2/4 weeks. The application 8 weeks starting running. We always diarise a call to you and the planning officers 2 weeks before decision.


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