Peter Card Associates

Client - Frequently Asked Questions

Are your initial site visits free?

We do not charge for time spent on our initial briefing meeting site visit, but if we are successful in securing your future architectural work, we do seek recompense in relation to our travel expenses.

Do PCa Service fees include for future Planning and Building regulation applications?
Our architectural fees do not include the fee costs for planning and building regulations applications. Planning Application fees related to domestic extensions are currently set at £150 and Lawful Development certificate applications are £75. Building Regulation applications are related to independent sliding scale fees set by your Council and these are generally updated on a yearly basis. For further advice, visit your Council’s own website.

What kind of fee basis do you work to?
There are usually 3 main stages in relation to our work:
  * Measured Survey and Sketch Design to accord with your initial briefing
  * Preparation of planning drawings for submission purposes and
  * Preparation of detailed Building Regulations drawings and related information for submission purposes.
  Generally our fees are fixed for each stage of our work on your behalf.

When are your fees due?
Our fees are due for each completed stage of work; so for example when the planning drawings are completed and are ready for submission to the planning department, you will be invoiced for that stage of work, at the same time as we request the applicable Council fee for submission.

What is Planning permission?
If your proposals involve a house extension, external house alterations, house conversion to flats etc, generally you will require planning permission. Your Council’s Planning department will determine any Planning Applications made either via a delegated decision by the Planning Officer allocated to your submission, or if your project proves to be contentious, then it will usually be determined by the Council’s Planning Committee. Planning applications generally take eight weeks to determine but this time scale can be lengthened depending upon the complexity and scale of the Application. Planning guidelines for submitted proposals can differ between Councils.

What are Permitted Development Rights?
Not all projects require full planning approval. If you have never had any extension to your property before and do not live in a Listed Building or within a Conservation Area, as long as your proposal complies with all the relevant criteria, you may qualify for a Lawful Development Certificate or written confirmation from your Council that your proposals are de minimis and therefore exempt from Planning legislation.

From the 1st of October 2008 changes were made to extend Permitted Development Rights, but we consider that it is important to ensure that you are the recipient of either a suitable written Planning confirmation letter, or an appropriate approval notice issued by your Council’s Planning Department prior to the commencement any building works. This confirmed surety adds clarity for future purchasers of your property who may want assurance that any proposals that you formerly instigated were in full accordance with your Council’s planning legislative requirements at the time they were carried out.

My neighbour got planning approval for an extension and I want to do the same as them?
Each Planning Authority will look at the merits of an application on a case by case basis. Whilst it can be argued that a precedent has been set by your neighbour, over time, planning policies for a Local Authority can change. Therefore, whatever your neighbour got Planning approval for, it will be necessary to submit a new Planning Application to ensure that your similar proposal can be built.

What is Listed Building Consent?
In the UK It is normal for buildings of exceptional significant architectural heritage and historical interest to be officially Listed according to their status and importance. The result is that a great number of residential buildings are Listed grade 2, which means that all alterations to the interior and exterior have to be approved by English Heritage and/or the Local Authority Conservation Planning Officer. Listed Buildings normally require both Planning Approval and Listed Building Consent to enable even minor proposed extension and alteration works to be carried out.

What are the Building Regulations?
When a house extension, loft conversion or other internal structural alterations are designed, they need to comply with the relevant Building Regulations, which are a set of minimum standards for the design and health plus safety in Building works. These standards are enforced by your Council’s Building Control Department and are in relation to; structure; fire safety; resistance to contaminates and moisture; toxic substances; sound resistance; ventilation; sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency; drainage and waste disposal; combustion appliances and fuel storage systems; protection from falling, collision and impact; conservation of fuel and power; access to and use of buildings; glazing safety and electrical safety.

How do you make a Building Regulation application?
Generally there are two options for making a Building Regulation application:

Full Plans application
This involves submitting detailed drawings and associated information, together with structural calculations and an appropriate Plans Fee amount determined by your Council, to enable the details to be approved before the commencement of associated works on site. An applicable Inspection Fee will be requested by the Council generally after the Building Control Officer has been called to site by your builder to carry out their first inspection. Some Council’s are now calling for the Inspection Fee to be paid at the same time as the Full Plans Application is made

Building Notice application
This involves submitting a Building Notice prior to making a start on site and in our experience is only suitable for smaller projects, as it requires continuous liaison between the Contractor and the appointed Building Control Officer as building works progress, to enable them to check and approve the actual works undertaken on site at regular intervals.

What is the Party Wall Act?
If you are thinking of altering or extending your home, this Act may apply to you. The Party Act came into force on 1 July 1996 and applies throughout England and Wales. It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to Party Walls, Boundary Walls and Excavations near Neighbouring Buildings. Anyone intending to carry out work of the kinds described in the Act must give Adjoining Owners notice of their detailed intentions a minimum of two months prior to the associated works commencing.

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