Simplified FAQs

Architectural Design Brief

Architectural design is very personal, what you may like another may not like, and visa versa. Each site is different and if you review our portfolio, you will see for example, there are lots of extensions, but each is totally unique. So, the first step is to establish what you ideally want it to look like.


Written Design Brief

What we require is a clear written brief that describes in as much detail as possible, what you would ideally like to achieve in terms of the architectural design. If there are no changes to the existing building (for example a change of use with no structural changes), you can simply confirm this.

For anything new that will be built or changed, things to consider for the design are;

  • Where will it be built in relation to the existing property/site? (Front, side, rear etc)
  • What are the proposed external dimensions? (Length, width and height)
  • What materials will be used for the new development? (Brick, timber, cladding etc)
  • What style of roof would you like? (Flat, hipped, gable, dormer etc)
  • Are there any windows/doors to include? (How many, what style, size and where?)
  • Will the internal floor plan/room layout change? (If so, how will it change and what will the rooms be used for, for example bedroom, living room, office, etc)
  • Will there be a staircase? (If so where from and to? If existing stairs how many steps from one floor to next? What is the height, length and width of each step?


It’s important to us that the design is exactly what you want! By providing us with a clear brief will help save time and avoid unnecessary design revisions.

If you request anything that is not sensible/feasible from either a design or planning perspective, we will let you know and suggest alternative solutions.

However, if your ideal design brief is appropriate and there are no obvious issues, we can then get straight to work on producing your architect drawings.

Our process is extremely efficient and in 9/10 cases, the first draft of the drawings are approved by our clients.

Please note that 1 free design revision is included in your quote, any subsequent revisions would be chargeable as quoted.

Each revision can include multiple changes in the same request. For example, if it is your first request and ask us to make 3 minor changes to the plans, this would count as 1 design revision and would be free. 

Even if we attend a site visit, we always require a written brief before we can start working on the drawings. The architect will use your written brief as a checklist when preparing the drawings to make sure nothing is missed.

If we did miss anything that was already requested in writing either in the original design brief or a design revision request, this would not be chargeable to revise. 

However, if you have used your 1 free design revision and you change your mind or remember something you forgot to include, of course we can make any required changes but this would then be a chargeable revision. 

You can supply your written design brief in a word document or via email. This will be saved on our system and passed to the architect who will be producing your drawings. 


Site Photos

For every project type we require external photos of the existing property showing each elevation from each side (front, back and side(s) as applicable). 

Please try to take photos that show the whole property from top to bottom from the front, back and rear without any obstructions if possible.

If it is not possible to capture the full elevation (side) in a single photo please take several that we can piece together to see the full picture.

If you are making internal changes to the property, please include photos of the interior as well.

If you are doing something like a fence, dropped kerb or outbuilding, that has no bearing on the internal property, we do not need photos or floor plans of the inside.

Rough sketch of what you envisage

This is very helpful for the architect to get clearer understanding of what exactly you want designed, which saves time and money with unnecessary revisions.

It does not need to be to scale, and it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are at art, it is simply so that the architect can clearly understand what you would like us to design for you.

If 10 people asked us to simply draw 3 x 3 meter extension, each of them would imagine a slightly different design. A sketch avoids risk of misinterpretation, which again saves you time and money.

Our architects will of course prepare the accurate scale architect drawings required for your application.


Measurements for the proposed development

For us to prepare your architect drawings, we will require some measurements. You do not need to be a professional and these do not need to be millimetre precise.

For anything NEW that will be built or changed

For anything that is not yet built there is nothing for us to see or measure, so we need you to tell us what you would like us to design.

If you are making changes to the existing property, again we can’t see or measure what is not already done, so we need to understand exactly how you wish to change the design.

We will require your proposed dimensions for each project component, such as an extension, porch etc.

For example, a single story extension;

Length – 4 meters
Width 6.5 meters
Height – 2.5 meters

If there are multiple project components, such as an extension and a porch, we will need the dimensions for each component

For anything EXISTING that will NOT change

Even if nothing is changing, for example if you are simply changing the use, we still need to submit architect drawings to demonstrate this.

For the external measurements, we can usually get accurate scale measurements for the property, providing it has already had planning approved and has been added the OS mapping software.


Floor Plans

Typically for any project relating to a building we need to submit existing 2D floor plans to show the internal layout of the rooms with dimensions.

We also need to submit proposed 2D floor plans to show the internal layout of the rooms with dimensions once works are completed.

If your project does not impact the existing building in anyway, then we typically do not require floor plans for the existing building.

Typically Requires Floor plans - New build house, extensions, garage conversions, loft conversions, outbuildings, change of use, house in multiple occupancy (HMO) or porch.

Typically Does NOT Require Floor Plans - Balcony / terrace, decking, dropped kerb, driveway or wall / fence.

All we require is a rough sketch to show the layout with measurements (length and width) for each room.

The sketch does not need to be to scale or look good, it is simply for us to work from. Again, the measurements do not need to be millimetre precise, so you do not need to be a professional.

Our architects will produce the accurate plans which we will send for your review and approval before we move the next stage.

Example Design Brief for a Dropped Kerb
 

Design Brief Checklist

Written Design Brief (as much detail as you can)
Photos (all sides of the property + internal pics if applicable)
Rough sketch (showing external design or architect drawings if you already have)
External Measurements (for each project component as applicable)
Floor Plan Sketch (with length and width for each room as applicable)

To speed the process, please send us everything that is applicable to your project as detailed above. Once we have everything we need, we can begin working on the drawings immediately. 

If we require further information from you, we will let you know but it will save time if you are able to send us what require straight away.

If you have any questions about what we require please email or call us and we will be very happy to clarify what is required for your project.

Design Brief Form

Please complete the form below and include as much of the requested information as possible.

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Architectural Design Process

Thank you for choosing Planning By Design. The first step in every project is to prepare the required architect drawings which one of our chartered architects will prepare for you.

Once we have everything we need to understand your brief clearly, we aim to have the drawings sent for your review and approval within 7 days. However, for larger or more complex projects it can take a bit longer.


What is required?

Almost every application will require the following as a minimum;

Existing and Proposed Elevations - 2D drawings showing the property before and after works are complete.
Existing and Proposed Floor Plans - 2D drawings showing the internal layout, rooms only, no fixtures, fittings, or furniture.
Existing and Proposed Block Plan - These are maps to show the location of the site, its boundaries, and any changes that will occur.
Site Location Plan - A larger map showing where the property is located so the council can assess the impact on the wider area.

Even for a change of use where there are no changes to the building, we still need to submit the above as this the only way the council can assess and confirm there are no changes. 

Even if you are only doing something minor like a fence or dropped kerb, the architect drawings still need to show the whole property from each side before and after. If we just send a drawing of a fence or dropped kerb the council will not validate the application.

For any retrospective planning applications, although the construction may have already completed, we still need to show existing elevations that show what the property looked like before and proposed elevations showing what it looks like now.

To see some examples please check out our Portfolio: (click on any project to view all the required drawings and planning statements etc for each application)


How can we produce accurate architect drawings remotely?

These days 99% of householder developments and smaller scale commercial developments, such as a change of use, do not require a site visit and are instead done via a remote survey.

We understand that for those who are not chartered architects, it might be hard to understand how we can produce accurate architect drawings without a site visit.

For your information, here is an overview of how we are able do this;

  • The existing property prior to development or changes, does not need planning permission. There will already be planning permission granted and potentially plans available via the planning portal from previous applications. If drawings are available from a previous application this is likely all we require to produce new drawings for your proposed development.
  • The existing property will already be shown with accurate external measurements on OS mapping tools which our architects use to produce accurate drawings. 
  • For anything that is not yet built, there is nothing to see or measure. We can only draw according to your brief, which is the same whether we pop round for a cup of tea, have zoom or receive it in writing. We always require your brief in writing regardless of whether we discuss the brief in person or over a zoom / phone call, so that we have a written record of what you want.
  • For most smaller scale developments, people usually have a clear idea of exactly what they want, so can easily provide a written brief detailing this. However, for larger or more complex developments, such as new build houses, sometimes clients require a little guidance or inspiration, which we are happy to help with.
  • When we conduct a site visit, our architects take photos to work from when they are back at their computer. They can see the same from a photo as they can when on site and they need photos to keep referring to during the process.
  • If there are floor plans available on the planning portal from a previous application that reflect the current layout this is all we need. If the property has recently been advertised on an estate agent website or auction site, there will usually be floor plans available, which would likely be all we require. Even if there are existing floor plans, they are unlikely to pass the councils validation criteria, so our architects still need to produce accurate floor plans with scale measurements.
  • Where there are no existing floor plans available, all we require is a rough sketch with approximate dimensions for each room. These do not need to be millimetre precise, so you do not need to be a professional architect.
  • Only once we have everything required to clearly understand your brief, our architect will start working on your drawings. We aim to have these sent for your review and approval within 7 days.
  • If any changes are required to the drawings, we will of course take care of these and send the revised drawings back for your approval. Only once you are 100% happy the design is exactly what you want will we proceed to the next stage, with your approval.
  • Whether we conduct a site visit or a remote survey, the result is exactly the same, accurate scale drawings, which every client approves with 100% satisfaction. The only difference is that with a remote survey you save time and money!!

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Do I Need Planning Permission?

Building or renovating your property can be an exciting project. However, many homeowners are unsure whether they need planning permission before starting any work. Luckily, there are some exceptions that allow you to carry out certain types of building work without having to go through the lengthy and often costly process of applying for planning permission.

This is where Permitted Development Rights come in. We will cover everything you need to know about Permitted Development Rights and what could limit or remove them. We will also cove of Planning Permission and when it might be required. Additionally, we will outline the factors influencing whether you need planning permission and why it is recommended to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. Lastly, we'll cover how to check if you need planning permission and the risks of building without formal planning consent.

The Concept of Permitted Development Rights

Permitted development rights, as granted by law in the United Kingdom, allow for certain types of development without the need for planning permission. These rights vary depending on the type of development and its location. However, it's important to note that permitted development rights can still be subject to limitations and conditions.

It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the specific permitted development rights relevant to your property and project. Seeking professional advice from a town planner can greatly assist in determining whether your project falls within these rights, ensuring you stay in compliance with the law.

What Could Limit or Remove Permitted Development Rights?

Permitted development rights can be restricted or removed by local planning policies, especially in conservation areas and national parks. Planning conditions imposed on a property, as well as listed buildings and protected areas, may also limit these rights. Additionally, complex or controversial projects may require planning permission despite falling within permitted development rights.

Only houses can have Permitted Development rights BUT not all houses have permitted development rights. Flats and commercial properties never have permitted development rights, so planning permission is always required. Permitted development rights are always limited so previous developments, even if a long time ago by a previous owner, may have used up some or all of the permitted development allowance for the property.

There can also be planning constraints such as Article 4 direction, conservation area or even living under a flight path could mean the council has removed your permitted development rights. This means there can be 2 houses, in the same town, doing the exact same project, for example, a 3-meter extension and one could be done under permitted development, while the other needs planning permission even though they are identical.

Understanding Planning Permission

Planning permission is necessary for certain types of development projects in the United Kingdom. Before starting construction, it is important to obtain planning permission from the local authorities. The purpose of this permission is to ensure that the proposed development is in line with regulations and policies. Local authorities have the responsibility of granting or denying planning permission based on these considerations.

Failure to obtain planning permission can have legal consequences, so it is crucial to follow the proper procedures. By obtaining planning permission, you can ensure that your project is compliant with the rules and regulations set by the government. This process helps to maintain order and prevent any potential issues or conflicts that may arise from unauthorized development.

Understanding planning permission is essential for any construction project in the United Kingdom. It ensures that the development is carried out in a way that is in harmony with the surrounding environment and benefits the community as a whole. By obtaining planning permission, you can proceed with your project confidently, knowing that it is legally permitted and meets the necessary requirements.

What is Planning Permission and When Might You Need it?

Planning permission refers to the formal approval required for specific development projects. It is necessary for projects like constructing a new dwelling or making alterations to existing buildings. Changes that impact the external appearance of a property often require planning permission as well. Consulting with a town planner can help determine if your project requires planning permission. If you need help and would like to speak with a town planner Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation.

Factors Influencing the Requirement of Planning Permission

Factors that determine whether planning permission is required can vary depending on various aspects. The location of the property plays a crucial role in determining the need for planning permission. Additionally, the size, scale and design of the proposed development are important considerations. It is also crucial to consider the impact that the development might have on the surrounding environment and neighbouring properties.

Certain types of development, such as listed buildings, have stricter planning permission requirements due to their historical or architectural significance. Furthermore, development in protected areas, such as conservation areas, may require additional planning permission to ensure the preservation of the specific character and features of those areas. Understanding these factors is essential to determine if planning permission is necessary for your project in the United Kingdom.

Why is it Recommended to Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate?

Applying for a lawful development certificate is recommended as it provides official confirmation that planning permission isn't needed. It can be useful for future reference, property sales, and demonstrates compliance with planning regulations.

A lawful development certificate is the only way to get a legal determination that planning permission is not required, it will likely be required to sell or remortgage in the future. Perhaps most importantly it protects you from any retrospective planning issues or enforcement action forever more.

What Are the Risks of Building Without Formal Planning Consent?

Building without formal planning consent can lead to enforcement action by the local planning authority. Consequences may include fines, demolition orders, or rectification measures. It can also impact the property's future sale or mortgageability. Unauthorised development can be reported by neighbours or interested parties, resulting in investigations and penalties. Obtaining proper planning permission is essential to avoid these risks.

Unfortunately, around 15-20% of the planning applications we deal with are retrospective planning applications, for clients who have received enforcement notices and have been given 28 days to get planning approved or knock down their development. You can see lots of examples of retrospective planning applications in our Portfolio.

99% of these cases are people who built something thinking it was permitted development, having either misunderstood the governments planning portal or been told they don’t need planning permission by someone other than a chartered town planner, such as a builder or architect, who is not qualified in planning permission and doesn’t understand the complex and ever-changing planning laws.

Something else that most people don't realise is that the council can remove permitted development rights at any time in the future. There are big changes happening across the UK right now, particularly for short-term lets with the rollout of Artcile 4 to many more areas in the UK. This news article by the BBC is a good example.

How to check if you need planning permission?

To determine if you need planning permission, you can contact your local planning authority or visit the planning portal website for information. Alternatively one of our town planners can conduct a Planning Appraisal to give you the answers you need in a day, rather than 5 to 8 weeks.

If you still have any questions Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation today or if you think you need planning permission try our free online Cost Calculator to get an instant estimate for architectural design and/or planning permission.


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Do Short-Term Holiday Lets Need Planning Permission?

There is no one size fits all answer, unfortunately. If the use of a property is changing for example from residential to short-term let, it will usually require a change of use planning application.

The regulations on short-term holiday lets vary depending on whether it is your main residence or not. If the property in question is your main residence, there is no need for planning permission to let it out on a short-term basis. However, if the property is not your main residence and you are letting it out for short-term holiday lets, you may need to obtain planning permission from your local authority.

When do short-term holiday lets need planning permission?

If changing from residential to short-term holiday let, planning permission may be required, as changes of use are assessed on a scale of fact and degree’. Sometimes, this change of use can be Permitted Development, but that depends on the intensity, frequency and nature of the short-term let use. For instance, planning permission will likely be required where your property is let for more than 90 nights in accordance with the regulations set by the parliament.

It also depends on whether there are any constraints that may have removed the Permitted Development rights at the site address.

It is illegal to let your property for more than 90 nights per year or if you are not the person who pays the council tax for the property without first getting planning permission. Fines for planning breaches and enforcement notice action increased from £20,000 to an unlimited amount.

Approximately 15-20% of the planning applications we do at Planning By Design are retrospective and 99% of these are people who were sure what they were doing would be Permitted Development but got it wrong.

What is a Change of Use?

When the use of a property is changing, for example from a residential home to a commercial holiday let, a planning application for a change of use to short term let is usually required. This is to enable planning authorities to control the balance of different types of property within the area.

For example, if there is an excess of holiday lets and a shortage of residential properties for people to live in, the planning policies may be adjusted to increase the number of homes rather than holiday lets, thus levelling up the availability of housing for residents.

A material change of use is when there is a change in the purpose or the circumstances in which you use a dwelling or building so that it, or any part of it, is used for a purpose for which it was not used before.

For example, where a dwellinghouse (or part thereof) is being used as a business, the use of a dwellinghouse. In some circumstances, this can apply to short-term lets and planning permission may therefore be required for the change of use.

Advice should therefore be sought from a suitably qualified Town Planner, or your local Council to advise accordingly on your development plan.

What Change of Use Can be Permitted Development?

There is an extensive list of Changes of Use allowed under new permitted development rights, both within the same Use Class and between different Use Classes. Planning changes can be made easier with these new permitted development rights.

However, the majority of these are subject to detailed conditions and/or require applications for alternative permissions, such as Prior Notifications. In many cases, it is permitted development to provide a property as holiday accommodation for short-term let for less than 90 days in any one calendar year, making it a viable option for those looking for short-term rental opportunities.

However, even where Permitted Development Rights appear to allow a particular Change of Use such as this, it is important to remember that each council reserves the right to withdraw PD rights, in full or in part, under an ‘Article 4 Direction’. This is why it is important to be aware of planning controls in your area, including those in England.

It is therefore advisable to seek advice from an RTPI Chartered Town Planner to check whether permitted development rights are applicable to your site and project, or whether an application to change the planning use class will be required.

What constraints could limit or remove your Permitted Development rights?

There are many constraints that can remove permitted development rights, including previous developments and policy changes. The most common is Article 4 direction, which can be introduced by a council at any time, at their discretion. It is important to note that Article 4 direction has a statutory definition, which means that it is legally binding and must be followed by all parties involved.

Other common examples include, conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and listed buildings but even living under a flight path can remove permitted development rights.

Additionally, only houses have Permitted Development rights, flats, and commercial properties do not have any permitted development rights.

It’s also the case that permitted development rights are limited and depending on what previous developments have already taken, some or all the permitted development allowance at the site address may have previously been used up, meaning permission could be required.

Something which most people are unaware of is that even if what they want to do is permitted development at the time, the council can impose new constraints at any time in the future, risking retrospective issues or enforcement action.

In order to protect against this, for anything that is likely to be permitted development it is advised to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate as this is the only way to obtain a legal determination that it is permitted development, and lawful.

A Lawful Development Certificate or Certificate of Lawful Use, is usually required when selling or re-mortgaging a property, but most importantly it protects against retrospective planning issues and enforcement action.

Have the rules and planning policies changed?

Yes, something that most people don’t know is that planning policies are always changing as supply and demand change. So, for example, if there is a shortage of holiday lets, the rules may be relaxed to encourage more. On the flip side at the moment there is a shortage of homes for people to live in, because there is an oversupply of holiday lets, many of which are illegally being rented out without the required planning permission. 

What is the government consultation on short-term lets?

Short-term holiday lets, such as Airbnb rentals, may require planning permission depending on the specific circumstances of the property and location. Local councils are responsible for enforcing planning regulations, and they may require hosts to obtain permission before renting out their properties.

This is because short-term accommodation can have an impact on the availability of affordable housing for local residents. The government is currently exploring ways to regulate short-term rentals to ensure that they do not negatively impact local communities, while still supporting the visitor economy.

It is important for hosts to check with their local council to determine if permission is required before listing their property on short-term rental platforms.

Specifically for short-term holiday lets, there is an ongoing government consultation taking place to make the rules and policies much stricter. Once this is complete the plan is to roll out Article 4 Direction to many more areas in the UK, this will remove Permitted Development rights in these areas. It will also make it much more difficult to get planning permission approved for a change of use to a short-term holiday let.

This article by the BBC summarises the details quite nicely: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-65258629

We have already seen a huge increase in enforcement cases for people who have been found in breach of planning law for short-term holiday lets, and this will only increase further. With most planning authorities already backlogged we anticipate much longer delays for planning applications when the rollout of Article 4 takes place. 

AirBnb tax crackdown: HMRC handed owners’ income data

The growing popularity of Airbnb and other short-term holiday lets has raised the question of whether or not they need planning permission. In most cases, homeowners do not need planning permission to rent out their homes for short periods, as long as they meet certain criteria. However, regulations can vary depending on the location and type of property.

Recently, there has also been a tax crackdown by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on owners who have not declared income from renting out their properties on platforms like Airbnb. As a result, HMRC has been handed access to owners’ income data in an effort to crack down on tax evasion.

What would be required for a change of use planning application?

There isn’t a one size fits all answer to this question as it depends on many factors such as which type of application, which drawings are required, what supporting evidence is required, what specialist reports are required and whether there are any constraints.

You can read more about what is typically required as a minimum for any planning application here.

You can also see an example of an Approved Retrospective Planning Application for a short-term holiday let.

To get a free instant estimate for your project, you can use our Cost Calculator but please bear in mind this does not mean your project is feasible and if anything above the minimum is required this will be at additional cost.

If you would like to find out what exactly your project would require and whether it is feasible, please Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation.

For those looking to rent out their homes for short-term holiday stays, it's important to understand the regulations surrounding planning permission. In most cases, homeowners do not need permission for temporary rentals, thanks to the Permitted Development rights. These rights allow homeowners to use their property for short periods without

Do you need advice for Short-Term Holiday Letting Accommodation?

Planning permission is not always required for short-term holiday lets, thanks to Permitted Development rights. However, it's essential to meet certain criteria to qualify for these rights. The requirements for a change of use planning application can vary depending on various factors such as the type of application, necessary drawings, supporting evidence, specialist reports, and any constraints.

To get a better understanding of what is typically required for a planning application, you can refer to our website. We also provide examples of approved retrospective planning applications for short-term holiday lets in our portfolio. If you're interested in knowing the specific requirements and feasibility for a property that you currently rent out or are considering letting out you can Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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Do You Need To Visit The Site To Produce The Architect Drawings?

We can attend a site visit if you really want one but these days 99% of householder developments and smaller scale commercial developments, such as a change of use, do not require a site visit and are instead done via a remote survey.

We understand that for those who are not chartered architects, it might be hard to understand how we can produce accurate architect drawings without a site visit.

For your information, here is an overview of how we are able do this;

The existing property prior to development or changes, does not need planning permission. There will already be planning permission granted and potentially plans available via the planning portal from previous applications. If drawings are available from a previous application this is likely all we require to produce new drawings for your proposed development.

The existing property will already be shown with accurate external measurements on OS mapping tools which our architects use to produce accurate drawings.

For anything that is not yet built, there is nothing to see or measure. We can only draw according to your brief, which is the same whether we pop round for a cup of tea, have zoom or receive it in writing. We always require your brief in writing regardless of whether we discuss the brief in person or over a zoom / phone call, so that we have a written record of what you want.

For most smaller scale developments, people usually have a clear idea of exactly what they want, so can easily provide a written brief detailing this. However, for larger or more complex developments, such as new build houses, sometimes clients require a little guidance or inspiration, which we are happy to help with.

When we conduct a site visit, our architects take photos to work from when they are back at their computer. They can see the same from a photo as they can when on site and they need photos to keep referring to during the process.

If there are floor plans available on the planning portal from a previous application that reflect the current layout this is all we need. If the property has recently been advertised on an estate agent website or auction site, there will usually be floor plans available, which would likely be all we require. Even if there are existing floor plans, they are unlikely to pass the councils validation criteria, so our architects still need to produce accurate floor plans with scale measurements.

Where there are no existing floor plans available, all we require is a rough sketch with approximate dimensions for each room. These do not need to be millimetre precise, so you do not need to be a professional architect.

Only once we have everything required to clearly understand your brief, will our architect start working on your drawings. We aim to have these sent for your review and approval within 7 days. Thanks to our extremely efficient process the first draft is usually exactly what the client envisaged. 

If any changes are required to the drawings, we will of course take care of these and send the revised drawings back for your approval. Only once you are 100% happy the design is exactly what you want will we proceed to the next stage, with your approval.

Whether we conduct a site visit or a remote survey, the result is exactly the same, accurate scale drawings, which every client approves with 100% satisfaction. The only difference is that with a remote survey you save time and money!!

You can use our online Cost Calculator to get an instant free no obligation estimate.

If you would like to find out whether your project is feasible, whether it requires planning permission and get an accurate quote for architects drawings and/or planning permission please Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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Example Design Brief for a Dropped Kerb

To help you easily visualise what we require from you for your design brief and what we will then produce with this information, here is an example of a simple dropped kerb. Below is everything we received from the client together with the final architect drawings, which have now had planning permission approved.


Written Design Brief

Hi Abigail 

Many thanks please find attached better image with better measurements though still approx as our better measure still only goes to 5 m lol. 

As for the design brief we are quite flexible we would ideally like planning for a driveway with dropped curb at the front of our property this is for safe disabled access as my husband is registered disabled. We would prefer to go for a hard surface with appropriate drainage there will be a slight slope from the road towards the house which will at least mean no water run off will run into the A60. We are happy to take the whole of the front wall out if this is what it will take to get permission and meet visibility requirements of highways but would also be ok to keep the two gate columns and bit of wall in between (shown on left hand side of measurement image 1.2m) if required to mitigate concerns of safety of the telegraph pole and risks of it being clipped. We would like the driveway to also include the area to the side of the house. 

Hope this is OK please let me know if you need anything further.   

Kind regards  


Site Photos

Rough sketch of what you envisage



Measurements for the proposed development

Length at the rear of the house 7.5 meters
Width at the rear of the house 7 meters
Length of the driveway alongside the house 4.64 meters
Width of the driveway alongside the house 3.6 meters

Floor Plans

Not applicable for this particular project, as nothing is changing with the house or the floor plans.

Using this information we produce a full set of arhitect drawings like this:

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How Long Does It Take To Get Planning Permission?

Planning permission is a topic that can be confusing for many people, especially if you are not familiar with the process. If you're thinking about building or renovating your home, it's important to understand what planning permission is, and how long it will take. If you are wondering, how long does it take to get planning permission? We'll answer this, and why it's required, the process of obtaining it, and even provide tips on how to speed up the process. After reading this, you'll have a better understanding of what to expect and how you can get your project approved quickly and easily.

Understanding Planning Permission in the UK

Obtaining permission in the UK can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is required for various development projects, and local authorities are responsible for granting or denying permission. The decision is influenced by factors such as project size, impact on the local area, and compliance with regulations. Seeking professional advice can help navigate the process effectively.

Why is Planning Permission Required?

Permission is required to ensure that development projects adhere to local policies and regulations. It allows councils to assess the impact on the surrounding area, while giving neighbours and the community an opportunity to provide feedback. This helps maintain the area's character and protect the environment.

The Process of Obtaining Planning Permission

Start by contacting your local authority or a chartered town planner. You will need architect drawings to showcase your proposed design and strong planning statements to support your application. Fill out the form accurately and completely, as it's crucial for a smooth process. Additional evidence and documents may be required during the assessment process. The council will assess your application and you'll receive a written decision notice.

How to Contact Your Local Authority’s Planning Department?

To contact your local authority, you can find their contact details on their website. It is recommended to reach out via email or phone to inquire about the requirements and process. Alternatively, we can provide you with a planning appraisal to give you the answers you need in a day rather than 5 to 8 weeks. If you choose to instruct us, we will manage the entire process, including all communication with your local authority.

Filling In an Application With Your Council

Filling in an application with your council is a crucial step in obtaining planning permission. Accuracy is key when completing the application form, ensuring all information is correct. Along with the form, it is important to submit supporting documents such as architect drawings, planning statements and specialist reports. To avoid delays, double-check the submission requirements and time limits. If any information is missing or incorrect your application will not be validated or could risk an unnecessary refusal.

What Happens During the Application Assessment?

During the application assessment, the planning officer thoroughly reviews the proposal to ensure compliance. They may consult other departments such as the highways and seek community feedback. The assessment process considers all relevant policies and potential impacts. This stage typically takes 8 to 16 weeks currently.

Can I Speed Up The Planning Application Process?

Seeking pre-application advice, providing accurate information in the application, engaging with the local authority, and hiring a town planner and an architect can help speed up the process. However, it's important to bear in mind that almost all councils are significantly backlogged and taking longer than normal. Unfortunately, there is no way to fast-track an application with the council. The only thing you can realistically do is submit and join the queue as soon as possible.

Get Your Project Approved Quickly & Easily

Hiring a chartered town planner AND architect ensures that your application meets the requirements. Seeking pre-planning advice with your council or one of our town planners can identify potential issues early. Open communication with the planning officer helps address concerns promptly, if you choose to instruct us we will manage this for you. Adhering to relevant policies and regulations from the start prevents delays and refusals. Understanding the process and seeking professional guidance increases the chances of success. Loft conversions, garage conversions, extensions and many other householder developments in the UK may require permission. Conservation areas have additional considerations and complications for applicants. Submitting an architectural design that meets the relevant policies and strong supporting statements is the key to a smooth and quick process.

The Decision on Your Application

Once your application has been assessed by the local planning authority, they will issue a written decision notice. This notice will inform you whether your application has been approved, refused, or granted conditional permission. In the case of approval, the notice will also outline any conditions that must be met before construction can begin. If your application is refused, the notice will provide reasons for the refusal and may include information on potential options for appeal. It is crucial to carefully review the decision notice and, if necessary, seek professional advice to better understand the outcome of your application. We can of course assist and advise you on this.

What if My Planning Application is Refused?

If your planning application is declined, you have the option to resubmit once for free or appeal the decision, depending on the reasons for refusal. Seeking professional advice and addressing the reasons for refusal can increase your chances of success. Revising the design or reapplying are also alternative options to consider. However, if the application is managed professionally by a town planner, who understands the applicable policies and engages with the officer during the process, many of these issues can be resolved avoiding an unnecessary refusal.

How long does it take to get planning permission?

If you would like to find out how long it might take for your project, Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation. We can also advise you on the feasibility, requirements, costs and likelihood of success.

To find out how much it might cost try our free online Cost Calculator to get an instant estimate for architectural design and/or planning permission.


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How Much Are Building Regulations Drawings And Structural Engineering Calculations?

The cost for building regulations drawings and structural engineering calculations depends on the design, scale, and complexity of the development. In order to quote we will require the full set of architect drawings, to see what is required.

If you have architect drawings and planning permission approved, please Contact Us and we can provide you with a quote.

Smaller-scale developments may not need a full set of building regulations drawings and building regulations calculations. Instead, it may be possible to just have building control come out to inspect and sign off.

This will also depend on the skills and certifications of your appointed builder. We can advise you accordingly once we have your architect drawings.

It is important to bear in mind that planning permission is never guaranteed. We would imagine you wouldn’t want to pay for building regulations if your planning application was refused?

Even if we think something has a 100% chance of being approved, ultimately the planning officer will decide rightly or wrongly. If it is refused and you already bought building regulations drawings, it could end up a costly waste of time and money!

The other thing to bear in mind is that during the planning application process, the council may request changes to the design. Any changes to the design, no matter how small will change what is required for the building regulations drawings and structural engineering calculations.

If your architectural design changes and you already have building regulations drawing and structural engineering calculations, you would need a new set, at additional cost and delay.

To limit your risk and expense it is strongly recommended to approach every project in 3 stages;

Stage 1: Architect Drawings & Planning Permission 
Stage 2: Building Regulations Drawings & Structural Engineering Calculations
Stage 3: Construction

If you would like a quote for building regulations and structural engineering calculations for your project or have any questions please do Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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How Much Do Architect Drawings Cost?

Are you planning to build a new home or renovate an existing space? If so, you may be wondering how much architect drawings will cost. Architectural drawings are essential for any construction project as they provide a blueprint for the entire process. In this article, we will discuss what architect drawings are, their importance in planning applications, and the different types available. We will also explore the factors that influence their costs and why there are normally no standard costs for them. Additionally, we will explain how to estimate your architect drawing costs using our free online calculator and share tips on managing these expenses. Whether you are seeking architectural services for residential or commercial projects, this article covers everything you need to know.

Understanding Architect Drawings

Architect drawings play a crucial role in the construction process, providing detailed plans and specifications for building projects. The cost of architect drawings can vary depending on factors such as the size and complexity of the project, the experience and location of the architect, and the scope of your project. It is important to note that accurate and precise drawings for building regulations are essential, and the cost of having an architect do them is often higher than expected. However, this cost should be seen as an investment in the success and quality of the building project. As homeowners, it's important to understand that architect fees can be charged at an hourly rate, fixed fee, or percentage fees, depending on the architect and the scope of work. By considering these factors and discussing your project requirements with an architect, you can get a rough idea of the average cost of architect drawings for your specific needs.

The Importance of Architect Drawings for Planning Applications

Architect drawings play a crucial role in the planning application process and the overall success of a construction project. These drawings are essential for obtaining planning permission, ensuring compliance with building regulations, and creating accurate cost estimates. By providing detailed and precise architectural plans, professionals can avoid costly mistakes during the construction phase. Moreover, the use of state-of-the-art technology enables architects to create visually appealing and accurate designs that are easily communicable to clients and contractors. The visual representation offered by architect drawings helps stakeholders visualize the proposed project, facilitating effective decision-making and collaboration. With their expertise and technical know-how, architects registered with the Architects Registration Board and the Royal Institute of British Architects can provide homeowners and developers with the confidence that their project will be executed with utmost precision and compliance. By investing in architect drawings, individuals can ensure a smooth planning application process and a successful construction project.

Types of Architect Drawings

Architect drawings come in various types, each serving a specific purpose in the design and construction process. Elevations are drawings that showcase the building's exterior from different angles, highlighting its unique design features. Section drawings provide a cross-section of the building, giving insight into how different parts relate to one another. Floor plans offer a detailed layout of each floor, indicating the location of various rooms. Block plans act as maps, illustrating the development's precise location. Roof plans provide a bird's-eye view of the roof's layout. Visibility splay drawings depict the angle and distance required for visibility in specific areas. Site plans showcase the property's layout, including buildings, driveways, and landscaping. Site analysis plans focus on existing site conditions such as topography, soil conditions, and surrounding features.

2D Architect Drawings

2D Architect drawings are a fundamental aspect of building design and construction. These drawings serve as a flat representation of a building's floor plan, elevations, sections, and details. They are typically created using computer-aided design (CAD) software, allowing for accurate measurements and easy editing. 2D Architect drawings play a crucial role in obtaining planning permission, complying with building regulations approval, and ensuring proper construction. They are required for planning applications and provide the necessary visual representation to communicate the design to clients and contractors. The cost of 2D Architect drawings varies depending on the size and complexity of the project. Homeowners and professionals can benefit from the expertise of architects, architectural technologists, and structural engineers when creating these drawings. By collaborating with these professionals, the accurate and detailed 2D drawings necessary for a successful project can be achieved.

Existing and Proposed Elevations

Basic 3D Drawings

Basic 3D drawings, while not necessary for planning applications, can be highly beneficial in visualising buildings from different angles. These drawings provide a realistic representation of the design, helping both architects and clients identify potential design issues and make informed decisions. The cost of basic 3D drawings varies depending on the complexity of the project and the level of detail required. It's important for clients to understand that more complex designs or additional revisions may incur higher fees. However, investing in basic 3D drawings can lead to a more successful building project overall. Clients should be prepared to discuss their requirements with architects and consider the value that these drawings bring to the table.

Basic 3D Drawing

High-quality 3D Renders

High-quality 3D renders offer clients a realistic view of their future building or space, providing an accurate and detailed representation. These renders are invaluable for showcasing design ideas to clients and stakeholders, allowing them to visualise the project before construction begins. They can also help identify potential issues or design flaws, saving time and money in the long run. The cost of 3D renders varies based on factors like complexity, level of detail, and software used. Skilled architects, including those who specialise in online architect services, can utilise these renders to enhance their understanding of the project and communicate effectively with clients. Additionally, 3D renders are highly useful for marketing and advertising purposes, as they create visually compelling representations of architectural designs.

3D Render Drawing

Interior Design Drawings

Interior design drawings are an integral part of the design process when it comes to creating aesthetically pleasing spaces. These drawings focus on the visual elements such as furniture, colours, and lighting, allowing you to envision how a room will look once it's completed. From 2D sketches to detailed 3D renderings, interior designer drawings provide a clear picture of the final design and help you make informed decisions along the way.

When it comes to the cost of interior design drawings, it can vary based on several factors. The complexity of the project, level of detail required, and the experience of the architect all play a role in determining the overall cost. It's always a good idea to have a discussion with your architect upfront to understand the pricing structure and to avoid any surprises later on.

By having interior design drawings as part of your project, you can have a clear vision of how your space will look and feel. These drawings not only help with decision-making but also ensure that the final result aligns with your design goals and expectations. So, don't underestimate the importance of interior design drawings when it comes to creating beautiful and functional spaces.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Architect Drawings

Factors that can influence the cost of architect drawings include the complexity and size of the project. More complex projects require detailed and extensive drawings, which can increase the cost. Similarly, larger projects may require more drawings, resulting in higher costs. The experience of the architect is also a factor, as more experienced architects may charge higher fees for their services. Location plays a role too, as architectural fees can vary depending on the local market with many architects applying postcode pricing and charging more for affluent areas. The scope of services required, such as project management and supervision, can also increase the overall cost. Additionally, design revisions can add more time and work for the architect, potentially increasing the cost.

Complexity of the Project

The complexity of a project plays a significant role in determining the cost of architect drawings. Complex projects, with their intricate details and longer time requirements, generally result in higher costs. On the other hand, simpler projects like a single-room addition may be less expensive. Additionally, factors such as the size, location, and purpose of the building can also influence the overall cost of the drawings. It is crucial to have a discussion with the architect regarding the scope and complexity of the project in order to obtain a rough estimate of the cost. By considering these aspects, homeowners can better understand the financial implications of their architectural endeavours.

Architect’s Experience and Reputation

When considering the cost of architect drawings, it's important to take into account the architect's experience and reputation, including their architect’s fees. The amount of time and expertise an architect has invested in their profession can greatly impact their fees. Becoming a chartered architect typically requires a minimum of 6 years of education and training, which is why they often charge higher fees. On the other end of the spectrum, architectural designers who do not meet the necessary qualifications to be called architects may offer lower fees. However, it's essential to balance cost with quality to ensure the best value for your money. Before making a decision, it's a good idea to review the architect's portfolio and consider client reviews. By doing this, you can gauge their experience and reputation to make an informed choice. Additionally, it's important to note that architects may use specialized software such as AutoCAD or Revit to create their drawings, which may require additional fees for licensing and maintenance of the software, known as ARB fees.

Why don't Architect Drawings Have Standard Costs?

Architect drawings normally don't have standard costs because they vary in complexity. Factors like project scope, revisions requested by the client, and location can impact the cost. Each project is unique, making it difficult to establish standard pricing for architect drawings. However, at Planning By Design, we do things differently and offer standard pricing for the most common residential and commercial projects, which can be obtained via our free online cost calculator. This tool helps clients avoid any surprises with additional costs that may arise during the project.

Navigating the Costs of Different Types of Architectural Services

When considering architectural services, it's important to navigate the costs associated with different types of services. Basic consultation and concept design services are often the most affordable option, providing an initial understanding of your project without detailed drawings. Schematic design services offer more detailed drawings and cost estimates, but they can be more expensive. If you're looking for even more detail, design development services may include 3D modelling, but they come with a higher cost. For highly detailed and precise construction drawings, construction documentation services are available, albeit at a higher price point. It's crucial to discuss pricing and services with potential architects to find the right balance between cost and the level of detail needed for your specific project.

Costs Associated with Residential Architecture

When it comes to the costs associated with residential architecture, there are a few factors to consider. Most residential architects typically charge between 10-15% of the construction cost for full architectural services. However, it's important to note that some architects may apply postcode pricing, where affluent areas may have significantly higher fees.

At Planning By Design, we offer a different approach. We provide unbeatable fixed prices for the most common residential and commercial architect drawings, regardless of the location of the site. This means that homeowners can have peace of mind knowing exactly what they will be paying for architectural services without any surprises along the way.

By offering fixed prices, we aim to make architectural services more accessible and transparent for our clients. Whether you're in the UK or in London, our team of experienced architects and architectural technologists are here to help you bring your vision to life. So, if you're in need of residential architect drawings, reach out to us for high-quality and affordable services.

Costs of Architectural Drawings for Commercial or Major Developments

When it comes to architectural drawings for commercial or major developments, the cost can be influenced by several factors. The complexity of the project plays a significant role in determining the overall cost. These types of drawings are typically more detailed and complex, requiring a higher level of expertise from the architect. It's crucial to communicate clearly with the architect about your needs and expectations to get an accurate estimate.

Investing in quality architectural drawings can ultimately save time and money by avoiding costly mistakes during construction. While the cost may be higher upfront, it can help ensure that the project is executed smoothly, reducing the risk of delays or significant additional expenses down the line. So, it's essential to consider the long-term benefits when evaluating the cost of architectural drawings for commercial or major developments.

By working closely with your architect and discussing your project's scope and requirements, you can get a good idea of the expenses involved. Remember, architectural fees can vary depending on various factors such as the architect's experience, the size of the project, and its complexity.

How to Get an Estimate for Your Architect Drawing Costs?

Looking to get an estimate for your architect drawing costs? Start by having a clear idea of what you want to achieve, whether it's an extension, loft conversion, or new build house. Look for architects who offer transparent pricing and are willing to work within your budget. Be aware of any additional fees that may come up during the project.

Use Our Free Online Cost Calculator

Estimating the cost of architect drawings for your project is made easy with our Free Online Cost Calculator. By simply inputting key information such as project type and site location, you can receive an estimate to give you a general idea of what to expect. It's important to note that this estimate is not a final cost and does not mean your proposal is feasible but serves as a helpful starting point. For a more accurate estimate tailored to your specific project needs, we recommend contacting us directly for a free no-obligation consultation.

Using our online Cost Calculator allows homeowners in the UK to get a rough idea of architect costs without any obligation. Whether you're planning a renovation, a kitchen extension, or even a loft conversion, our calculator takes into account various factors such as the complexity of your project and the scope of architectural services required. It's a valuable tool to help you navigate the costs associated with your home improvement or construction project.

Take advantage of our free online cost calculator today and gain insights into the potential costs of your architect drawings. Remember, it's just a starting point, and our team is here to provide you with accurate estimates and guidance throughout your architectural journey. Contact Us now to discuss your design requirements and get started on bringing your vision to life.

Why is it Beneficial to Use a Cost Calculator for Architect Drawings?

Using a cost calculator for architectural drawings offers several benefits. It provides an estimate based on project factors, helping with accurate planning and budgeting. Additionally, it saves time and money by comparing different options and finding the best deal. Most local architects aren't as transparent as we are, they normally do not publish pricing and typically charge significantly more for their services.

How can one manage the costs of Architect Drawings?

To manage the costs of architect drawings, it's important to understand the scope of your project from the start and provide a clear design brief. Limiting new ideas and design revisions once your drawings are ready can also help keep costs in check.

Want to discuss your design requirements?

To get an accurate quote, reach out to us and discuss your project in detail. It's important to ensure feasibility before paying for drawings. We're here to answer your questions and help bring your design ideas to life. Contact Us today!

Architect drawings are an essential part of any construction or renovation project. They provide a clear visual representation of the design and layout, helping both the architect and the client to visualize the final result. The cost of architect drawings can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the project and the architect's experience and reputation. It's important to consider these factors when budgeting for your project.

To get an estimate for your architect drawing costs, you can use our free online cost calculator. This tool takes into account various parameters and provides you with an estimated cost based on your specific requirements. Using a cost calculator can help you better manage your budget and make informed decisions about your project.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your design requirements, feel free to reach out to us. Our team of experts is here to help you bring your vision to life.


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How Much Does Planning Permission Cost?

One of the most common questions is how much does planning permission cost? The cost depends on many factors including the project type, which type of application is required, what architect drawings and what supporting evidence are required with the application.

You can use our online cost calculator to get an instant free no-obligation estimate. However, bear in mind it is an estimate based on the normal requirements, it could be less and it could be more.

When applying for Planning Permission in the UK, a fee is usually required. However, for certain types of consent such as listed buildings and planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area in England, no application fee is required.

The fees are set nationally by the government and can be calculated by using the online fee calculator on the Planning Portal website or by downloading the application fees document. You can also visit the website of your local council which will also detail the various application fees.

Is there a difference in cost between residential and commercial planning permission applications?

Yes, there is typically a difference in cost between residential and commercial planning permission applications. The cost can vary depending on factors such as the size and complexity of the project, but commercial applications are generally more expensive due to additional requirements and regulations.

What type of planning application will be required?

To determine the cost of planning permission in the UK, we need to know which application type is required. Determining this is essential to estimate the cost accurately, including any associated application fees.

Many people incorrectly assume that there is only 1 application type, however, there are many. Each type is specifically suited to certain project types and circumstances. They all have different requirements and are assessed differently. Understanding the outline applications is crucial to ensuring that you choose the right one for your project.

So, in order to stand the best chance of securing approval from the local government, it is important to submit the type that will give you the best chance of success;

  • Pre-Application
  • Lawful Development Certificate/Certificate of Lawful Use
  • Prior ApprovalHouseholder Application
  • Full Planning Permission
  • Outline Planning Permission
  • Planning Permission in Principle
  • Reserved Matters
  • Non-Material Amendment
  • Material Amendment
  • Appeal
  • Listed Building Consent
  • Discharge Conditions
  • Vary/Remove Conditions

Some types of applications require less supporting evidence and fewer architect drawings to be submitted with the application, while others require more. Other than cost, it’s most important to submit the application type that will give you the best chance of securing approval!

What architect drawings will be required?

It depends on which type of application, which local authority you are submitting to, and what constraints are present at the site address.

As a minimum, every application typically requires the following;

Existing & Proposed Elevations – 2D drawings showing each side of the property externally

Existing and Proposed Elevations

Existing and Proposed Elevations

Existing & Proposed Floor Plans – 2D drawings showing the layout of rooms

Existing Floor Plans

Proposed Floor Plans

Existing & Proposed Block Plans – Map showing boundaries for the site

Existing block plan

Site Location Plan – A larger map showing where the property is located

Site Location Plan

Some application types do not require elevations or floor plans which are the most labour-intensive and costly. This is why understanding the different types and the associated requirements, as set out by the local authority, is important.

In addition to the minimum, you may also require additional drawings such as visibility splays, sections, roof plans, street scene elevations and more. All of these can increase the cost.

Even if you are only wanting a “simple” change of use with no structural changes the above is still required in almost all cases, so that the council can assess the application and see that nothing is changing in terms of development rights.

If you fail to submit the correct fee and minimum requirements, the council will not validate or process your application.

What supporting evidence will be required?

Most people incorrectly assume that it is simply a case of submitting some simple drawings and filling in a form and that’s it planning permission will be approved. Sadly it isn’t quite so easy!

Every application type requires a planning statement and/or design and access statement as a minimum. These are complex documents that are typically 4 to 50 pages long and basically justify why based on xyz planning policies the proposed development is appropriate and why it should be approved. These documents are usually submitted in a digital format, such as a pdf, to ensure that they can be easily accessed and reviewed by the relevant authorities.

Additionally, if there are any negative impacts it is important to address these points in the relevant statement(s) to justify how we plan to limit of mitigate any negative impacts, to maximise the chance of securing approval.

If your property is a listed building or is within or near a conversation area, then it may also require a heritage statement to assess the impact on the surrounding buildings of historical importance.

Many people incorrectly assume that an architect is all that is required, but they are only qualified in architectural design but not planning. This requires an RTPI chartered town planner, who understands all the complex and ever-changing local and national planning policies.

For applications relating to listed buildings or conversation areas, a chartered town planner with heritage expertise is required. There are only few town planners with sufficient expertise and skills to write strong heritage statements.

Fortunately, we have several in-house and while these can be very costly with other firms our prices are typically at least 50% cheaper.

What specialist reports will be required?

There are over 30+ specialist reports that the council may request in addition to the normal architect drawings and planning statements before they can assess and determine a planning application.

These are very niche and can only be produced by a handful of highly skilled specialists so they are typically in high demand and can be very expensive if required.

Some of these reports can often cost more than the architectural design and planning application so it’s always best to find out whether any are likely to be required before committing to a planning application.

Is the price given in our online cost calculator accurate?

YES! Our online estimate will be accurate for most standard projects providing there is nothing above the minimum required, such as additional drawings, statements, specialist reports etc.

For larger scaled developments beyond normal householder developments, the website can’t account for scale or complexity. For example, it can’t calculate whether it’s a conversion to 2 flats or 20 flats.

Larger-scale developments will cost more because there is significantly more work, however, we are also able to apply significant discounts for large developments or projects with multiple components.

To find out how much planning permission costs for projects with multiple components, multiple new build dwellings or anything outside what is shown in the cost calculator, please Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation, so that we can provide you with an accurate quote.

How much does planning permission cost?

Try our free cost online cost calculator now to find out how much planning permission will cost for your project.


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How Much Will It Cost To Build?

Without a full set of plans it is impossible for anyone to quote the cost of building a new development, because it will depend on the quantity and quality of materials required.

Have you ever done DIY? For example, you could renovate the same bathroom for £500 or £5000. You could get tiles for 50p a tile or £5 a tile. Do you need 5 or 50 meters of tiles?

Without a full set of architect plans AND if required building regulations drawings and structural engineering calculations, it is impossible to determine what materials are required and therefore it is impossible to give an estimate.

What we can tell you for budgeting purposes, is that the industry uses £1800 to £2500 per square meter. Although you could spend less or you could spend more depending on the final design and specification.  

If you try to get a ballpark figure first the risk is that once you provide the plans they could say “oh we didn’t know you also need this, that will cost extra”. We have seen construction costs double once plans have been drawn up. In some cases, so much so the project becomes unaffordable and is cancelled.

However, if you give your builder your budget together with a full set of architect drawings, they can provide you with a specification that is in line with your budget. There are areas where you will be able to save costs without compromising and areas where you can’t.

For example, instead of getting a full kitchen installed you could just replace the cupboard doors giving the whole kitchen a new look for a fraction of the cost.


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How To DIY A Planning Application?

In theory, anyone can submit a planning application. Often, people assume it is simply a case of doing some basic drawings and filling in a form, but it is much more complicated than this. In fact, most people who try to DIY their planning applications fail due to missing information or mistakes.

What a lot of people also don’t realise is that even architects are normally only qualified in design but not planning so, we regularly have clients contacting us having been refused with a local architect.

The designs may have looked fantastic but if the proposal does not meet all the required planning policies or this is not clearly justified, the application will be refused unnecessarily.

However, if you would like to have a go at submitting a planning application form yourself, here is an overview of the process and what you will need to do.

What is the feasibility and best application type for your project?

In order to establish whether your project is feasible, and which application will give you the best chance of success, first you need to have a clear project brief for what you are planning to do, including project management. This includes the design, scale/size as well as what the development will be used for, as different uses can require different types of planning permission.

Next, you need to check your project brief against the relevant local and national planning policies for your specific project brief, at your site location. There are usually several types of planning applications that could be appropriate for each project, and it's important to gather additional information about each application type to determine the best fit for your project. Each application type will have different requirements and a different likelihood of success.

You should consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of planning application, whilst of course making sure your project meets ALL the necessary planning and design policies. If your project does not meet even one of the criteria, no matter how small the difference may seem, it would be at risk of unnecessary refusal.

Then you should check the relevant planning history for similar projects in the area. To be of any use the projects must be of the same application type and of similar scale and design. For example, if you are planning to build a porch and your neighbour has planning permission for a loft conversion, this is unlikely to be of any relevance to your planning application.

Equally, a similar application that is too far from your site location or not approved by the local authority is unlikely to be relevant. You should also bear in mind that just because someone in your street has done something similar, this is not necessarily an indication that your project would be feasible. This is because many people build thinking they don’t need planning permission and get it wrong, resulting in a breach of planning law.

Sadly, it’s usually a case of when, not if, they receive a planning enforcement notice. So, to have any value to your project the design must be very similar, the application type should be the same as the one you intend to submit. And, of course, it should have planning approved, the more recently the better.

Planning policies are always changing so, if the approval was prior to any changes in local council planning policy, then again it could be totally irrelevant to your project.

You then need to establish whether there are any planning constraints that may affect your application, which can be found on your local council’s website. Aside from the architectural design meeting the required planning policies, there can be many hidden planning constraints, including those related to government services. Planning constraints can either limit or remove your permitted development rights or make it much more difficult to secure planning permission for your project. It is important to note that these constraints are enforced by the local planning authority.

Finally, you should consider whether any specialist reports will be required to support your planning application, such as a report on the impact of the proposed dwelling. There are over 30+ different types of specialist reports that may be required.

Common examples include; flood risk assessments, ecological surveys, wildlife surveys, bat surveys, parking surveys, transport surveys, drainage surveys, topographical surveys, arboriculture assessments, noise assessments, odour assessments, drainage surveys, and many more.

Architectural Design

Once you know whether your project is feasible, which application type is required, what planning constraints there are, what specialist reports are required, and how likely it is to be approved, you are ready to start working with your design team on the architectural design process.

It depends on which application type you are planning to submit as to what drawings will be required. However, most planning applications will require the following as a minimum;

Existing and proposed elevations

Existing and Proposed Elevations

Existing and Proposed Elevations

Existing and proposed floor plans

Existing Floor Plans

Proposed Floor Plans

Existing and proposed block plans

Existing block plan

Proposed Block Plan
A site location plan

Site Location Plan

However, there are many other drawings that may also be required including;

Existing and proposed roof plans
Existing and proposed sections
Visibility splays
Street scene elevations

To add to the complication, each of the drawings must meet all of the council’s validation criteria for them to even consider assessing the application. This is where most people get stuck and come back to us for help.

The drawings need to be accurate, to the correct scale, correctly marked up, and annotated as required. If your drawings do not meet all the criteria, when you submit your planning application the council will not process the application, until such time as all validation criteria are met.

Supporting Evidence

Once your drawings are complete the next stage is to prepare the required supporting evidence. Again, it depends on the project type, application type, and planning constraints, to determine what you will require for your application.

However, as a minimum, every application will typically require a planning statement and/or design and access statement. These are typically 4 to 50 page documents that describe the proposed development in detail AND clearly justify why based on XYZ planning policies your planning application should be approved.

In addition, you may also require additional statements such as a heritage impact statement, water management statement, drainage statement, and many more.

Finally, you may also require specialist reports to support your planning application, as listed above. Even if it is not clearly listed in the validation criteria, your planning authority can, at their discretion insist on various specialist reports in order to assess your application.

As with planning applications, in theory, you could DIY this, but these are very complex and even our chartered town planners can’t do these. Because they are outside the realm of planning and require unique skills and qualifications for each type of specialist report.

There are only a handful of providers in the UK and so these can be very expensive. Sometimes a project could require multiple specialist reports. If you are not aware that these will be required, your project could suddenly become significantly more expensive or even unaffordable.

Consider applying for planning permission like going to court. If you do not put forward the strongest case possible, even if you are innocent, you could be found guilty.

In the world of planning, even if your design does meet all the required planning policies if this is not clearly demonstrated, then your application is likely to be refused unnecessarily.

Apply For Planning Permission

Before you submit your planning application make sure that;

You are confident your project is feasible.

You know which application type will give you the best chance of success.

Your architectural design meets all the validation criteria.

You have all the required supporting evidence to clearly demonstrate why it should be approved.

Assuming this is the case, you are now ready to submit your planning application. You can do this via the government’s planning portal by selecting the appropriate planning authority and planning application type. Filling in the form(s) is the easy part but unfortunately, this is still not the end of the process.

Once you have filled in the form(s), submitted the drawings, and supporting evidence, and paid the relevant planning application fee, the process begins.

First, the council needs to validate the application, which is simply confirming they have everything required to assess the application. Once upon a time this used to happen almost straight away, providing everything that was submitted was in order.

However, almost all councils are understaffed and significantly backlogged so, this can take a couple of weeks these days. Again, this is simply to confirm whether they have everything required to assess the application and does not mean your planning application will be approved.

If there are any mistakes, missing information, or additional requirements, the council will invalidate your planning application and send it back to you. You will then need to address all the issues raised and resubmit with everything they have requested. If you are unable to do this, your application will not be processed. 

Once your planning application is validated the clock starts, and in theory, most application types should be determined within 8 weeks. However, again bear in mind that almost all councils are significantly backlogged and taking longer than the statutory time frames. Most planning applications currently take 3-6 months from start to finish, but some take even longer.

Even once the application is validated, the council may come back requesting further information or changes to the architectural design. Depending on the application type, it’s also common for people to object to planning applications. These may need a formal response to justify with technical planning facts why the council should disregard the objections.

All in all, if everything goes as smoothly as possible, you could have a decision in 3 months, if you are lucky. However, every request for more information will add delay to the process.

Something else to bear in mind is that it takes 4-6 years at university studying architectural design, plus at least 2 years of work experience to become a chartered architect.

It also takes 4-6 years at university studying town planning, plus at least 2 years of work experience to become a chartered town planner.

This is why at Planning By Design, we have both Chartered Architects and Chartered Town Planners, working together on every planning application, to ensure the best chance of success.

You can see lots of examples of our planning applications in our Portfolio. You can filter by project type and/or application type, to find the most relevant examples for what you want to do. Click on any of our projects to view all the required drawings and supporting evidence for each planning application.

Still have questions about how to DIY a planning application?

Don’t worry, most of our clients have never done this before and have zero knowledge or experience. So, if you are feeling a little daunted or unsure about what you need contact us for a free no obligation consultation as a starting point.

Our expert town planners can conduct a planning appraisal to give you the answers you need in a day, which may negate the need for a formal pre-application with your council which would take at least 5-8 weeks to get a response.

Unlike many companies, we always prioritise the right advice over profit. So, if we think your project is high risk or has no chance, we will advise you not to proceed or to consider alternatives. Don’t take our word for it, check out our customer reviews:

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Of course, if you would like our experts to take care of all of this for you, we remain ready to help with whatever you need. As well as having some of the UK’s top chartered architects and chartered town planners, we also offer a price match guarantee and will beat any like-for-like quote!

You can use our Free Online Cost Calculator to get an instant online estimate for most project types. Please bear in mind this is based on the minimum requirements for each planning application and does not mean your project is feasible.

Alternatively, you can Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation regarding your project.


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I Received A Planning Enforcement Notice What Should I Do?

If you have received a planning enforcement notice for breach of planning control, it is important to understand you are not alone, around 15-20% of the applications we do are retrospective! In some cases, a planning contravention notice may be issued to gather information about the alleged breach.

You should seek advice as soon as possible from a chartered town planner who will be able to advise whether they agree there has been a breach and in which case what the options are going forward of whether it would be appropriate to appeal the enforcement notice. It is important to determine the occupier of the land to ensure that the correct course of action is taken.

99% of enforcement notices are for developments that people were sure would be Permitted Development and therefore wouldn’t need any permission but unfortunately got it wrong. However, in some cases, an alleged breach of planning regulations may have occurred, leading to the enforcement notice being issued.

Usually, it’s because they have misunderstood the planning portal or were given bad advice from someone other than a chartered town planner, who doesn’t understand the complex and ever-changing planning laws, such as the town and country planning act 1990 and the General Permitted Development Order or GPDO. It's important to seek guidance from local authorities or a qualified town planner to ensure compliance with the applicable regulations.

What is a planning enforcement notice and what does it mean?

A planning enforcement notice is a formal document issued by a local planning authority which is a department of your local council. It means that they believe a breach of planning control has occurred and sets out what needs to be done to remedy the situation. It is important to take the notice seriously and seek expert advice from an RTPI chartered town planner as soon as possible to limit or avoid any further formal enforcement action.

How much time do I have to respond to an enforcement notice?

You typically have a specific timeframe, known as the time limit, to respond to an enforcement notice, which is usually only 28 days. It's important to act promptly and seek professional advice from a chartered town planner as soon as possible. Failure to respond within the given timeframe can result in further legal action or penalties such as unlimited fines or even custodial sentences for breaches related to listed buildings.

What is a breach of planning control?

A breach of planning control refers to any development or change in land use that goes against the regulations set out in the town and country planning act 1990 and other relevant legislation. This can include things like building without planning permission, using land for purposes not permitted, or not following conditions imposed by previously approved applications. It's important to note that amenities such as parks, schools, and community centres may also be subject to planning control regulations. Ignorance of planning laws is not a valid defence, so it's crucial to seek guidance from experts such as chartered town planners to ensure compliance with regulations.

What are my options if have been contacted by an enforcement officer? 

If you have received an enforcement notice, usually the letter will give you just 28 days to submit a retrospective planning application/lawful development certificate or comply with the enforcement order and put the property back to its original state. 

Often the first step in the process is a site visit from the enforcement officer who will then take some time to put together the case against you before issuing a formal enforcement notice.

It is important to bear in mind, that once you are in the system the wheels are in motion, and usually it is a case of when, not if, you receive a formal enforcement notice. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice from a chartered town planner as soon as possible.

The first question to ask is, would you feel comfortable putting your property back to its original state? If the answer is yes, this could be a suitable solution, and for minor low-cost developments, such as a cheap fence, this could be a good option.

If your development is important to you or you have invested a significant amount of time or money, then you may want to consider either an enforcement appeal or a retrospective planning application. You can view some of our previous retrospective applications and what was required for each of these in our Portfolio, including the grounds of appeal.

It is also important to note that if your enforcement relates to a change of use, then you will not be able to use the property for the new use until such time as retrospective planning permission is approved, which could take 3-6 months or more. For example, short-term lets are a very hot topic at the moment and many people are being caught out.

If a retrospective application is refused with no scope of appeal, it is important to carefully consider your options. One possible course of action is to seek legal advice from an experienced planning lawyer who can assess the grounds for refusal and advise on the best way forward.

Can I appeal an enforcement notice?

In some cases, it may be necessary to make modifications or amendments to your development in order to address the concerns raised by the enforcement notice. This could involve working closely with a professional architect or town planner to develop a revised proposal that meets the requirements of the local planning authority.

Alternatively, if you believe that the enforcement notice was issued unjustly or based on incorrect information, you may have grounds for an appeal. If the appeal is won you would not need to put the property back to its original state or restore it to its original use.

Appeals would be determined by the Planning Inspectorate rather than your local council, to ensure the assessment is impartial and unbiased.

What are the chances of securing retrospective planning approval?

Unfortunately, there is a huge difference between knowing you need planning permission and knowing whether it is likely to be approved or not. 

One of the most challenging things about retrospective planning applications is that we can’t advise you on what you should do to meet the required policies. Instead, we can only justify to the best of our ability, why we feel your project does meet the relevant policies and why it should be approved.

The trouble is, let’s say for example you have built something that does not meet the required planning and design policies, it’s not simply a case of amending a drawing and resubmitting to the council, as we would with a normal application. It’s also likely impossible to amend the build to meet the required policies or at least not without significant expense.

Another consideration is that there may be further constraints, objections or complaints, which could make securing retrospective approval much more difficult.

In order for us to be able to give you an indication of whether a retrospective application is feasible and the likelihood of success, we can conduct a Planning Appraisal to give you the answers you need within a day.

The best-case scenario is that although you are in breach of planning, what you have done is feasible and has a chance of securing retrospective approval. Providing a strong application is submitted to clearly demonstrate why it should be approved, it would have a strong likelihood of success.

However, if your application has no little to no chance of success, we will tell you before you invest any more time and money on something that is unlikely to be approved.

Ultimately, if you still wish to try no matter how unlikely it is to be approved, we can of course submit the strongest possible application. If it is refused, there will still be the option of appeal, subject to the reasons for refusal. 

What would be required to submit a retrospective planning application and how much will it cost?

As with any application, the answers to these questions will depend on exactly what is required. You can see what is typically required as a minimum for any application here.

To get an indication of cost you can use our Free Online Cost Calculator for an instant online estimate for most project types.

However, it is important to bear in mind this doesn’t mean it is feasible and this is only an estimate based on the minimum requirements. Subject to what is required, it could cost less and it could also cost more.

The best starting point is to Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation ASAP because time is very much of the essence with any enforcement case.

Here are a few example news articles relating to enforcements;

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-66157670

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/uk-world-news/couple-stunned-after-council-blocks-8610306

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/22880466/tear-down-shed-moaned-neighbours/

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23588832.wealden-woman-fined-1-000-planning-permission-breach/

https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/23665735.ipswich-borough-council-pursuing-67-planning-complaints/

With a quick Google, you can find many more examples. Of course, most breaches and enforcements don’t make the news.

So, while at a glance planning permission laws and the general permitted development order might look straightforward, unfortunately, it’s much more expedient and complicated than most people realise. Understanding the intricacies of planning laws and permitted development can take a significant period of time, and it's important to seek professional advice to ensure compliance with regulations.

Where possible we always do our best to help clients secure retrospective approval, however not only can this never be guaranteed but retrospective applications typically have a much lower chance of success, with significant consequences. It is important to note that carrying out development without formal notice of consent or permission can be a criminal offence and could result in enforcement action being taken against the property owner.

Even with all the best intentions, it’s very common for people to find out after construction is complete that their design did not meet all of the criteria for permitted development or there were constraints that restricted or removed their permitted development rights. Meaning planning permission was required. If this happens, it is important to take further action to rectify the situation and ensure compliance with the relevant regulations.

Another common reason is that the planning policies can change at any time at the discretion of the local authority, in accordance with government guidelines. This means, although the development may have been permitted development at the time, their permitted development rights can be removed in the future, resulting in a breach of planning permission and an enforcement notice. It is important to stay up-to-date with any changes of use that may affect your property's development plan.

It is for these reasons that a Lawful Development Certificate is always recommended for anything that ‘might be’ permitted development. This is the only way to obtain a legal determination that the development is lawful and does not need correct planning permission. Obtaining a Lawful Development Certificate is an important step in ensuring that you have the necessary legal documents to proceed with your development plans.

If approved a lawful development certificate or certificate of lawful use, would protect against retrospective planning issues and enforcement action for life. It is also usually required to sell or remortgage a property.

Depending on the nature of your development and the reasons for enforcement action this may still be an option. However, the requirements and costs are virtually the same as planning permission so, what you really want to do is submit the application that will give you the best chance of success.


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What are Building Regulations?

The exact building regulations vary from region to region in the UK. Generally, the regulations pertain to the safety, security, and overall structural strength of a building; they cover requirements such as minimum room sizes, fire safety, electrical safety, insulation, ventilation, plumbing, and damp proofing. The Department for Communities and Local Government’s website provides detailed guidance on the national regulations in the UK.

In order to get building regulations approval in the UK, building projects must be submitted to and approved by the local authority or a designated building control body, such as an Approved Inspector. The local authority or building control body will assess the building project against the requirements set out in the Building Regulations and, if approved, provide a final certificate.

It depends on the scale of the build as to whether building regulations are required. For example a small outbuilding or porch may not require building regulations and structural engineering calculations. Larger builds such as large extensions or new build houses always require building regulations approval. 

Depending on the scale of your build and the final design there are a 2 options to obtain building regulations approval.

1. Building Notice with basic plans
2. Full building regulations drawings and structural engineering calculations

Option 1 is quick, easy and cheap (a few hundred payable to the council) and often builders can arrange this.

Option 2 is most suitable for larger developments as the cost of fixing a build retrospectively far out weighs the cost of getting the drawings and calculations right at the start.

It also depends on your builder and how skilled they are, some are very comfortable building from architect drawings only while others require full building regulations drawings and structural engineering calculations in order to even quote the build.

If a building project is built without obtaining the necessary Building Regulations approval, the risk is that the building may be found to not be compliant with the standards expected in the Building Regulations. This may lead to enforcement action such as the local authority requiring the building to be demolished, or altered to make it compliant, as well as fines and other legal consequences. It is therefore important that any building projects undertaken in the UK obtain the necessary Building Regulations approval.

If you would like a quote for building regulations for your project or have any questions please do Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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What are Structural Engineering Calculations?

Structural engineering calculations involve the assessment of a structure's load-bearing capacity and strength, as well as its size and shape. They also include evaluations of a structure's ability to resist forces due to wind and earthquakes. Calculations involve calculating the appropriate materials and strength of components to be used in a given structure and analysing the safety of a structure's design.

Structural engineering calculations or reports may be required when;

  1. Design plans for a new building are being prepared.
  2. Significant structural or structural repairs are undertaken in an existing building.
  3. Additional loads or loads of changing characteristics, such as those due to occupancy or wind, must be considered.
  4. The building or structure is located in a seismic or high wind region.
  5. A building has reached the end of its design life and requires re-evaluation.
  6. Conditions such as corrosion are present that could affect the strength or stability of a structure.

If you are planning to build a new development, once you have planning permission approved you may require building regulations and structural engineering calculations.

If you would like a quote for building regulations for your project or have any questions please do Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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What Is A Lawful Development Certificate?

A Lawful Development Certificate is the only way to prove that your development is Permitted Development and does not need planning permission.

For anything we think will be considered Permitted Development we would always recommend applying for a Lawful Development Certificate before commencing any works.

Even if we think your proposal meets all of the criteria for Permitted Development, there are no guarantees, your local planning authority will either approve or reject the application.

The Lawful Development Certificate and Planning Permission processes, timescales and costs are basically the same.  

The major benefit of a LDC versus other planning application types is that neighbours do not have an opportunity to object and councils can only asses again the GDPO which increases the likelihood of success.

A Lawful Development Certificate will likely be required in order to sell or re-mortgage the property in future.

Clients often contact us after receiving an offer to buy their property when they find out the solicitors require an LDC or planning approval to complete the sale. This takes at least 3+ months so often sales fall through as a result of this.

Another important fact which most people are unaware of is that your planning authority can remove your Permitted Development rights at any time in future risking retro planning issues and enforcement action.

A Lawful Development Certificate  protects you from retrospective planning issues and enforcement action. So, even if the council impose new planning constraints removing your permitted rights, your LDC proves that it was lawful at the time of the build so you will never have any issues.

If you do receive an enforcement notice and can’t get retrospective planning permission approved then you would need to demolish your build and put the property back to its original state.

Enforcement action would be registered on the property which could also make it difficult to sell in future.

Enforcement action is not uncommon, in fact currently 90% of councils enforcement teams are backlogged because they have so many cases.

Unfortunately we deal with clients who have received enforcement notices on a daily basis, 90% of these were sure what they built was Permitted Development having either misunderstood the planning portal or been mis-advised by someone other than a Town Planner, who is not qualified in planning law.

To see some examples of what is required for Lawful Development Certificate applications please visit our Portfolio where you can filter by project and application type.

If you would like to know the what is required and the feasibility for your project we can conduct a planning appraisal.

You can use our online Cost Calculator to get an instant free no obligation estimate.

If you would like to find out whether your project is feasible, whether it requires planning permission and get an accurate quote for architectural design please Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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What Is Required For A Normal Planning Application?

It depends which type of application, which planning authority you are submitting to and what planning constraints are present at the site address.

As a minimum every application typically requires the following;

Existing & Proposed Elevations – 2D drawings showing each side of the property externally
Existing & Proposed Floor Plans – 2D drawings showing the layout of rooms
Existing & Proposed Block Plans – Map showing boundaries for the site
Site Location Plan – A larger map showing where the property is located
Planning Statement or Design and Access Statement – 4 to 50 pages justifying why the proposed development meets the required planning policies and should be approved
Relevant Planning Application Form – There are many options with different likelihood of success

However, in addition to the minimum you may also require additional drawings, additional planning statements or specialist reports, which can be very costly if required.

Even if you are only wanting a “simple” change of use with no structural changes the above is still required in almost all cases, so that the council can assess the application and see that nothing is changing.

If you fail to submit the minimum requirements the council will not validate or process your application.

If they do validate it and the design does not meet all of the required planning policies or the planning statement does not clearly justify why based on xyz planning policies the application would be at risk of unnecessary refusal.

To see some examples of recent application visit our Portfolio and click on any of the projects to see all of the required drawings and planning statements for each application.

To get a free instant estimate for your project, you can use our Cost Calculator but please bear in mind this does not mean your project is feasible and if anything above the minimum is required this will be at additional cost.

If you would like to find out what exactly your project would require and whether it is feasible, please Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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What is the difference between an Architect and a Town Planner?

Put simply the difference is that architects are only qualified in architectural design whereas town planners are qualified in planning law.

For any planning application an architect is required to prepare accurate scale architect drawings to submit with the planning application. However, while an architect can design anything you like this doesn’t mean that it will meet all the necessary planning and design policies.

In fact, we regularly get clients coming to us after being rejected unnecessarily with a local architect who is not qualified in planning. This means they need a whole new set of drawings and another planning application which is costly and will delay their project by at least another 3 months.

In order to make sure the proposal is appropriate and stands a good chance of being approved a town planner needs to make sure that the design meets all the relevant planning policies. Assuming the design is appropriate they need to write various supporting planning statements to justify why based on xyz planning policies the proposed development is appropriate and should be approved.

To become a chartered architect, it takes 4 to 6 years at university studying architectural design. After securing a degree in architectural design, it then takes at least 2 years working as an architectural designer to become a chartered architect.

To become a chartered town planner takes 4 to 6 years at university studying planning law. After securing a degree in town planning, it then takes at least 2 years working as a town planner to become a chartered town planner.

In theory anyone can submit a planning application but most who try DIY fail due to missing information or mistakes.

For all of these reasons at Planning By Design we have inhouse chartered architects and chartered town planners overseeing every planning application to ensure the best chance of success.

You can use our online Cost Calculator to get an instant free no obligation estimate.

If you would like to find out whether your project is feasible, whether it requires planning permission and get an accurate quote for architectural design please Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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What is the planning application process?

Unfortunately, applying for planning permission isn’t quite as simple as just filling in a form. There are many application types, each is suited to certain projects and circumstances. The different types have different requirements and are assessed differently. It is important to submit the planning application type that will give you the best chance of success. It depends on which type of application, which local authority you are submitting to, and what constraints are present at the site address. However, there are certain things that will always be required, as detailed below.

Planning permission process

The process of applying for planning permission typically involves filling out a form, providing detailed plans and drawings of the proposed development, paying the necessary fees, and submitting any supporting documents or reports required by the local authority. It is important to note that obtaining permission is not guaranteed and may require additional steps or modifications to the proposed development. Once submitted, the applicant will receive a receipt as proof of submission.

What drawings are required?

Every planning application will require some architect drawings in order for your local planning authority to assess the design, scale and impact of your proposed development. Even if you are considering a change of use with no structural changes you will still need to submit architect drawings that demonstrate the changes of use. This is the only way to demonstrate to the local planning authority what you are proposing to change, if anything at all in regards to the architectural design. It depends on which application type you are planning to submit but most will require the following as a minimum; a site plan, floor plans, elevations, sections of the dwelling, and details of any historic or listed building consent if applicable to the proposed development in England, in accordance with the national planning policy framework.

Existing & Proposed Elevations – 2D drawings showing each side of the property externally in accordance with the architectural plans.

Existing and Proposed Elevations

Existing & Proposed Floor Plans – 2D drawings showing the layout of rooms

Proposed Floor Plans

Existing & Proposed Block Plans – Map showing boundaries for the site

Proposed Block Plan

Site Location Plan – A larger map showing where the property is located

Site Location Plan

What documents are needed?

Every application whether you are constructing something new, extending, making alterations or changing the use will require at least one type of statement and possibly additional supporting evidence in order to limit the risk of an unnecessary refusal. It depends on which type you plan to submit as to which statements and supporting documents will be required. However, below is an overview of what is typically the minimum requirements are for a normal planning application.

Planning Statement or Design and Access Statement

You will require one of these statements as a minimum with any application. They are normally 4 to 50 pages long justifying why the proposed development plan meets the required policies and why it should be approved. However, in addition, householders may also require additional statements such as a heritage impact statement, water management statement, drainage statement, waste management statement and more to satisfy the majority of applications. Submitting an application without the required statement(s) would risk being refused unnecessarily. While in theory, anyone could do this, it usually requires an experienced RTPI town planner who understands the complex and ever-changing policies and legislation.

Supporting Evidence

A bit like going to court, it is important to seek professional advice and submit the strongest possible case. Sometimes it is beneficial or even a necessity to submit additional documents as evidence to support your application and provide further details. For example, if you need to prove existing use over a certain time period. There is no definitive list of what evidence will be required but it can include, previous planning history, ownership details, rental contracts, utility bills, and photos to name just a few examples. Without sufficient evidence to support your case and prove the required facts, your application could be unnecessarily refused.

Specialist Reports

There are over 30 specialist reports that the council may request, in addition to the normal architect drawings and statements before they can assess and determine an application. These reports include flood risk assessments, wildlife surveys, ecological reports, bat surveys, transport reports, parking surveys, noise assessments, odour assessments, environmental impact assessments, and more. Large-scale developments such as new build houses and major planning applications are much more likely to require one or more specialist reports as they have a greater impact on the surrounding area. However, they can be required for any minor developments such as extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions, change of use, etc. They require highly skilled experts with unique skills and qualifications, so they can be very expensive if required. The reports may also need to be approved by the environment agency.

If you submit without the required documents and evidence, it may be deemed incomplete and could result in delays or even a refusal. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, as you will need to go back and gather the necessary information before resubmitting. Ensuring that all required documents and evidence are included in your submission is crucial for the successful validation of your application.

To ensure a smooth and successful process, it is important to carefully review the requirements set out by the local council or governing body. They may specify certain documents that are essential for assessing your application, such as previous planning history, ownership details, rental contracts, utility bills, and photographs. These pieces of evidence can help support your case and provide crucial details negating the need for a site visit from the planning officer.

Ownership certificate or agricultural land declaration

When submitting an application, one of two important certificates is required: the Ownership Certificate or the Agricultural Land Declaration. The Ownership Certificate confirms that you are the legal owner of the property where you want to make changes or additions. The Agricultural Land Declaration is required if your property is located in an agricultural zone, and it confirms that your proposed development will not interfere with any agricultural activities or land use. These certificates are crucial in ensuring that your application is processed smoothly and without any legal issues

Are there any fees associated with submitting a planning application?

Yes, there are fees associated with submitting a normal planning application, including an application fee. The amount of the fee, which is typically required to cover the cost of processing the application, will vary depending on the type and scale of the proposed development. It is important to check with your local authority for specific fee information and payment methods..

Planning application submission and receipt

There are many different application forms to choose from, each type is suited to specific projects and circumstances. They all have different requirements and are assessed against different local and national policies. Submitting the right form, such as full planning, for a demolition project to submit is essential. If you submit the project does not meet the criteria it would be destined for an unnecessary refusal. All applications are normally submitted via the governments planning portal website. Once your application is submitted they will email you with a link to pay the council processing fee.

Application Validation

After submission, one of the key stages of the planning application process is validation. This is where the local authority checks to ensure that all the necessary information and documents have been provided. It is important to include all required details and supporting evidence at this stage to avoid any delays or complications.

During the validation process, the planning officer will review your application and conduct an initial assessment of its feasibility. They will check if you have included the necessary plans, drawings, and other relevant documents. This can include supporting evidence such as contracts, utility bills, and photographs that can support your case and provide important details.

If you fail to submit the minimum required information, including any missing information about your application, the council may not validate or process your application, this is when many clients Contact Us for help. If they do validate it but the design does not meet all of the required policies or the supporting documents do not clearly justify why, based on the relevant policies the application should be approved, it would be at risk of unnecessary refusal.

Do I need to notify my neighbours when making a planning permission Application?

When making an application, you may be wondering if you need to notify your neighbours. The answer is that it depends on the type of application you are making. A lawful development certificate does not require a consultation period so your neighbours do not have any opportunity to comment or object. Most other types of planning applications do require a 21-day consultation period, to allow local government, as well as neighbours, to comment or object to your proposed development.

What if my neighbours object?

It is common for objections to be raised during the planning application process. However, objections that stem from personal reasons such as dislike towards you or the design are unlikely to hold any weight with the local authority. On the other hand, objections that are based on technical planning aspects such as negative impacts on the street scene, environment, noise levels, privacy, security, right to light, or other material considerations could potentially influence the outcome of your application. If objections are grounded in technical reasons related to local or national policies, it may be necessary to provide a formal response in the form of an objection letter. This response should effectively counter-argue their case and provide technical evidence to justify why their objection should be disregarded.

Revisions to planning applications prior to determination

Revisions to planning applications are often necessary prior to determination. The application may need to be revised based on feedback from local authorities, stakeholders or the community. This can involve changes to the proposed development, such as alterations to its size, location or design. It is important to note that revisions can delay the determination process, so it’s crucial for applicants or town planners to work closely with planning officers and make any necessary changes as quickly as possible. By doing so, it is often possible to save time and avoid a refusal.

What happens when the applicant disagrees with the local planning authority’s request to provide additional information?

When a local planning authority requests additional information from the applicant or appointed town planner during the normal planning application process, there may be instances where the applicant or town planner disagrees. In such cases, the applicant or town planner can request a review of the decision and provide further information to support their argument. The local planning authority will then review the information provided and make a decision accordingly. However, it is important for applicants to understand that providing all necessary information upfront can help prevent delays and ensure a smoother application process.

How long will it take to get a decision?

The timeframe for a planning decision depends on various factors, including the complexity of your application and the workload of the local planning authority. The statutory time frame for local authorities to determine applications is 8-13 weeks depending on the type of application. However, with backlogs in many councils across the UK, it is common for the process to take 4 to 6 months. The planning officer can request an extension of time and any requests for additional information or design revisions will add delays.

What happens if your application is refused?

If your planning application is refused, you have the option to appeal the decision. This involves submitting additional evidence and arguments to support your case. Appeals can be very complex and difficult so seeking advice from a town planner with experience in appealing decisions is recommended. Alternatively, it may be possible to amend and resubmit your application for reconsideration. Understanding the reasons for refusal can help address any issues in subsequent applications.

How likely is it that my planning application will be approved?

It is difficult to determine the likelihood of your planning application being approved without knowing more specific information about the details of your application and the local planning regulations and policies in your area. The approval of a planning application depends on various factors, such as compliance with zoning and land use regulations, environmental impact assessments, community feedback, and other relevant considerations. It is advisable to consult with a qualified RTPI town planner or contact your local planning department for more accurate information regarding your specific circumstances. They will be able to provide you with guidance and advice based on their knowledge of local regulations and past approvals in your area.

It is recommended that you establish the likelihood of success before you invest lots of time or money, in case your project is not feasible or has a low chance of success. To establish the feasibility you can submit a to your local council, you will need drawings and a detailed written proposal. It normally takes around 5-8 weeks to receive a response which is still not a legal determination and does not guarantee you will secure approval. Alternatively, one of our expert town planners can conduct a planning appraisal to give you the answers you need in a day rather than 8 weeks.

When can you start construction?

After receiving approval for your planning application, construction can commence as long as building regulations approval is not necessary. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that certain conditions may be imposed on the approval, which must be satisfied before construction can begin. If building regulations drawings are required, you can proceed with this phase once your application has been approved and you are certain that there will be no changes to the architectural design.

It is important to note that even if you believe your project falls under permitted development, undertaking any work without obtaining all necessary consent would be done at your own risk. Non-compliance with regulations could result in enforcement action and financial penalties. It is highly recommended to initiate the planning process well in advance, preferably 6-12 months prior to the desired start of construction, to minimize stress in case of any delays.

What is the benefit of engaging an architect and a town planner?

Engaging an architect and a town planner for your planning application brings several benefits. While architects excel in design, town planners are experts in planning policies and can ensure your design meets all necessary requirements. Their expertise increases the chances of obtaining planning permission and saves you time and effort navigating the process.

An architect plays a crucial role in the planning application process. Their expertise lies in design, ensuring that your proposed project meets aesthetic standards and functional requirements. By engaging an architect, you can benefit from their innovative ideas and creative solutions, resulting in a well-designed and visually appealing structure.

A town planner is well-versed in local regulations and planning policies. They have a deep understanding of the approval process and can guide you through it. A town planner can help you navigate complex planning regulations, ensuring that your application is compliant with all necessary requirements. With their expertise, they can increase

Do you need help or advice on submitting a planning application?

Looking for guidance on submitting a planning application? Our team of architects and town planners can assist you throughout the entire process. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your project and receive a detailed feasibility report with a quote. Utilize our free online cost calculator for an instant estimate.

To see some examples of our recent applications visit our Portfolio and click on any of the projects to see all of the required drawings and planning statements for each application.

To get a free instant estimate for your project, you can use our Cost Calculator but please bear in mind this does not mean your project is feasible and if anything above the minimum is required this will be at additional cost.

If you would like to find out what exactly your project would require and whether it is feasible, please Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation.


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When Can I Start Construction?

It is strongly recommended that you do not start construction until you have all the necessary approvals, including planning permission and building regulations.  

It's important to bear in mind that Planning permission can never be guaranteed even if we think it has 100% chance of being approved, ultimately the planning authority will decide rightly or wrongly.

To put this into perspective, the national statistic for appeals won is 1 in 3. This means that when councils refuse a planning application, they have made a mistake in their judgement at least 33% of the time.

We understand the excitement and temptation to start work straight away however, it is very important to stress that even for something that we think could be permitted development, ultimately only the local planning authority can decide.

For anything that is likely to be considered permitted development we would always recommend applying for a Lawful Development Certificate. This is the only way to obtain a legal determination that it is permitted development and does not need planning permission.

If you start works without the required consents you would be at risk of enforcement action. If you have started or already completed the build and you receive an enforcement notice, you would have 28 days to submit a retrospective planning application which is not guaranteed to be approved.

If the build is complete we can no longer advise you on a design that would meet the planning policies and instead can only justify to the best of our ability why what you built should be approved. Depending on what has been built this can be very difficult retrospectively.

If retrospective planning permission cannot be secured, you would have to demolish the build and put the property back to its original state, which can be a very costly mistake.

If you are building something small and cheap like a fence you might feel comfortable with the risk but for anything more significant most are not comfortable with the risk.

A good question to ask is how much is your budget for the build and would you feel comfortable gambling with this amount?

If the answer is no then we would strongly recommend that your first find out whether you need planning permission and if so, how likely this would this would be to be approved.

If you would like to know the what is required and the feasibility for your project we can conduct a planning appraisal.

You can use our online Cost Calculator to get an instant free no obligation estimate.

If you would like to find out whether your project is feasible, whether it requires planning permission and get an accurate quote for architectural design please Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.


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Which Type Of Planning Application Do I Need?

Many people incorrectly assume that there is only 1 type of planning application, however, there are many.

Each application type is specifically suited to certain project types and circumstances. They all have different requirements and are assessed differently.

So, in order to stand the best chance of securing planning permission, it is important to submit the application type that will give you the best chance of success.

Below is a list of all the potential planning applications that could be appropriate for residential developments, new build developments, and commercial properties.

Permitted Development

Pre-Application
Lawful Development Certificate/Certificate of Lawful Use
Prior Approval

Planning Applications for Householder/Residential Developments

Pre-Application
Householder Planning Application
Full Planning Permission
Non-Material Amendment
Material Amendment
Planning Appeal
Listed Building Consent
Discharge Conditions
Vary/Remove Conditions

Planning Applications for New Build Developments

Pre-Application
Outline Planning Permission
Planning Permission in Principle
Full Planning Permission
Reserved Matters
Planning Appeal
Discharge Conditions
Vary/Remove Conditions

Planning Applications for Commercial Properties/Developments

Pre-Application
Lawful Development Certificate/Certificate of Lawful Use
Full Planning Permission
Outline Planning Permission
Planning Permission in Principle
Reserved Matters
Advertising Consent
Non-Material Amendment
Material Amendment
Planning Appeal
Listed Building Consent
Discharge Conditions
Vary/Remove Conditions

Which Application Is best for your project?

Unfortunately, there is no simple black and white answer to this. It depends entirely on where the site is located, what you are looking to do, and what planning constraints are at the site address.

Submitting the wrong application could not only delay your project by months it could lead to an unnecessary refusal. This would be registered at the site address and would mean you would be back to square one starting all over again, with a whole new planning application, at additional cost.

You can see lots of examples of our planning applications in our Portfolio. You can filter by project type and/or application type, to find the most relevant examples for what you want to do. Click on any of our projects to view all the required drawings and supporting evidence for each planning application.

If you are unsure which application type you need, then the first step in the process is to either submit a formal pre-application to your council or contact us for a free no obligation consultation.

Need some pre-planning advice?


Don’t worry, most of our clients have never done this before and have zero knowledge or experience. So, if you are feeling a little daunted or unsure about what you need contact us for a free no obligation consultation as a starting point.

Unlike many companies, we always prioritise the right advice over profit. So, if we think your project is high risk or has no chance, we will advise you not to proceed or to consider alternatives. Don’t take our word for it, check out our customer reviews:

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Of course, if you would like our experts to take care of all of this for you, we remain ready to help with whatever you need. As well as having some of the UK’s top chartered architects and chartered town planners, we also offer a price match guarantee and will beat any like-for-like quote!

You can use our Free Online Cost Calculator to get an instant online estimate for most project types. Please bear in mind this is based on the minimum requirements for each planning application and does not mean your project is feasible.

Alternatively, you can Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation regarding your project.


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