Planning Permission

Planning for the construction of a property doesn't have to be a complex and detailed task. The more planning you do, the more chance you have of getting your project through to a successful completion that is within your budget.

Firstly, work out how the project is to be paid for. If you need to raise a mortgage, make sure you have this arranged with agreed terms for interim payments based on specific progress stages. Don't forget you will need to fund the purchase of materials and services between the payment stages, so plan the cost carefully. Once all this is in place you can set your budgets for each part of the project.

When you locate a suitable plot of land make sure you have obtainedOutline Planning Permission (OPP)before committing to the purchase. OPP is simply permission for the principle of development on a site. This means that the details of the size, dimensions, materials and access can be decided at a later date. If a plot is granted OPP, you will still need to make a supplementary application for full planning permission at a later date and no building work can be undertaken on OPP alone. OPP status is usually valid for three years at which point reapplication will need to be made.

You will need to work closely with an architect to turn your rough plans into proper working drawings. And keep them informed of what your budgets are so that they can work within your guidelines.

Next you will need to lodge the plans with your local authority planning department to obtain detailed planning permission and building regulation approvals. Your local authority will charge for these services as they will need to send out an inspector to view the plot to assess the suitability as well as release details of your application so that objections can be lodged. The details of the planning charges and the separate building inspection charges can be obtained from your local council. An online fee calculator is available from the Planning Portal website. The council should decide your application within 8 weeks.

Detailed Planning Permission/Full Planning Permission (FPP)outlines exactly what is going to be built including dimensions, room layouts and building materials. As soon as FPP is granted building work may commence. Sometimes conditions of approval will be attached and these must be complied with during the project. Detailed planning permission is valid for three years.

You will need to consider suitable insurance to cover you for public liability and for your building materials, etc. In addition, your mortgage provider may also require buildings cover. For further assistance, consult an insurance broker or contact a specialist insurance company. Registering with an organisation like the NHBC will offer practical help with your project - see http://www.nhbc.co.uk/for details.

Unlike building regulations, the application of planning permission differs significantly from area to area owing to differing local development plans, local interpretation of the regulations and the significant degree of subjectivity involved in the process. Therefore, it is essential that you contact your local planning authority as early as possible to obtain local guidance and advice.

In most instances a simple planning application never goes to a planning committee and instead is decided at officer level. This is followed by a period of public consultation about the application. The extent of this will depend on the impact of the development and the type of area but it will always include local neighbours. This process normally last 3 weeks.

Once the LA has received all the necessary responses, the Planning Officer will assess the proposal against the LA planning policies. The Planning Officer will then make a decision regarding the application or a recommendation for the planning committee.

If there is a problem with your application, the Planning Officer may contact you to try and resolve it. If it is refused, you will need to re-submit an amended proposal or appeal against the decision.