Do you need an Architect for Planning Permission Drawings

Many people ask if you need an RIBA or ARB registered Architect to draw plans for planning permission.

The answer is â€? It depends’. And I say this for a couple of reasons.

Firstly you need to identify what your project requirements are:

  • Do you have a basic or clear idea of the work you want to undertake?
  • Do you want the design to be within a set budget?
  • Is the project fairly simple? i.e does it consist of any of the following: Loft conversion, Front, Rear or Side extension, garage conversion, Small internal alterations etc?
  • Are you looking for a standard type of extension/conversion?
  • Are you looking for a standard type of construction and build?

If you answer yes to most or all of the above, then it may not be necessary to appoint an architect. Providing you have an outline of the project brief, and you are looking to do a standard type of extension or alteration, you could save a lot of money by appointing a local designer. There are various types of designers you can appoint that do not need to be ARB registered like an architect. These include: Architectural designers, Architectural technicians, Building Surveyors, Architectural Technologists & CAD Draughtsmen. The most important thing is to find someone who has local experience of the planning legislation, and can show you completed projects that are similar to yours. There are extremely competent designers that have gained their knowledge & competencies from experience. I personally know alot of designers that I consider have greater design and technical knowledge, with better planning experience compared to some Architects I know.

When it may be worth considering engaging an architect:

  • Are you looking for a lot of input to help you decide on the design?
  • Is the proposal complex? Are there many elements to the project?
  • Are you looking for an innovative design?
  • Are you looking for something with design flair?
  • Are you happy to pay a premium for this service?
  • Are you not too concerned about the budget?

If you answer yes to the majority of questions above, then I would say yes, it may be worth exploring the option of appointing a qualified architect. An architect will often be able to advise solutions to provide best utilization of your current space, however this obviously comes at a cost. They can often suggest great ideas for extensions, such as glass boxes, large corner openings, concealed beams, and a careful consideration of materials and detailing. Unfortunately for some architects whilst they have great design ideas, when it comes to the detailing and construction of the building their information is often lacking. You will occasionally find builders ranting about plans they received from an architect, where they had to solve a lot of the design problems on site. Whilst this is no way a reflection of all architects, it can pay dividends to get a copy of their building regulations drawings to pass to some builders for their comments. As if you find someone who provides poor details, then you could save your self a small fortune by appointing someone with more technical knowledge.

What else do could help me decide who I should appoint:

  • Among the points above you should also consider if there are any restrictions to your property. These can include:
  • Removal of permitted development rights
  • Property within conservation area, or green belt
  • Property is listed.

The above points will help you decide what experience you will need to look for in your designer.

What is actually required for planning permission drawings?

  • When it comes down to it, there is not that much information that is actually required to validate a planning application.
  • Whilst some firms provide great 3D visuals and rendered images, I have also seen very poorly hand drawn homeowner sketch’s which received planning approval. The planners are not concerned with how pretty the drawings are, they
  • are only concerned with how the proposal relates to the local planning legislation, and the impact the proposal has on the street scene and how it affects your neighbours.

Ultimately the planning permission drawings only really need to include:

  • Site & Location Plan
  • Existing Plans and Elevations
  • Proposed Plans and Elevations.

When deciding on who you should appoint, you only need to outline what your project brief is, how complex you consider the design, and how much input you really require in the project. This should help you determine the best route to enable you to get you planning permission approval.

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