Planning and Building Control plans from different sources

11 Feb 2009
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United Kingdom
I am considering putting a planning application in for a flat conversion for my property.

I may use just one architect (a RIBA registered practice) for the 'planning' plans, and another (or an architectural technician) for the Building Control plans.
This is simply down to cost.

I don't mind paying the architect his large fee if he gains the planning permission (which seems many times over what I have previously paid for planning work elsewhere) - and his cost for the BC plans are similarly many times over what I would expect to pay.

Would their be any issues in sourcing the two sets of plans from different places.
Do I have any rights to the intellectual property of the CAD files created, that could be handed to the architectural technician to draw up the BC plans.

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The only real issue is the bod doing the building control plans will be working from the architect's drawings and thus may miss subtle features- also if the architect was doing the BC drawings as well they should be able to work round design errors more effectively (by modifying the design rather than having to do some massive bodge to make the design compliant).

And intellectual properties- probably not, depends on the wording of your contract with the architect. One favourite trick amongst CAD designers is to send you a CAD file but with everything on 1 layer which makes working with it really tedious. Or send it as a PDF.

You might want to ask yourself why you need an architect- is the project complex, is it near the edge in terms of planning policy? You might get a better result by getting an architectural technician (on a far lower rate) to do both sets of plans if your concept is generally conventional.
It's a bonkers idea.

You will need to purchase the copyright from the Architect too - and his fee for that (if he has any sense) will be close to what he would charge of he was to do the b/regs plans.
The plans simply involve splitting a semi, which already has a hip to gable (which rules out complications with stairs etc), it just requires a 3mt rear extension and internal changes.

Umm, thanks Woody, I thought that too regarding copyright, the architect wants £7000 - £8000 for planning and BC plans, - split almost 50/50 (£3500-£4000 ea).

Oldbutnotdead - all valid points, thanks. Only reason I am considering using this particular architect is he has had an identical flat conversion a few doors up approved in the street - I used a cheaper architect a few years before - and it was refused. The cheaper architects plans - were what they were - cheaper, but he is a regular at the council offices submitting plans ... not sure what magic the other architect had, he feels confident he can get plans approved.
I know an architectural technician could do both sets of plans for half of what is being quoted, but its the planning side that I am willing to spend out on if it get results, and I get the point that subtleties in the design could be missed ... leading to issues during the build.

Guess we need to consider carefully the build also, want to avoid complications at that stage with incorrect plans, and on this point guess I need to ask the Architect how much detail will be in the Building control plans.
In my experience - they've simply provided an outline - but I guess to get someone to consider every small point would become quite costly.
In an ideal world you'd like them to think of everything - but not sure how near can you get to that in reality.
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Planning permission in general for flat conversions is governed by LA policy and is not an architect related issue. Have you talked to your local planning officer? You won't need a fancy architect if say the LA are welcoming flat conversions in your area.

Perhaps the simple reason is policy may have changed between those times???
£8k!!!!!!! Does that include all LA fees for Planning and BC?

You could get that done for around £2k + fees. Probably less.
What was the architectural technician's fee quote for the planning application? I bet it was a lot less than £3500.
All other LA and BC fees are extra.

Footsolder: I have previously emailed the planning officer that approved the application drawn up by this architect, and he invited me to re-apply.

Wessex101: yes the previous set of plans drawn up by the technician were £500.

I think its worth me getting Pre-Application Planning advice - cost is £348 (written advice only, another £226 if you want an 'initial meeting', total £576).

I think I get to chose the planning officer, so could ask for the planning officer I emailed shortly after the developer up the road got approval - who almost invited me to re-apply.

I can email him my plans and see what he says ... worth £348 I reckon.
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I do not understand why you are considering employing an expensive architect for the planning application where I suspect there is limited actual design input. £500 sounds far too cheap so I would question that person's professionalism but if you speak to some other designers and get alternative fee quotes I suspect you would find a good competent local architectural designer who would know the local planning policies and be able to advise you on chances of gaining permission for a lot less than £3.5k. Personally I rarely bother with pre-application advice but your local designer should be able to advise you on that.
Personally, I would handle the Pre-App yourself and for a project such as this should not need any crazy negotiating, it will likely either comply or it won’t and there will likely be pretty clear guidance in the local plan with regards to parking, floor area, number of bedrooms allowed etc. You will control the project, understand what does and doesn’t need to be done to get it approved rather than paying someone else a fortune. You can then just employ a technician or decent pan drawer to draw what you have agreed at the Pre-App and submit the app. Really £8K is just nonsense. Even £4K for just the planning is nonsense.

It’s not like a domestic Pre-App where the planners only have maybe an hour to work on it, they can spend a little more time on it and should be more proactive/helpful. And if you do get a choice you should use the planner who will deal with it once it’s been submitted. But I would expect the LA to assign that planner to the Pre-App as a matter of course.
Wessex 101: yes I agree, I'm not building a building, just converting the inside on one already existing. And £500 was probably too cheap (he does submit plenty of applications here, and knows what needs to be known) was happy to pay more, £1000-£1500 seems right - but £4000k (that incl the vat though) and being tied to a similar sum for the BC, makes one stop and think.

Mr Mercury: I've actually had it my mind for some time to do some or all of this myself (after my last two experiences of 'architects'). As you suggest get familiar with the Local Plan, make sure it complies.
I use CAD software for work, so could even draw the plans, although that depends on my time - and experience of drawing plans, which is pretty limited, paying someone to do all that would be so much easier.
However this was all done by the first architect who drew up plans, - I'll show these to the council one more time and see what view they take.
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The options for splitting a semi and extension are limited. The dustman could do the plans and get the same results as an Architect for this.

Half and half fees are a nonsense IMO. All the work is done at the front end, the same plans are used for both, and you have to do the necessary analysis for building regs at the same time as you do the planning design, else you don't know whether what you design can actually be built.
Obviously a good place to start is the reason for refusal on the last application. Perhaps there has been a policy change or maybe you can overcome the reasons through your new design.
Woody - 'the dustman', that gave me chuckle :) yes agreed, the planing plans need to be built with the BC plans in mind, and its all in CAD already for the BC plans, just different section planes, and notation - these people will even sell you the notions:

Footsolder - agreed, the planning officer that refused mine, was quite categorical that no flat conversions would be allowed in the street, he even berated my architect on email saying he'd acted unprofessionally submitting such an application in the first place. So when plans were approved a year or so later for an identical property just a few doors up, I contacted the relevant officer for that app, who informed me the officer responsible for refusing my app had since left, and almost invited me to re-apply, that was last year - and am just getting round to doing it now.
I questioned him why it was originally refused, and he gave some sketchy answer saying he couldn't answer for the officer who was no longer with them.
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That can't really be true though because senior officers have to review and sign off all delegated decisions. Maybe this new one is the faker and trying to get another fee out of you! Only joking but hopefully there is a policy in your LPA and it is a group decision.

Development changes areas rapidly in London so perhaps it is connected with that.

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