Procedures to Build - The Design, Planning Permission, Building Regulations Approval, and The Build

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Once you have found a property or a plot of land, the main body of work to realise your building begins. From the design, planning permission, building regulations approval, to the build, there are procedures to be completed to have all permissions in place before the works can start.    


The Design 

The design of your building, whether it is an existing property or a plot of land, most clients will work with an architect's team to agree on the best design. The process of finding a suitable architect for a project will typically take between one and six months. It is important to speak with a number of architects before appointing one to work with. Some architects will offer a free initial consultation and some will charge a small fee, obtaining a design and / or price comparison will provide an idea of the architect's capabilities for the project, as well as client-architect relationship are a good fit. 

If you work with an architect's team with the right project expertise, track record, and perhaps even local knowledge, the entire process will be run smoother and you will be properly guided throughout the process.   


Planning Permission  

Upon finding a compatible architect to work and delivering a set of drawings sufficient to apply for planning permission, the process of submitting a planning application to hearing from the planning authorities will typically take eight weeks. Prior to submission, the architect may have also consulted with the planning authorities during the design process. This is known as a pre-application advice, some councils may have an informal discussion, whereas some councils will charge for this service.  

For smaller extension projects, do speak with your architect to consider if your project falls under 'permitted development'. Permitted development rights are certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. Other than dwellings, commercial properties have different permitted development rights which may be worth exploring.  


Building Regulations Approval 

The next step upon gaining planning permission and having a set of specifications from your architect is to look into applying for conditional approval from your local building control department. Building Regulations are categorised within Approved Documents in parts that are updated regularly. Your architect should be designing in accordance with the latest Regulations, as complying with the Building Regulations is essential. You can agree to make a Full Plans application or submit a Building Notice. A Full Plans application includes a set of drawings that demonstrate the proposal fully adheres to the regulations, requiring all proposed drawings to meet full compliance which may take a longer time to reach, but will provide further confidence in the design as well as likely obtain a more accurate quotation for the works.  

For new build and extension projects, it is important to note crucial inspections stages. For example, excavations for foundations, foundation concrete, damp-proof course, and more. At the end of the project, a completion certificate will be issued, forming a key document to obtain the building's warranty, and an important record if you sell the property.    


The Build 

From the early design and design development process, you and your architect may have spoken to contractors, builders, and suppliers to ensure the buildability of the designs. Depending on the complexity of a project, you should be able to start work on site within a few months after gaining all the required permissions and approvals. In most cases, contractors and builders may have previous jobs to complete, so generally, it is advisable to start the conversation and understand each company's lead times as soon as possible. 


If you have a project in mind, Pitch Your Concepts is a pitch submission platform for property owners, SME developers, and architects for commercial and residential projects. The platform facilitates the process of finding an architect remotely, contact details for the one-to-one meetings are only shared when you select the favourite pitch you receive. Contact us at to speak about finding the best architect for your project in the UK. 


Yvonne Chua, Co-founder of Pitch Your Concepts | 18 April 2020