Frequently Asked Questions
While the service we offer is bespoke to each client, we have included below answers to some of the more common questions we are asked.
The below list is not exhaustive and answers may vary according to the requirements and specific circumstances of your individual project. Please note that the following answers should only be used for the purpose of general information. Any specific questions you have should be discussed directly with an Architect or relevant professional before proceeding.
Please feel free to e-mail us via the contact us page if you have any further questions.
We have also created another section for: Architectural service and cost queries
Yes- we undertake design appraisals and feasibility reports for vacant land, existing land or existing properties. The amount of information produced by your project Architect can be scaled to meet your requirements or the needs of the project. As an example, these drawings could form a full pack of documents illustrating how you can position new buildings, their size and rough drawings of their appearance, that would form sufficient information for an `Outline Planning` or `Full Planning` submission.
The decision to adapt the structure, or significantly change the spaces in your house will likely be one of the biggest choices you will make regarding your home, and has probably been on your mind for some time. We are sure you already have ideas of what spaces you want to extend or reduce, and how the extension will change the way you live and use your home. After our initial consultation, your project Architect will guide you through the design, planning and finally the construction stages, offering you a fresh perspective on any of your initial ideas, using our professional knowledge to begin refining your thoughts onto paper and into a feasible design that can be built. The level of our involvement will be completely up to you, and this can be discussed at our first consultation and would form the `scope of works` between you the client and us the Architect. Thought- To make this process more successful, it’s always beneficial to keep a collection of any ideas or pictures of buildings you may like, as this collection will help us understand your tastes and preferred architectural styles.
While we are always available via e-mail or telephone, we understand that due to people’s commitments you are not always available during the working day to discuss your project or check on its progress. To resolve this DPS Architecture has a `Client Portal` area which is directly accessible from our website, allowing you to see and download any final drawing submissions or letters from the planners / building control that we may have received. We normally keep this portal available for each client for a minimum of 6 months after the end of the project. (although we can keep it open longer at the request of the client) This gives you ample time to download the drawings and files for your own records, and print additional copies if you so wish. In addition to the above, we always maintain an in-house backup for a period longer than 6 months, and are always at the other end of the telephone if you need help or a copy of a specific drawing via e-mail.
Yes– our services can be scaled to meet your needs. We offer a lump-sum price for a fixed submission and a defined number of visits to meet the building control officer, or we can work on an hourly-rate. It’s completely up to you.
This is a multi stage answer which will be discussed in the next few questions, and the following answers are not exhaustive of all items that you need to keep in mind. Please be aware that if you are unsure regarding the planning process in general, feel free to call the local planning department in the first instance who will generally discuss the planning process with you ‘free of charge`. It’s worth noting that if you have a site or project specific query, the planning department might ask you for a pre-application meeting which may incur a charge. If required, we can produce the initial design drawings / sketches for this meeting allowing you to explain the design to the planner. Alternatively, you may be able to produce a few sketches that briefly describe the project yourself, although it’s worth noting that the planner will only comment on the detail of the drawings that you submit, and if you require detailed answers to site / design specific questions or comments you will need to submit detailed plans. The planning decision making process.
In September 2012 the Government announced the temporary relaxation of the planning system in England. This was not adopted in Wales, although separate guidance for Wales came into force from September 2013. The permitted development guidance for England can be found in the Planning Portal, and the Welsh government guidance in the Wales domestic guidance document. Dependant on where your project is situated, you may wish to take some time to review the relevant guidance documents. Note:– Even if a project is considered to be Permitted Development, it is highly recommended to apply for a 'Certificate of Lawfulness' from the Local Authority to confirm your interpretation is correct, before starting any construction works. This written confirmation is particularly useful if your plans are ever queried by a third party. To obtain this certificate, the planner may ask you to send a sketch or drawings of the proposal to the Planning Authority for them to confirm it falls under permitted development. If this is the case, we can of course undertake this drawing work and please feel free to call to discuss your project and receive a no obligation quotation. Note:– Conservation areas may have stricter controls under a local 'Article 4' designation. This limits what features can be altered, preventing changes to features that contribute to the character of an area. In this way even if your proposal falls within the requirements of permitted development, full planning permission will need to be sought in these areas. If you are in doubt, seek the guidance of a professional or the local planning department before proceeding.
While your scheme may fall under permitted development, it’s worth bearing in mind that you will always need to make a separate application (or serve a Building Notice) to Building Control or an Approved Inspector under the Building Regulations. This application and process is to ensure that the project is built to meet the current standards of construction.
If your building does not fall into the requirements of permitted development, you will have to submit a full planning submission or outline planning submission. If you think this may be the case, please feel free to call and we can discuss how DPS Architecture can help you through the necessary steps.
Yes- If your proposal is close enough to the boundary and meets the criteria contained in the Party Wall Act 1996 document. You will need to give your neighbour notice under the Act in line with the requirements of the document. This requirement occurs independently of the Planning Process. The Party Wall Act can be a very formal process and must be managed correctly. If you do not feel competent in undertaking this process, we would urge you to seek professional advice or services from an Architect, Chartered surveyor or another competently qualified professional prior to proceeding.
Yes - if you are building near to a public sewer you may be required to apply for a `build over sewer agreement` directly with the local water supplier. This process does take some time and will incur a fee from the water supplier’s solicitor to process the application.
No - The outcome of the public Planning process cannot be guaranteed, although to increase the chance of obtaining planning approval you could undertake pre-application consultations with the planning department to gain an informal opinion on your proposal. Note-some Authorities are now charging for this pre-submission advice, and it would be worth discussing any potential costs directly with the Authority prior to proceeding.