Success rate

One of the first things new clients ask us is how successful we are at getting planning approvals.

Other new clients can sometimes come to us because they have been clever enough to check out the planning permission success rates of architects, and architectural consultants in Milton Keynes themselves. When they do, they can see that our success rate is pretty good, and probably better than the competition.

One of our new clients had really done their homework – they told us that over the past 7 years, 96% of our domestic clients who have instructed us to apply for planning permission received a planning approval. Yes, 96%! Even we were astonished when we found out. You may be forgiven for thinking that we must only take on the easy projects, or that all of our projects are hidden away in back gardens, but no. We design quite a few front extensions for instance, and in some cases, other practices have tried and failed to obtain planning permission before us.

So what’s the secret?

Quite honestly, we do not know. It is not because Milton Keynes council are a pushover as they can be as picky as the next council, but we think it is partially because we put our schemes together with care.

Occasionally, we tell clients that what they are asking for is likely to be controversial and we try to steer them towards something more acceptable, we are pleased to say that in most cases they listen. Most clients are reasonable, and so usually with a little compromise we can successfully guide them through the process. It is important to us that what we do looks good, whether it is a back extension, a side extension, a side extension, a front extension or a dormer window. Basically, a bit of care with the design clearly pays off.

96 percent success rate

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.

Permitted Development

In brief, Permitted Development is that work that you can carry out to your house without requiring Planning Permission.  The rules changed the other year and was heralded with a fanfare by Governments as a new simplified set of rules that would result in fewer Planning Applications. Oh yer!  I can tell you that our very first project under the new regime needed Planning Permission but it would not have done under the old set of rules.  However that is not the worst of it.  As complicated as the old rules were, we ( those working in the field) were familiar with them and there had been many test cases to iron out the anomalies and help clarify matters.  What we are dealing with now is a very sloppy piece of legal drafting that is being interpreted by one planning authority in one way and another in another way.

Building Tectonics advises that the Local Planning Department should always be consulted to see if Planning Permission is required.  We nearly always do this because in addition to the vagaries of the new rules, a planning authority can apply to have your Permitted development Rights removed.  This is done where the local authority believes an area is special, and the public cannot be trusted to build with taste and sensitivity.

Central Government advice actually encourages applicants to make a pre-planning enquiry, as we do, and most local authorities.  However some Planning Authorities are now charging for this consultation which is a bit rich and I believe deplorable.  In these cash struck times we may see more councils doing this.  It goes against the spirit of things and we should harrang Central Government to stop this.

As a summary I would repeat that Permitted Development is that which can be done without Planning Permission.  Lastly I would like to stress that just because you need Planning Permission does not mean you will not get it.  I have had clients that have gone to great lengths to come up with a design that can be built under Permitted Development and yet a much better approach would have been to design a much nicer extension that would require Planning Permission.  In most cases a well designed extension will obtain approval.

Please also remember that building Regulation Approval is an entirely different thing and is not affected by any on the above, so this separate approval will probably be needed anyway.

Happy building.

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.