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Planning Consultant vs Architect

22 September 2017
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Eugene Kim

Why you need a Planning Consultant vs Architect

Read on for information on whether to instruct a planning consultant, an architect, or both.

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If you plan to build or extend your property, it is worth hiring a planning consultant vs architect in to save time and money, because they will guide you through the process of making a planning application to your local council by choosing from the various route options to optimise your chance of approval.


Benefits of having a Planning Consultant vs Architect

When the planning officers tackle your application, it will be stronger with a planning consultant vs architect to act as an agent for you. One reason for this is that if your application is likely to be refused, you will have a chance to withdraw or appeal. Planning departments avoid appeals as much as possible, as it is a lot of extra work for them. They like to avoid this because they tend to be stretched to capacity and somewhat under-staffed.

image shows architect's drawing with roll of tracing paper in article: planning consultant vs architect Extension Architecture can act as your agent and also create your architectural drawings

In cases with agents where they recommend refusal, it will very likely go to appeal, whereas if the applicant is also the agent they would expect it to be withdrawn. A planning consultant knows which findings to challenge, so planning officers are more cautious and responsible when a case has a proper agent. If they need to recommend refusal, there would have to be a very good reason.


Some councils give much of their caseload to junior officers, and refusals are easier for them providing they are withdrawn and not appealed. [Some councils have abnormally high refusal rates, whereas if the council has more experienced planning officers – and good rapports with planning consultants – their refusal rate can be well below the average council rate.].


Also; some councils are very hard to get through to on the phone, and not be particularly helpful when you do. Even if you have a more approachable council, they will only have a few minutes per caller (or talk with too much jargon which may not be clear.) A planning consultant can guide you carefully regarding your local policies and will not rush you at all.


Next they will plan your route while carefully observing local policy guidelines. They can also indicate the maximum planning potential for feasible development, should you wish to go beyond your original idea to add more value to your property.


Lastly; councils vary in terms of how much advice they give for free. Most of them are busy, as mentioned, and for written advice or a further meeting, they charge additional fees. We have time and give advice; a mini-feasibility study for you; a free quote and invite you in for a presentation. We don’t charge for these.


You will also need drawings

For a full planning application, you will need architectural drawings. Most architects will do drawings only but not offer much planning much advice, submit your application or liaise with officers on your behalf during the process. It will be more convenient and cost-effective for you to hire a London architects’ practice who offers both specialisms. EA does not charge for submission and liaison, so why not less us do that for you to save you the hassle.

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Our team has specialist planning consultants working with our architects (most outfits have one or the other.) With a ‘one-stop shop’ you can:

  • Save time
  • Reduce your fees
  • Get the best chances of obtaining planning permission with your first application. Our success rate is 97%
  • Maximise the value of your property or land or: we can guide you on what could be achieved
  • Boost your application with our Immersive Design Package. We create 3D walk-throughs which show the scale and convince planning officers that the massing will blend and not be bulky. They also show the aesthetic design is in character with neighbouring properties.
  • Our planning consultants apply for more square meterage because they know the strategies needed. They can also add a planning statement to fortify your application.
  • Our architects create first-class sections, elevations and plans for you, whilst making a strong creative statement. Later at the pre-build stage they can create building regulations drawings for you, and at the construction stage they can support you with tender packs and contract admin-istration if needed.

The Planning Steps

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Here is a synopsis of the basic planning route, to clarify what can be a vague and apprehensive subject for many app-licants:

1: Contact your Planning consultant or an arch-itect to find out what is feasible

2: your architects’ practice will prepare and submit your application with drawings and supporting state-ments as needed

3: Validation: it takes 2 weeks for the LPA to val-idate your application. If they reject it, you will be invited to submit an alternative application.

4: Registration: this is the beginning of the statutory 8 to 10 weeks which the council can take. If they are busy, it can go to 12 weeks (although they can be penalysed for this).

  image of neighbours talking over a hedge with tea for article: planning consultant v architect5: Consultation: 3-4 weeks later. Neighbours, parishioners and technical experts are consulted.

6: It goes to a case officer who can apply amend-ments and repeat the consultation steps.

7: The case officer makes a report.

8: The report is sent to a planning committee or the decision is made by by delegation.

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9: The decision is either granted or refused, or the council may fail to decide within 8 weeks.


10: If it is granted, it may be with or without con-ditions. If your permission was with conditions, you will need to discharge those and start the work within the time allowed. If it is refused, you can appeal or resubmit with alterations. If it was not decided within 8 weeks, you can also appeal.

11: Your appeal will be a written representation and will go to a hearing or a public enquiry.

12: Your appeal will be granted or refused. If it is refused, you can change the proposal and re-submit.


Two sides of a coin

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Glancing over these steps, you can see why it is a good idea to appoint a Planning Consultant vs an Architects’ practice to act as your agent. In fact it is arguably more important than your architect, because some-times the planning officer will ask you to resubmit or make revisions at very short notice. This is difficult if the applicant has no agent. Our architects can change drawings quickly and our planning consultants can alter the planning route if needed. It benefits our clients that we have expertees in both fields, because that may be difficult for an architectal designer to do.

This is our unique selling point: we have both.  

Visit us online, call for a free planning consultation & quotation, or use our online contact form. One of our Planning Consultants will call you back to discuss your proposal.

photo of EA Principal Youno Kim,  for article: planning consultant vs architect

Youno Kim is the Director of EA and has extensive experience in design in new builds, flat conversions, home extensions and HMOs. Another strength is his full grasp of the intricacies within Local Planning Policies and relevant Government news. His communication skills have won many approvals from the various London Boroughs. His success has been his creativity and vision, and his mission is to bring something new to every brief. He can easily advise you on hiring a planning consultant vs architect, as can our planning team.

For more information about whether to hire a Planning Con-sultant v Architect, see the Planning Portal

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Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim, Founder and Managing Director of Extension Architecture, has led the firm for over 14 years, consistently delivering quality solutions. His dedication has been key to the company's growth and success.

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