Architectural Design

What's It All About?

Everything you need to know about planning applications and building regulations is listed below.


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When is Planning Permissions Required or Not Required?

There is a detailed website that was launched by the government called the 'Planning Portal'. It is a good idea to refer to this website, as it is constantly being updated to include more user friendly information about all planning matters. Please see the link below:

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Many houses in the UK have permitted development rights, where you can build extensions and make modifications to your home without the need for applying for planning permission. Some properties that are in Conservation Area or in areas known as 'Designated Areas', 'World Heritage sites', 'National park' or area of 'Outstanding Natural Beauty', the permitted development rights are restricted and it is best to contact your local planning department to inquire further. Also, some properties have the permitted development rights removed and you, as a homeowner, may not be aware of this. Some Planning Departments can advise over the phone whether you still have all your permitted development rights, however some Planning Departments will only consider written inquiries which are accompanied by site location plans. If you are advised that you have all of your permitted development rights, please refer to the link below, which indicates what types of extension would be classed as permitted development. Due to the recent changes in permitted development you as a home owner are able to extend in certain areas up to certain depths, please refer to the below link:

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Blueprint Architectural Design can also help in the above process. At the consultation stage, we would discuss the above with you and if it is not clear whether you have all your permitted development rights, we would contact the Planning Department on your behalf to investigate further. We would advise applying for a Lawful Development Certificate. This document is not a statutory requirement, however in certain circumstances it is advisable, in order to confirm that the extension would be classed as Permitted Development.

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How long does the planning decision take?

A planning decision usually takes 8 weeks from registration.

What are the different types of planning permission?

Householder Planning application

This is the application you would need to submit if you are having an extension or conversion to your home. This type of application is only appropriate for proposed works to existing homes in the UK. We would complete the forms on your behalf and submit these via the planning portal. We would also produce and submit the existing and proposed floor plans, elevations, site plans, site location plans, and in some cases site section, design and access statements and flood risk assessment. For Commercial projects, a full planning application would need to be submitted, which would include additional information regarding the processes at the application site. A full planning application would also be required for a new residential development.

Outline Application

This type of application requires less information than a detailed application and is usually used for larger development sites or new builds, you are effectively asking the council to approve the principle of development. With the outline application you can ask the planning department to consider certain elements such as scale, access, layout, appearance and landscape. If the outline application is approved then we would need to create all the other information required up to the full application standard and submit an application to apply for reserved matters. Once the application for all reserved matters have been approved you have the equivalent of a detailed application.

Listed Building

A listed building includes the exterior and interior of a property, it can also include objects and structures within the curtilage of the site including the garden walls. Listed building consent will be needed to demolish a part or a whole building, or to alter or extend it in any way internally or externally which would affect its architectural or historical character. It is always best to check with your local authority Planning Department first, it is a criminal offence to carry out any work without consent prior to works. Usually no fee is required by the planning department for this type of application.

Conservation Areas

Consent will be required to demolish any building in a conservation area, if it has a volume of more than 115 cubic metres, or to take down any wall, gate or fence higher than one metre, where abutting a highway. Usually no fee is required by the council for this type of application.

Right of Way

If your proposed building would obstruct a public path then consult with the local authority at an early stage. If they agree to the proposal then an order will be made to divert or extinguish the right of way. No work is to be proceeded until the order has been confirmed


If you wanted to display an advertisement larger than 0.3m sq outside your property including house names, numbers or even 'beware of the dog' this may need consent, if you are unsure you are best to contact your local planning authority. Temporary notices up to 0.6m sq relating to local events may be displayed for a short period of time. Estate agent boards in general should not be larger than 0.5m sq on each side and maybe banned in conservation areas.


If your proposed development will involve disturbing roosts of bats or other protected species then the English Nature (EN), the countryside council for Wales (CCW) or Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), whichever is appropriate must be notified.

Cost of applying for planning permission?

To calculate the planning application fee, please refer to the link below:

Calculate cost

What should I do if I get refused planning permission?

If you get refused planning permission or if you have been given permission but with conditions that you think are unreasonable; or if a decision has not been made within the nominal 8 weeks you can appeal against the local planning authority.

Before making the decision of lodging an appeal, we would recommend considering modifying the scheme to accommodate the Planning Department's concerns. The time limit on submitting a revision to the original planning application is one year (12 months) for the refusal date. There is normally no additional planning fee to pay - if it is an application for a residential development, under the same description you get 1 free go.

Permission is unlikely to be given for developments on green-belt land, good quality agricultural land or for access to main roads.

Appeals can be a lengthy process, but we work alongside planning consultants that would be able to advise on specific planning policies.

Planning Inspectors judge appeals on their merit. They are unlikely to be swayed to any personal considerations.

Appeals must be lodged within 3 months (major projects can be 6 months) of the refusal date and they must be accompanied by written representations and a visit to the site by the planning inspector. However, in some cases where the appellant or the LPA do not agree to this procedure, then the inspector can arrange for a hearing or a local inquiry. Forms should be obtained from the planning inspectorate in England and Wales.

The appeal should consist of the relevant forms, documents and plans and they should be sent to the planning inspector with copies of all papers also sent to the Local Planning Authority. The LPA will also send their report to the Planning Inspector and copies will be sent to the Appellant who can then make comments. The planning Inspector can then contact interested people such as neighbours and the environmental groups for their comments. When the inspector is ready a site visit is arranged, this maybe an unaccompanied visit if the site can be accessed from public land or an accompanied visit when the site is on private land. Hearings are less formal and cheaper than a local inquiry and legal representations are not normally required.

Local inquiry is required if the LPA and appellant cannot decide on a written representation and the planning inspector decides a hearing is unsuitable.

Written statements made by the LPA and the applicant are sent to the planning inspector and to one other.

Detail of the inquiry must be posted on site and the LPA will inform local papers and anyone else likely to be interested.

Statements of representatives may be asked for from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) where the proposal involves agricultural land, or health and safety executive (HSE). At the inquiry, anyone involved may use a lawyer or other professional to put their case. The inspector will make visits to the site alone, before the inquiry. After the inquiry the Appellant and the LPA may ask for a visit with the inspector to discuss any points raised about the site or the surroundings.

The Appellant and the LPA will normally pay their own expenses. However if there is an inquiry or hearing, the appellant can ask the LPA to pay some or all of the costs. The LPA may do likewise. The secretary of state will only agree to this if the party claiming can show that the other side behaved unreasonably and put them to unnecessary expense.

The inspector sends the decision to the appellant with copies to the LPA and anyone else entitled or who has asked for a copy. A copy is also sent to the secretary of state with a recommendation to whether or not the appeal should be allowed. The secretary of state does not have to accept the inspector's recommendations. New evidence may put new light on the subject. In these cases, both parties will have a chance to comment before a decision is made and the inquiry may be re-opened. The only way to appeal against the inspector's decision is on legal grounds in the high court. This challenge must be made within 6 weeks of the date of the decision. To succeed, it must be proved that the inspectorate or the secretary of state has exceeded their powers or that proper procedures were not followed.

Still Confused?

If you are still confused and unsure how to proceed with your project please give us at a call on 01933 551389. We have a team of technicians with varied experience on planning, design and technical issues. We deal with a large variety of projects daily and have obtained a wide knowledge on planning and building regulation requirements. We also liaise regularly with the local authority planning departments and building control departments. We would be happy to discuss your project brief and advise you the best way forward for your development project.

Building Regulations

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What are Building Regulations?

Building Regulations are a legal requirement aimed at ensuring buildings meet the minimum standards set out by the government. Blueprint Architectural design work in accordance with a list of documents issued by the government that covers:

  • Part A - structure
  • Part B - Fire safety
  • Part C - Site preparation and resistant to moisture
  • Part E - Sound insulation
  • Part F - Ventilation
  • Part G - Hygiene
  • Part H - Drainage and waste disposal
  • Part J - Combustion appliances and fuel storage
  • Part K - Protection from falling, collision and impact
  • Part L - Conservation of fuel and power
  • Part M - Disabled access
  • Part N - Glazing
  • Part P - Electrical Safety

When we produce our Building Regulations Submission drawings we comply to the above documents to ensure extension and new build projects are built to a satisfactory standard.

The Building Regulations are regularly updated, Blueprint Architectural Design work on a Partnership agreement with East Northants Council. Who we maintain an excellent working relationship with, to ensure they are kept informed of any amendments.

Approved Documents

Will I need approval?

Building Regulations approval is required for most new building work including:

  • Extensions
  • New Buildings
  • Conversions such as garage, barn and loft
  • Structural Alterations
  • New Drainage works
  • New Stairs or Heat Producing Appliances
  • Replacement windows / doors

Building regulations will also need to be obtained for certain 'changes of use' such as converting a property into flats, sub division of any use class.

If you are in any doubt as to whether your project requires Building Regulations approval, we would advise you to contact your local Building Control department so they may advise you accordingly.

How do I get approval?

There are two ways of getting Building Regulations approval:

First Option - Full Plans Submission

Refer to our section The Design Process - Stage 5, for advice on the service Blueprint Architectural Design would provide.

This involves submitting all the technical information required such as drawings, specifications and structural calculations to Building Control, along with the relevant forms and the plan checking fee. Once received at building control, a Building Inspector will be assigned to your project and review your application. They will check the plans in accordance with the Building Regulations (as amended) 2000. Once submitted, Building Control will liaise directly with Blueprint regarding any queries and will issue us with your approval documentation. We will ensure that the original document is forwarded to the client, together with a set of “Building Regulations Approved” stamped plans.

Second Option - Build Notice

This type of application involves no technical information being submitted ahead of the works starting on site. The council would need to be notified prior to works starting, and this type of approval should only be considered by experienced builder who have a technical knowledge of the building regulations - A through to P - and have a knowledge of achieving the required elemental 'U' Values.

The application and inspection fees payable to Building Control are slightly higher than making a full plans submission, due to the reasonable additional work carried out on site by the Building Inspector to resolve any issues directly with the builder. This is an ideal application for minor works such as removing a wall.

When should I apply for approval?

Building Regulations applications should be submitted as early as possible. If planning was required and you have received your approval, then the next stage would be to produce the technical drawings and apply for building control approval, please refer to our The Design Process for further information.

If planning was not required and the technical drawings have been completed it would be wise to allow 6 weeks for the Council to issue the building control approval before starting construction works.

If the client wishes to proceed with the building work prior to receiving the building control approval, this is acceptable, as long as the builder contacts the building control department with a minimum of 24 hours notice – 48 hours notice is preferable!

How long does the approval take?

You should allow 6 weeks from the submission date, however if you inform Blueprint Architectural Design of the estimated commencement date we will liaise directly with Building Control - depending on their work load they may be able to reduce the 6 week period.

How much does a Building Regulation application cost?

The councils fees are divided into two sections. The first being the plan checking fee which is sent in with the application forms, drawings and specification. The second is the inspection fee which is invoiced directly to the client, once the first inspection has taken place.

Every local authority has their own building control department and they issue a schedule of fees. Blueprint Architectural Design will advise the anticipated Building Control fees within the initial quote letter, based on the client's brief. These fees will be confirmed once the technical drawings have been completed as some councils quote on a job by job basis, based on the size of the project.

What is the Building Regulation Inspection process?

The Building Control Inspector will need to know your building schedule as he/she will need to visit the construction site at the necessary stages to check that the work being carried out complies with the Building Regulations. Typically, these stages are:

  • Commencement, start date - Try to give 7 days notice if possible and then a call 48h before work starts to agree the first inspection, usually the builder will liaise with the council but it is wise for the client to agree this with the builder.
  • Foundation Excavations - This is one of the most important site visits; the building control officer will check that the excavations for the foundations are deep enough - this will depend on the soil type, tree roots and soft spots within the ground.
  • Pouring of foundations - The officer may wish to make another visit at the pouring of the concrete to check the mix is of the correct consistency and is being poured correctly.
  • Concrete ground floor slab - Prior to pouring the ground floor slab, the officer will want to check the builder has cleared the site within the perimeter of the walls of vegetation and the damp proof membrane has been installed correctly.
  • Damp proof course - The officer will check that the bricklayers have installed the DPC correctly, that it is continuous and is not ripped.
  • Underground Drainage - The inspector will check the drain is laid to the correct falls and the inspection chambers are installed at any bends and the joints are made correctly. The officer may request an air leakage test to be done on the drain run, this means the drain runs are sealed with bungs and a pressure gauge applied, if the pressure drops there is a leak.
  • Roof Completion - The officer may want to check that the roof trusses have been correctly braced and are securely fixed to the blockwork inner leaf.
  • Completion - The final inspection includes checking the windows for means of escape, compliance with fire regulations, sound insulation, glazing for safety reasons, staircase and handrails, drainage tests, ventilation, energy efficiency, disabled access, electrical safety. A completion certificate is issued once the inspecting officer is satisfied.