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What Approvals do I need? And WHEN can I start on site? Part 1

July 3rd 2019

Construction projects are subject to various laws and acts that safeguard the people living or working in a building, the surrounding neighbourhood and the environment.
In answer to the common question as to when a project can start on site, we agree a programme of works and delivery with you prior to beginning work, where we will review funding and budget constraints amongst other key considerations.

During our initial briefing process, we will identify the key gateways and markers from initial briefing to handover of completed building associated with your project. It is true to say that whilst no two projects are identical, very often there are commonalities and we can provide guidance on timescales involved.

Typical legislation for someone starting a project to navigate could typically include, but may not be limited to:
• The Town and Country Planning Act
• Listed Building Consents
• Building Regulations
• Construction and Design Management
• The Party Wall Act

As a Chartered RIBA Practice, as architects we have the necessary expertise in discharging duty holders’ responsibilities under the various laws and Acts that could affect your project, costs and programme, and will make necessary applications on your behalf and monitor progress. We will keep you updated throughout the process and provide a forum for consultation with you throughout the administration of applications.

As architects we are trained in assessing the web of legislative procedures and will provide guidance and documentary information to help navigate your project safely through to completion and certification.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 [Planning]

When undertaking a project, we advise on planning procedures throughout the design process and during early design stages we liaise with local authorities. Most design works that will require a planning application benefits from formal pre application consultations with Planning Officers to discuss the project and how the application may be received in terms of Planning Policy. Throughout this process we are able to consider the application history of the project and review any prior applications and decisions for the land or building in the archives of Local Authority Planning Office as this may influence the design.
Planning considers the use of the building and the land, the massing of the built form it terms of its scale and density of units, the relative amount of development in a given plot, and its proximity to neighbouring buildings as well as interface distances of windows etc to ensure privacy is maintained.
The Planning Policy that the planning application will be assessed against is drawn up in a Local Development Plan by the Local Authority and this sits alongside the National Planning Policy Framework, where for example Nationally Described Space Standards are put in place.
Following on from project designs being completed and presented to the Local Authority Planners the statutory period to determine a planning application and reach a decision once it has been submitted is a minimum of 8 weeks, and is can be extended to 12 weeks typically where the application will be put before a planning committee for a decision to be made.

The Planning [Listed Building and Conservation Areas] Act 1990

Additional measures are required to safeguard Heritage Assets and under the above act some Buildings and areas receive special protection to conserve historic aspects and retain the specific character of areas. An extra layer of protection means that any proposals will need an additional application for Listed Building Consent, for example, and will require additional supporting information that we can help provide to and coordinate with Conservation Officers on your behalf.

TPOs, or Tree Preservation Orders are set up within the Local Development Plan by the Local Authority, and if these apply to your project will also need due diligence to review any impact, approvals or mitigation that may be required. We are able to offer specialist advise through our network of specialist Arboriculturalists when reviewing the impact of any project proposals on existing trees and vegetation.

Falling foul of Heritage regulations can invoke punitive measures and fines are levied against the building or land owner if works are undertaken without necessary approvals. We are able to offer specialist advice to keep the project on the right track and to ensure that necessary approvals are put in place.