Column details on a Regency building in Brighton

A Very Short Guide To Planning Applications

Architectural plans, one rolled up, others flatHi, I’m Jai. I’m in my 2nd year of studying Building Surveying at the University of Brighton and I started working at Grumitt Wade Mason around Easter 2016. I contacted them about summer work experience and I have been working for them alongside my studies ever since.

The practical experience has improved my understanding of processes and procedures within construction projects. The hands-on style of learning has helped to raise my grades at university, and the support and advice from my colleagues has been invaluable.

Advice from a Building Surveying student

It can be daunting starting out in such a technical industry, there is a lot of responsibility and I have found that the success of any particular project depends upon how I am able to apply my knowledge.

My advice is to make the most of the experience of others around you, listen, research, and don’t give up, even if you have to read the building regulations document 100 times.

The importance of professional help for a successful planning application

During my time at Grumitt Wade Mason, I have learned how to submit planning applications. Most of the planning applications I have submitted have been approved and are now at the construction stage. You don’t need to have a degree or experience in the industry to submit a planning application, but you will need the professional help of a surveyor or architect to draw up the necessary plans.

When commissioning a professional, you will have a chance to discuss the feasibility of your project and have plans drawn up that are tailored to your requirements. Once you have a proposed scheme drawn up, you will have to submit a planning application.

What to check before submitting a planning application

If you are thinking of submitting the application yourself, here are some key things to keep in mind.

1. Make sure you have the full and correct address

2. Think about what you want to achieve

The clearer you are in your mind about your plans, the easier it will be to write a concise ‘Description of Proposed Works‘. This section should make it easy for the planning officer to understand your intentions.

3. Know your site

That includes rights of way, parking restrictions, protected trees. Be honest!

4. Be prepared

Before you submit your application, make sure you have all ‘Supporting Documents’. The application requires a site map, location map and block plan; websites such as PRO-MAP and Groundsure can help you with this.

5. Get existing and proposed drawings drawn up by a professional

Make sure your drawings are accurate – annotation helps. If you are proposing external alterations, check that you have included all elevations affected.

6. Check whether you need additional documents to support your application

These may include a CIL Form or Design and Access Statement.

There is guidance on how to complete these documents on the Planning Portal and on your Local Authority’s website.

The Design and Access Statement is a great way to help the planning officer understand the reasoning behind your proposal as well as all the considerations you have taken into account to create a usable and attractive development.

7. Always check before you submit

Approval from the council can take a while so make sure you do everything right first time to try to reduce this process.

I found planning applications quite daunting at first.  If you do run into problems, we are always willing to help; just give us a ring.

What next?

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