Frequently Asked Questions (updated February 2022)

 

Do you offer a 2 week guarantee for Domestic Property Extensions / New Builds?

Yes, we offer a 2 week guarantee from the Date of Measuring or Surveying the Site (subject to our Standard Terms & Conditions)

Do you offer a swifter service?

We can offer a swifter service 'Planning in a Hurry' but this comes at a much higher cost due to take into account the level of staff involvement and the unreasonable hours involved in order to provide this service to our clients. This service has its own set of terms and conditions as this a little different to our usual process for Planning Applications.

What are your terms and conditions?

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What Price do you charge for your services to cover the Planning Stage for a typical domestic property extension?

Every job is different, and therefore each job will be in receipt of a written 'Fee Proposal' detailing our agreed services and the agreed fee for carrying out these services. Our usual rate will be £1,180.00 split into 3 stages. This is a fee to cover our services and does not cover the Local Authority Fee or any of your other project expenses.

What services does this price include?

  • A Measured Building Survey of the Existing Building (usually 3-4 hours at the property, & we take notes of your proposed design).

  • Producing a full set of plans on A1 paper as illustrated above, elevations, floor plans, site plan. We produce proper old skool plans in 2D design (as illustrated above), that builders love to work from.

  • Production of an OS Map Location Plan.

  • Producing your Proposed Design on A1 paper as illustrated above, elevations, floor plans, site plan. We can add dimensions to the plan and any notes which you require.

  • Carrying out up to 3 reasonable amendments to the proposed design. Anything beyond reasonable will be classed under the 'Above and Beyond' Services.

  • Once the client is happy to proceed, we will submit the Planning Application and act as the agent throughout the entire process. Carrying out any required negotiations with the Planning Officer and seeing it through to the final decision. Our aim is to achieve the clients desired outcome but our main focus should be on coming to an agreement with the assigned Planning Officer.

  • We provide you with an additional guarantee, that our drawings will be produced within 2 weeks of measuring the building. Therefore, no waiting around for 1 to 2 months for your drawings. The process will be swift and getting you to the position you need to be.

How do we make a Payment?

We prefer payments made directly to our bank account. All projects are split into 3 stages and payment will be due upon completion of each stage. Details of where to make a payment can be found at the bottom of your invoice.

Services 'Above and Beyond':-

Any services above and beyond what was agreed will be subject to our 'Terms & Conditions' at the time of the agreement. These would have been supplied along with the agreed Fee Proposal.

Building Control Services:-

We can assist our clients with the Building Control stage for an additional fee of £650.00. But we advise our client initially for free with regards to the different options available. And quite often talk ourselves out of the job for this stage.

Project Management:-

We offer a project management service for domestic property extensions and refurbishments. Our fee to cover this will be £3,200.00.

Other Services:-

We can provide a range of services to our clients, these include Structural Engineering Calculations, Topographical Land Surveys for New Builds, Setting Out Projects etc. Please contact for an initial estimated price.

How detailed are your Planning Drawings?

Our planning drawings are specifically produced for planning. These are not 'Construction Plans' or 'Detailed Design' for Building Control however we can help with these stages if requested. We measure your entire property, and therefore by investing more time initially you may gain in the future, where these drawings can be re-used for any other future works to your property. The drawings will show enough information to illustrate your proposals and to be simple enough to provide you with flexibility when choosing what materials to build with.

Can you provide 3D drawings?

We can provide this service for an additional cost. However, our 2D drawings are very professional and will effectively illustrate your proposals.

Can you estimate what our Build / Extension Cost will be?

The price of a project can often vary excessively depending on which Building Company you choose to go with. A previous project of ours we received 6 quotes for the same detailed works and 4 came in between £30k and £35, followed by one at £46 and another at £85k. It's clear that it is in our client's interest to request multiple quotes based on the same information. Therefore, we usually advise to wait until we have Approved Planning Drawings & any required Structural Engineering Calculations before sending out requests to quote on a project to ensure that all companies are quoting specifically on the same detail and specification of works.

How long does the Planning Process take?

Firstly you should take into account the time we require from the date of measuring the building, to be able to produce the existing plans and your proposed designs. Usually we allow for 2 weeks to cover this Stage, but we do offer the 'Planning in a Hurry' service at a much higher cost. Once the planning application is submitted and the Local Authority fee is paid by the client, then the application is logged as of this date and the Planning Department will aim to provide you with a decision within 8 weeks. There have been occasions where projects are swifter than this, like the 2 storey side extension we did in a Conservation area in Cardiff, approved in just 4 weeks. But most of the time, I would say 99% of the time it is around the 8 week timer. On occasion the planning department may also request an extension. If this were to happen I would highly advise my client to accept the request in order to aid the Planning Officer dealing with this project.

Our Planning Application has been Approved, what should we do next?

Before you can start building there are a few things to consider.

  • If your works require a Party Wall Agreement then this will need to be agreed upon before any works begin.

  • Any extensions proposing to build over sewer pipes are likely to require permission from the water company such as Welsh Water or Wessex Water before any works can begin.

  • If you haven't already picked a Building Team to carry out the works then it would be advised to obtain any Structural Engineering Calculations and any other specific build details before requesting quotes.

  • And before you begin any works an application must be started with the Building Control Department. This department is focused more towards health & safety, the safety of the build and the quality of the Build. Whereas, planning was more concerned with how it would look, and the impact the design may have on neighbours or the surrounding area.

What options are there for Building Control?

Option 1 -
Submit 'Detailed Design', adding a lot more detail to the original approved planning drawings. Then submitting these to the Building Control Department by an application. After a considerable amount of time the department will then inform you as to whether they approved of the proposed construction design.

Option 2 -
If you have a experienced Builder who is aware of the Building Regulations and British Standards (any works requiring Building Control, under Regulation 7 requires all works to be done to British Standards), then a SWIFT option would be to submit a 'Notice of Building Works'. This wouldn't be recommended for much more complex projects but for simple house extensions then it is certainly a lot quicker to get going with the project.

What if my Project can be built under Permitted Development Rights?

We often receive clients where they are attempting to sell their property but are unable because the Solicitor is demanding a Certificate from the Planning Authority to prove that the works which have been done to the property are legal. If your works do qualify for Permitted Development rights then we can submit an application for a 'Certificate of Lawfulness', this process is identical to the planning process, requiring all the same amount of work and drawings, but if it is done before any works begin then the Local Authority Fee will be 50% of the usual Planning Fee.

What happens if my project is refused Planning Permission?

Appeals can take a considerable amount of time and incredibly difficult to swing in the opposite direction, but not always impossible. I always recommend my clients to attempt to come to an agreement with the assigned Planning Officer and we will negotiate as far as possible in order to get as close as possible to your desired outcome.

If a project is refused (which doesn't happen often with us, thankfully), then, we can resubmit a similar design within 12 months and the Planning Authority will not charge any fee, provided that it is a similar concept. If this is the case, we have failed to come to an agreement during the first planning attempt then any further applications will be subject to an additional agreed cost with the client.

Discounts

Any agreed discounts are always applied to the final stage of a project.

Dishonesty

We usually carried out the agreed work before requesting payment. However in the rare circumstance where there has been dishonesty from the client side we may choose to demand the stage payment upfront before providing the drawings to the client. Thankfully, this doesn't happen very often and we have only had to do this once where a client was attempting to fool the Planning Officers.

If you have any questions which are not listed then please send us an email info@heames.ltd and we will be happy to assist.

Please inform us if your project involves some form of Eco-Friendly design or Historic Buildings.