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Dynamic Quality Assured.

Beau Architecture
How It Works


Planning and Building Control can be simply boiled down to just three main concerns, scale / aesthetics, and safety.
Local Authority Planning (LAP) is mostly concerned with scale and aesthetics, while Building Control is ultimately all about safety, in all its many and varied forms, safety and integrity of the building, and its components, Health & Safety of individuals during construction, and with regard to occupants of the finished building.

Due to recent changes to the building regulations, things as mundane as changes to hot water, heating boiler, and electrical systems, are all notifiable to Local Authority Building Control (LABC). Whether or not planning permission is needed, you will most likely still need a Building Control application for any planned works. For small works this often amounts to virtually the same amount of work regardless. However there will be no LAP fee + two months of delay.

Index. The process can normally be broken down to stages as follows: -

1. Initial Meeting / Consultation & Build Costs.

2. Fee Proposals / your instruction, & VAT.

3. Surveys & Analysis including digital photography.

4. Conceptual Sketches & Design Planning.

5. L.A.P. Local Authority Planning - Procedure & Application. Statements, Schedules, etc.

6. Detailed Design & Specifications to L.A.B.C. requirements, inc. Schedules, etc.

7. Overseeing the project to completion.

NB. We operate a Building Regs. only package, and Technical Services for other professionals, mostly small to medium size RIBA and Surveying practices.

1. Initial Meeting / Consultation & Build Costs

An initial meeting with the client to take a brief and advise on all points as necessary.

Building costs usually cum up here so we'll cover a little about that.
It is impossible to be sure of costs at this early unformulated stage due to the very many options, clients desires, and realities. However as a rough rule of thumb for domestic projects, between £950 - £1250 p/m2 is often realistic for new build costs all told, and this is plus professional fees (covered partly in sections 2&6).

NB. The above cost in m2 (square meters), is to be applied to all floors outside wall to outside wall dimensionally, and generally includes out-buildings.

It is advisable that at the outset and during discussion, sketches, and evolution, you ask yourself: -
a. What is the most I envisage spending
b. What is the least I envisage spending

NB. Whilst we give a free initial consultation / site visit (first 2-3 hrs), if not instructed we will charge full travel costs only (if >10 miles), which we consider is more than fair.


2. Fee Proposals / your instruction, & VAT.

Note, our quoted or estimated fees never include any third party fees / costs, unless noted otherwise.
This includes Structural Engineer, L.A.Planning fee, Building Control fees, etc.

Our fee structure
Fees are normally charged by one of three methods as follows below dependent upon the type of instruction.
There are however often fees from other professionals to consider (see section 6).

a. Percentage
This method is often used where there is a clearly defined building project needing the full services of the architect from initial survey to full completion. The percentage is agreed at the outset (often 10 - 15%) and is based upon the combined scale and complexity of the project.

You may not require a full service contract, so we would be happy to negotiate according to your bespoke needs.

It would be wise to be weary of percentages below 8% as this may be an indicator of a false economy, asking for troubles and maybe even increased costs due to a lack of project / client / builder support throughout.

b. Lump sum
This method is suitable when the parameters of the services are clearly defined, and is particularly suited to small works, or when a full service contract is not required. The advantage to clients is that they know in advance what their commitment to fees will be. However should the parameters change significantly the relevant finances would be discussed accordingly.

Lump sum fees are generally heavily discounted, and failure to pay an invoice may result in discounts being removed. Possibly resulting in a more costly hourly rate being applied.

c. Time at an hourly rate
This method is used when the scope of the work cannot be foreseen, or where the services do not related to an assessed or assumed building cost. The rate is agreed in advance and will vary according to the skills and experience of the personnel involved. Maximum budgets may be agreed at the outset.

NB. We do not handle most Local Authority and professional fees, as they would be paid via check from the client to the LPA or Professional respectively. This is one of the many legal ways in which we avoid VAT registration saving you that percentage.
By employing this and other measures, project values up to £4-5m may be accommodated in this way if desired.
Furthermore we do not add a percentage to third party fees, saving you more costs.


3. Surveys & Analysis including digital photography

We unusually do a very thorough and accurate survey, which always includes digital photography.
EG. Small works; A measured as built survey for an average extension usually takes at least a day, where many others only take an hour or two, and this sadly accounts for the greater percentage of practice, from the one man band to large architectural businesses.

It is noteworthy that a good RIBA practice may have planning pass rate of about 40 - 60%. And the typical small works practitioner advertising in the local paper, may have a success rate as low as 1 in 3 - 5, dragging clients through lost time, expensive appeals, further fees, and worse. That's a shocking less than <50% chance of first time pass rate.

Lancelot is proud to say that he has an unheard of 100% first time Planning pass success rate, in his life time, as of last update of this text, and has never had to conduct a Planning Appeal involving planning consultants or not.

We work to a high standard of presentation and use full colour Computer Aided Design CAD to help produce perfect documents free from handwriting, while 95% of those practices which use CAD. only print in black & white the first copy and then use a plan copier. This apart from anything else reduces quality and accuracy.


4. Conceptual Sketches & Design Planning

Conceptual drawings / sketches are produced for client interaction and approval.
Dependant on the project, it is possible at this stage that pre-determination meetings with the Local Authority may be in order.


5. LAP. Local Authority Planning - Procedure & Application. Statements, Schedules, etc.

As your Agent, we take care of all forms, drawings, specification documents, and paperwork, required by the Local Authority Environment & Planning Department.
They will then ask for the appropriate fees eg. A householder full plans application would cost about £140, and this would be double for a listed planning application.

In many cases a properly formatted: -
• Design & Access Statement must now be submitted.

There is often also a requirement for: -
• An alternative Location Plan.
• Digital Photography.
• Waste Minimisation Statement.
• Transportation Statement.
• Schedule of Works.
• Biodiversity Checklist or Report (by a qualified ecologist if a report is necessary).
• Environmental Reports, inc. Hazardous contaminants, Landfill & Mineral, Historical land use, etc.
• Local Plan & Planning Policy Documents, etc.
• Retail Assessments (retail only).
• Ventilation / Extraction Scheme (usually commercial - food).
• Health & Safety Assessments, inc. for food & drink.
• Plus a lot more for larger projects.

These Statements, Assessments, Checklists, Schemes, Schedules, and other assembled Technical documents, can be extensive and time consuming but unavoidable, as some or many are often, quite correctly insisted upon by the Local Authority. And if not supplied as necessary a pass is not likely to result.

It takes a minimum of two months for any planning application to be passed, as Local Authorities have an initial admin time to register the application, then the "Planning Notice" has to be displayed and advertised (as it's Public Access), then there is more admin time.
So if anybody promises it quicker it will be dubious. This is of course plus 1-5 above and more complex projects will take longer.

NB. Be wary of independent engineers or technicians who offer to handle the whole package / range of professional services including planning. The quality and pass rate may very well be as poor as 1 in 4, as mentioned above.


6. Detailed Design & Specifications to LABC. requirements, inc. Schedules, etc.

Planning passed, at this point dependent upon the Local Authority Building Control (LABC.) scrutiny, among other, it is sometimes also necessary to involve other professionals such as a: -
• Structural Engineer.
• Qualified SAP / Energy Assessor.
(2010 Building Regs energy efficiency became 25% more efficient than 2006. this will increase by 44% in 2013)
• Construction Design Management (CDM) Administrators, dependent upon the size & complexity of project.
• Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) Consultants / HVAC Engineers.

A Schedule of Works may also be required. Other Schedules may include Windows, Doors, Lintels, Drawings, etc.
An Engineer is very often needed and costs vary widely, mostly upon complexity and involvement.
We will discuss the options with you.

Warning! Never let a builder go ahead on just a Building Notice to LABC as this may simply be asking for trouble and unexpected increased costs, etc.


7. Overseeing the project to completion

NB. LAP. LABC. and associated issues are mostly requirements by law, and it would be ill advised to circumvent these standards which after all only represent common sense and integrity for all concerned.

With small works a Schedules of Works, M&E, & CDM are often not needed, however Structural Engineers produce essential calculation sheets, drawings and specifications of critical aspects of the project, and these qualified engineer elements are required by Local Authorities.

We work with freelance Project Managers on a very flexible basis, and cover most situations where project management is required. We will discuss these options with you, however regardless of this; we support the project weather dealing with project manager, builder, or client, with comprehensive drawings and specifications.