Faqs – Full List

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What is the difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulation approval?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  Planning Permission is generally related to the appearance of the proposed development and the effect that the proposal might have on neighbouring properties. Each Authority has usually adopted its own Development Plan which lays down certain criteria of what is acceptable development within the Borough. This can vary, not only between different areas, but also within its own boundaries.  Not all eventualities are covered by the Development Plan and can therefore be open to interpretation by the Planning Officer, senior Officers, and if the proposal goes before the Planning Committee can also be overruled by local Councillors.  Planning can therefore be a complex issue and we would therefore suggest you take advice on your proposals but bear in mind that there are instances that even if your neighbour has had a proposal approved, that is no guarantee that your proposal will be approved as the Development Plan could have changed, the neighbours could have had Permitted Development rights that you may not have or even just a different interpretation by another Officer.  Advice can therefore be given in broad terms but is always subject to final approval by way of Planning Permission being granted.

Building Regulation approval is related to the safety, adequacy and environmental impact of the proposal including provisions for heat loss.  Building Regulations have grown immensely over the years to such an extent that some of the regulations are contradictory and therefore open to interpretation.  Again, it is only when Building Regulations approval is granted (along with the Planning Permission) that it is advisable to start work.  Both Planning and Building Regulation considerations should be given for any building work.  Please contact ConstructAid on 01708-228684 for further advice or your nearest Planning or Building Control Department. Alternatively you can email any questions via our Contact Us page

What are your fees likely to be?

Answer: Fees of ConstructAid depend upon the complexity of the job and quotations are available on request but can start from as low as £275.00. Price includes at least two visits, for the initial consultation and another to obtain your approval to the plans prior to submission to the Local Authority. Our fees will, in most cases, be quoted on our initial visit, but complex proposals may be on an individual cost basis. We will then provide a maximum likely cost of our fees if applicable to you. Our fees include minor amendments required by the Planning Department, but should major alterations be required by Planning, we would have to charge an additional fee for the work involved. ConstructAid would normally also include within our fee any amendments required by Building Control. Copies of the plan are provided for your builder to provide an estimate and on approval of the plans, a further plan for the builder/developer to work from. Additional plan copies are available, but we may make an additional copying charge. Please call ConstructAid on 01708-228684 for further advice on ConstructAid’s fees, or Email ConstructAid via the Contact Us page

What Council (or other) fees will I need to pay?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  In most cases, a Building Regulation fee is payable. The exact Building Regulation fee varies as each Authority set their own Building Regulation fees. Further advice can be obtained from ConstructAid. On submission of the plans to the local authority, a Building Regulation initial fee is payable, called the “plan fee”. On commencement of the work, the Council will then invoice you directly for what is called the “inspection fee”, which is usually three times the amount of the original plan fee, except some minor works where the whole fee is payable on submission of the plans. In the case of Planning, if full Planning Permission is required, the Planning fee charged is currently £172 and a Lawful Development Certificate fee is £86 However, higher fees are charged for new builds and commercial developments, details are available on request.

ConstructAid can usually prepare the structural calculations and fees quoted usually include these. In rare cases, should complex structural calculations be required, e.g. specialist foundation design, we may need to instruct a Structural Engineer. In such cases, you would be responsible for their fee. We would advise if this applies to you and discuss your options.

For larger developments, the Council may occasionally ask for additional drawings, i.e. street scene view. We would have to make an additional charge for such drawings, details on request.

New builds may also require additional drawings of plans for such matters as site layout plans and SAP Rating calculations. These can be provided by ConstructAid – telephone 01708-228684 or Email us via our Contact Us page. If applicable, our fees can be quoted for these on an individual basis.

Water Authority fees for my extension?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  The law regarding Private Sewers changed on 1st October 2011. Since that date, private sewers and private lateral drains outside the boundary of a property became adopted and within the ownership of the six Water Companies as did any shared drains within private property.  It is usual for lengths of private sewer to be connected from the property to the mains.  When these lengths of private sewer connect only the property to the mains, the expense of repair of this drain or sewer will fall entirely on the owner until it leaves the boundary of the property where it will become a public sewer/drain.  If there is a length of private sewer or drain used jointly with neighbouring properties, the sewer or drain will become a public sewer or drain as soon as it leaves the boundary of the first property connected to it.  Under the previous system, many property owners had legal obligations (usually jointly with adjoining owners) for the upkeep of sewers and pipework beyond their property boundaries up to the connection with the main public sewer. Since the transfer of ownership on 1st October 2011, the responsibility for maintenance and repair of these drains and sewers is now on the Water Companies.  The sewers/drains which were previously in private ownership have not been mapped as it was deemed to be too costly to implement. There are now many more public sewers/drains within a property boundary and the Water Authority will require a Build Over Agreement and compliance with building regulations if any extension is to be built within three metres of a public sewer.

ConstructAid can advise on your particular case. We have also included an article on our Blog Section (follow link) of the website with links to Thames Water and Anglian Water to their guidance notes on Build Over Agreements and a guide to their fees.  Please Contact Us (follow link) if you wish to discuss these issues further.

Party Wall Act – does it apply to me?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  The Party Wall Act 1996 applies throughout England and Wales and we cannot stress how important it is for you to familiarise yourself with the requirements of the Act.

The Act provides a framework for preventing disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. Anyone intending to carry out notifiable work in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions within set time limits and prior to starting work.  It is a good idea to speak to any neighbours affected by the work in order to explain the situation and to hopefully avoid any upsets or misunderstandings at a later date. ConstructAid find a better outcome is possible in cases where an initial informal approach has been made with the affected neighbours.

The Government has ceased providing a copy of the Party Wall Act 1996 booklet. Please follow the link on our Link pages and our Blog pages to download a copy of the Party Wall Act booklet.  Due to the lengthy nature of the Booklet, should you require a copy of this to be sent to you, ConstructAid can provide this for a fee to cover copying, postage and packaging.

How Long is the process likely to take?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  Once you have instructed ConstructAid to draw the plans, we aim to complete the drawings within 2-3 weeks, dependent on the complexity of the work involved and current work levels.  We will advise you of a more accurate timetable during our visit.  On submission of the plans, if Planning Permission is required, there is a statutory 8 week period for a decision to be reached. Building Regulations approval much depends on the complexity of the proosal and also varies dependent on the Local Authority. Delays can occur, for example, if Structural Calculations have to be approved by the Authority’s Structural Engineers. Call ConstructAid on 01708 228684 for further advice or you can email us on our Contact Page

What areas do ConstructAid work in?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  ConstructAid are based in Upminster in the London Borough of Havering and our work is mostly based on a 25 mile radius of this area. Other areas have been covered, by arrangement – contact ConstructAid on 01708 228684 or email us from our Contact Us page (opens in new link) for further advice.

Where can I find advice on new products?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  You will hopefully find our Blog Pages (opens in new link) a useful resource tool. Here you will find general advice on new products, environmentally sustainable products and possible developments in planning legislation and other resource material.  Do let us have any comments if you find any particular product or service to be good or bad. We look forward to hearing from you! If you would like to see something in particular featured in our Blog please Contact Us – we would love to hear from you

What do your plans look like?

ConstructAid LinksAnswer:  You will find a few samples of our plans on the Examples pages of our webite. If you would like a PDF example of a particular type of plan, please contact ConstructAid on 01708-228684 and we will be happy to assist. You can also see examples of our plans by visiting the Planning section of the London Borough of Havering website and look at the Planning application or decision search. Just enter ‘ConstructAid‘ as the agent and you will find a number of examples of our previously submitted plans.  We can also bring some examples with us on request prior to any site survey.  If you wish to discuss our plans in general you can also Email us via our Contact Us page

Advertising on this Site – On what basis can this be viewed

All advertising on this site can be viewed by following the Links which will usually open the advertisement in another window.  All advertisers have no connection with ConstructAid and are there purely for the purposes of providing information that may be of interest.  By clicking on the links to these advertisers, you are agreeing to do so on the basis that you should make you own enquiries as to the suitability of any product and as these are external sites to which we have no control, that you do so at your own risk.

Measuring of the Site – is it necessary?

It is most important to bear in mind that the plans are drawn on a small scale for the purposes of applying for Planning Permission/Building Regulation approval.  The Builder/Contractor must take accurate measurements on site before commencement of any work and before any materials are ordered.   Any discrepancies are to be reported to ConstructAid who can provide further advice at that stage.

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