Self Build (SB) Home: Project Stages
Phase 1: Feasibility Study and Obtain Pre - Application Advice
If you are happy to proceed to instruct us, the next stage will be for CAAD Ltd to obtain an Ordance Survey (OS) map in .DWG format (which is compatible with our software). This is so we can make basic site checks such as overall site size, access, orientation, existing structures, existing use class, etc. This map will be obtained through UK Planning Maps (which are Planning Application Compliant) and reproduced using our company OS Licence Number.
We can then arrange to undertake a dimensional survey. Two members of our team will undertake a site visit to measure the site, which will enable us to produce scaled drawings. The survey can be booked in for a day of your choosing, at least 1 hour should be allowed for measurement checks on site.
Alternatively, for a reduced fee, we can complete the Feasibility Study using the OS map information only.
Once we have an accurate 'Existing Site Plan' we will be able to undertake a Phase 1 Scheme Design. We will discuss the proposals in more detail with you, prepare sketches and draft drawings. We will also make project feasibility checks, which will include estimate construction costs and an analysis of any potential Planning constraints. Planning constraints consist of checks such as Flood Risk, Contamination, Ecology, Policy Reviews, Heritage Impact and Drainage (to name a few). If a constraint is identified, a specialist report may need to be commissioned from a third party company, but we will re-visit this at a later stage.
Depending on the outcome of the feasibility study from 1c above, we may be able to produce a bespoke design for your proposed self build home. We only recommend undertaking this if there is a high chance of obtaining a positive Pre-Application Response. For example, if your site if located within a Settlement Area with very few Planning constraints.
The more information you can give the Local Planning Authority (LPA) the more thorough their response can be. We will write a Planning Statement which is a written summary of the proposal. This will include items to meet the LPA's policies, such as site size, house size, car and cycle parking provision, refuse and recycling facilities, neighbouring impacts, design and appearance of the house and sustainability approach. If any Planning constraints are identified in stage 1c, the Statement will also include the relevant details and an initial mitigation proposal for the potential constraint.
Once you have signed off on the drawings and Planning Statement, we can proceed to submit the Pre-Application Enquiry (Pre-App) to the LPA. We will be your 'Agent' for the Pre-App, which means we will prepare the forms on your behalf, submit and manage the application. You (or a person of your choosing) will be the Applicant. You do not have to own the land at this stage and the Pre-App process is discretionary. Once the Pre-App is submitted, we will instruct you on how to make the relevant fee, which will need to be paid directly to the council - not to us.
Every LPA has a different turn around time for a Pre-App. It does not normally take more than four weeks to receive their response, but it can be longer if the LPA is particularly busy. Once we receive a response, we will undertake a Pre-App Analysis so we can advise you of the next steps in as much detail as possible.
Phase 2: Design and Planning Application
If the Pre-App Response is positive, we can now proceed to design the house/site layout. We will discuss your ideas/requirements and draw a first design, we can then go back and forth with you several times until you're happy to finalise the design.
When the design of the extension is finalised, we can proceed to prepare the drawings and reports for a Planning Application. Whilst preparing the Planning Drawings we will ensure that the drawings comply with the LPA's design policies. The LPA will also require specific information to be shown on the drawings, such as explanatory annotation, dimensions, materials, and any other site specific details. For example, if you're building near a protected tree, we will need to show foundation details and how the tree will be protected during construction.
Every LPA is slightly different with their requirements for reports, and it often can be site specific. At minimum, a Design and Access Statement will be required to be submitted. This is a written explanation of the drawings, and explains how the design meets the LPA's policies. Other reports may be required on a site specific basis, for example, if you are within a Flood Zone then a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) will be required. The LPA should list the reports they want submitted within the Pre-App Response.
Once the drawings and reports are finalised, the Planning Application can be submitted. We will be your 'Agent' for the Application, which means we will prepare the forms on your behalf, submit and manage the application. You (or a person of your choosing) will be the Applicant. You do not have to own the land to be the Applicant, but we will need to serve a 'Notice 1' on the official owner. The drawings will be publicly available to view online, so we recommend you tell your neighbours that a Planning Application is being submitted. Once the Application is submitted, we will instruct you on how to make the relevant fee, which will need to be paid directly to the Planning Portal - not to us.
If the Application runs smoothly, then it will be decided by a Planning Case Officer. If the Application is controversial or if there is a lot of objection to the house, then the Application may be decided by the Planning Committee. This means the Application is decided by the Councillor's in the Council Chambers. If this is the case, we will be told around six weeks in to the Application, and we can deputise on your behalf (you are also welcome to speak in support).
Once a Planning decision has been issued, we will first need to check the details before proceeding to the next phase.
Planning Refusal: This is unlikely if we have already received a positive Pre-App Response. However, in the unlikely situation of receiving a Planning Refusal we will go through the details of why the Application was Refused. We can then amend these parts and re-submit to the LPA. As long as the Application is re-submitted within one year, the council will not charge another fee, this is called the 'free go'.
Planning Approval: The LPA's often issue a Planning Approval, but with conditions. We will try and pre-empt these and submit as much information as possible up front. However, this is not always possible. For example, we may have to submit physical samples of the materials you want to use to construct the house. This is called 'Discharge of Conditions' Application and another form will need to be submitted to the LPA. This often has to be done BEFORE construction work is allowed to start on site. Sometimes the LPA is more lenient and will require this to be done before occupation of the house. This will vary from site to site.
Once all conditions have been cleared, we can proceed to Phase 3!
Phase 3: Detailed Design and Construction Drawings
Now that Planning Permission has been obtained, we can prepare the construction drawings and help you choose a builder. We have a long list of builders we can recommend to you if you do not know anyone in the local area. To begin with, we will complete a 'draft' set of construction drawings. This will include all the details that your builder will need to price the works, as well as the relevant information for the Building Inspector. The Building Inspector will check that the structure complies with all the current Building Regulations.
The Building Regulations have been de-regulated, which means you do not have to use the Local Authority for Building Inspections anymore (unless you choose to). We will send the draft construction drawings out to three Building Inspectors for their quotations. Once received, we/you can make a decision as to who you would like to proceed with. Once the Building Inspector has been instructed, they will undertake a 'Plan Check' where they check our construction drawings. If they require any further information - they will ask us for it. If they are happy with the drawings we have submitted, they will issue a 'Plan Approval'. At this stage, these will become the finalised construction drawings.
Please note: If you choose to use a private Building Inspector instead of the Local Authority, then you must ensure the Application is submitted 5 working days before construction works begin on site. We usually take care of this on your behalf, but it is your responsibility to let us know when construction works will begin on site. If construction works have been started without an Application, the Application can then only be submitted to the Local Authority.
You can now proceed with your builders to construct the house! We aren't usually involved throughout the construction phase, so we would love you to keep us updated with progress/completion photographs.