We are in turbulent times where construction demand is high, but material and labour are in short supply, this has the effect of driving up the cost of construction work, putting many people off embarking on their project. In this article we discuss why this is shouldn’t be the case and why you should consider planning your project as soon as possible.
Time for design and regulatory hoops.
Many homeowners are surprised when they realise the time it can take to progress a project through the various stages of design and regulations to get a project off the ground. First you need to allow time for a project to start and time to refine your initial designs for planning, this is not a process that should be rushed but you should carefully consider what you require and brief your architect on what is needed for it to be a successful project.
Many of our competitors have a lead in time of over 3 Months just to start a project, fortunately most projects can get started at WBC within 2 weeks of appointment due to our capacity of over 30 members of staff. So we can help get you going as soon as possible.
If your project involves ecological or conservation issues this can also really slow the process up. Mainly due to the fact that particular types of ecological reports can only be carried at certain times of the year. When it comes to sensitive buildings such as listed buildings its advisable to carry out pre application advice, unfortunately this process seems to have been elongated by many of the councils due to Covid. In some instances, as the timing process is not as rigorously enforced as full planning applications pre app advice has taken 9 months for simple planning matters!
Typically, the initial stage of a simple project will take at least 3-4 Months to gain planning approval. Once this is complete further design refinement by your architect and technical plans need to be drawn to get Building Regulations approval. Engineering calculations produced by the structural engineer and further design detailing may then need to be applied to these drawings including refinement of the specification by the architect. Further to this on many projects party wall surveyors may need to consider party wall matters, Water Authority consent or planning conditions may need to be dealt with further lengthening the timescales involved.
These processes could easily add a minimum of 3-4 months to the project. It is only usually once the design is relatively completed that contractors will quote. If you are considering taking on a project it is therefore strongly advised to get the process moving forward with an architecture company as soon possible.
How long do I have to start after I get planning?
Usually, you have three years to start the work once planning is granted, however there is no limit on the time to completion. This means many people take the opportunity to solidify the planning permission by installing footings and then waiting to progress the final stages of the project. One consideration you should make is if your project will involve a party wall award they are only valid for 1 year from signing. This means if you progress this area of the work you may wish to complete any notifiable work within these timescales to avoid additional professional fees.
Increasing technical reports for planning & building regulations
In our 18 years of practice, we have seen the slow but ever enhancing amount of additional professional advisors and reports for both planning and building regulations approvals. This has a direct impact on your feasibility costs. Such an example is the introduction of sustainability reports, energy calculations and heritage statements for conservation areas in Bristol City Council. The sooner you can secure permission to build the less you are likely to have to pay long term to jump through the regulatory hoops.
Time to get contractors
When the market is as busy as it is today contractors are often refusing to quote, due to already having a full schedule. Some contractors will have over a years’ worth of projects lined up ahead of them. The quicker you can entice them to work with you with a set of detailed plans the sooner you will be able to book in for the future and find the right contractor to complete the work for you. It all starts with early planning.
Cost of materials
Whilst the cost of materials is currently very high indications from across the pond is that material price rises that mirrored those in the UK have either slowed or started to return to near pre covid levels. Once the disruption from Covid, Brexit and the Panama crisis eases we are expecting to see a lowering of prices as market forces kick in to stabilise the rocking material costs. By starting the process now, you will be able to better monitor the situation and capitalise on hopefully lower future construction costs.
If you are thinking of carrying out a project in the future feel free to contact Western Building Consultants today to discuss your options and arrange a free no obligation quotation to get your project planned.
I have enjoyed working with Western Building Consultants on a complicated project for about 4 years now. During that time they have without fail given me a high level of customer service, being welcoming, responsive and competent.
As a customer I particularly appreciate that WBC are value for money. They also stick to their quotes and don’t add a lot of extras. Help and advice is always forthcoming generally at no extra charge.
Thank you so much for all your advice today. That was so very helpful, not only with the structure of the property but especially with your comments about the whole set up. I can see that we were within a gnat’s whisker of entering a complete can of worms… Thank you so much for saving us from making a stupid mistake.
Thanks to you both your help in this matter – you were both extremely efficient and accommodating (more than I can say about other companies I contacted).
Your professionalism has been invaluable, thank you.
Thank you for your extremely comprehensive report. It will be of immense help when deciding on the works we would like to carry out on the property. We have decided to take your advice and move into the property and live in it for a while to assess our requirements.
Thank you for your prompt service, could not have asked or expected more. I note your comments and in an ideal world everything would have been 1.
Will not hesitate to recommend you, and will make a point of letting the estate agent know this too.
I just wanted to say thank you very much for your thorough and clear report. It is written in an informative and jargon free way which has made a pretty hefty document ultimately digestible and easy to understand.
Hello Kerry, Many thanks for the report and invoice receipt.
Please pass on my thanks to Paul for the survey. In my working life, I read many stock survey reports – I work with social housing providers to set up their asset management strategies – and this was one of the clearest and most comprehensive I’ve seen.
Dear Paul, Thank you so much for your fast response and the detail in your report is very very good and greatly appreciated. Thank you for your efforts.
Many thanks for your swift and thorough return of this report, we so appreciate you getting this back to us on such a tight turn around this week, and on the first read it seems extremely clear and comprehensive.
Hi Kerry / Paul, Thanks for sending the survey across.
I’d also like to thank you for your excellent service and professionalism. I considered many surveyors before choosing to proceed with you and it’s clear that I made the right choice. I won’t hesitate to recommend you to family, friends and colleagues in the future.
“We have commissioned three building surveys from WBC until we found the house that was right for us and all thanks to you”
I never expected so much detail, the report was really great and there were things I never even considered, even being in the construction trade
The report was brilliant and went into so much detail, having had reports from other surveyors in the past this report was far superior
“Highly recommended. Good customer service over the phone and by email. Very quick: from the initial phone call booking a site visit to me receiving the calculations took only 8 days.”
“We used James Dean …Western Building Consultants as an architect. Very good”
“Good surveyors & structural engineers that we used were www.westernbuildingconsultants.com
We were really happy with them, they came highly recommended by several people”
“Excellent service and help from the initial design/planning stage through to the end of all works”
“I can recommend Western Building Consultants. They are great on structural calculations, advice and technical drawings to whatever extent you want. We used them for advice and calcs for taking out our main load bearing wall downstairs. They were recommended several times over when we started looking.”
“Superb, professional, efficient, friendly, positive”