Planners, consultants, politicians, stakeholders and public all inadvertently conspire to show Britain’s planning system as ‘Unfit for Purpose’.
Playing the Rules
To be fair, successive governments have made attempts to enforce consistency upon the process by means of national Planning Policy. Implementation of this is generally via adoption in Local Policies. Leading officers try their best to get Planning Committee members, applicants and objectors to understand and follow these ‘rules’. But when up against on the one hand wily planning consultants who know how to bend these in playing the ‘Planning Game’, and politically motivated Councillors on the other, they sometimes struggle to ensure that proposals are assessed fairly and equitably. Likewise most of the other ‘actors’ readily default to their own narrow interests with little or no understanding of the bigger picture.
No matter how professional and experienced they may be, regardless of the people they ‘know’, and almost irrespective of the size of the project, architects and house builders are not immune to the vagaries of our Planning system. Even when senior officers try their best to lead committee members down a path that complies with Planning law and policy (and get accused of trying to ‘bully’ the members), we have witnessed an increasing tendency for any application that is politically sensitive at local level to be refused. The costs to both sides of the inevitable subsequent appeals are in no one’s interest, but are becoming a fact of life for developers.
So serious can this become that it has been known for a head of planning to openly demand that a planning committee change such a decision because their Council did not have the money to fight an appeal which they would certainly lose. And with major developers regularly spending upwards of £250,000 to give themselves the best chance of winning, what chance do small and modest project promoters stand?
(We know about planning appeals)
Prices Reflect Costs
It is not just the cost of preparing increasingly complex planning application packages that affects the price that developers have to charge for each new home they build. Additional to these are those of specialist reports on ground conditions, contamination, ecological, flood risk and other concerns. Then there are the costs of delay and disruption to programs, related downtime or similar part-time employment, of finance, and of market timing which can be several years in the future. Get the latter wrong and it can make a huge difference to the profitability and ROI of any housing scheme.
Set against this is the mounting pressure for more ‘affordable homes’, and the increasing problems faced by anyone trying to get onto the housing ladder.
(We understand environmental regulations)
Building for Profit
Without the ability to ‘turn a penny’ little if anything would get done in most walks of life. So the canny self builder or house builder will, like as not, want the greatest certainty possible that permissions will be granted and that their costs can be fixed before they embark on this journey. Better still if they can secure the services of an architect or other designer who can offer some, if not all, of these services, and who can point them in the right direction to minimise their building cost, while optimising the value of their development.
(We help you build profitably)
Your Helping Hand
Key to several of the issues raised above is an in-depth understanding of the bureaucracy that surrounds the planning system and how to arrange for this to work with, rather than against, your project. Allied to this is the need for an integrated range of services that can be drawn together at low cost so as not to cripple any project financially before it even gets of the drawing board.
This is also our concern. Whether you are an architect, designer, surveyor, house builder, or self builder, for our business to succeed we need yours to be successful too. This means us doing whatever we can to help you secure development permits – or land with permission - and working with you to optimise value engineered designs that can be built easily, simply and at low cost. Specifying our Fabric First approach to the design of our eco-frames can help secure planning permission more quickly. It also means you can sell faster and at attractive prices to improve your profits.
(We understand Fabric First)
As an integrated FULL SERVICE timber engineering group we offer technical assistance for architects, builders, self-builders, and home improvers. This allows component selection to be simplified, with Green Oak and similar features able to be incorporated with hybrid SIP or conventional timber frame structures confident in the knowledge that these will all fit and work together in any complex building. We actively seek long term partnering arrangements with builders and other construction professionals and are happy to consider joint ventures.
Check out our prices and depth of service by sending your (draft) plans to us for an estimate now to.
We will not be beaten on price.
Whatever you want, wherever you want it, let us help you create the
“Buildings you’ve always dreamed of … “