Architecture - Engineering - Surveying

FAQ's

Your questions answered

If your question is not answered below, please contact us.
I want to have my loft converted / build an extension, where do I begin?

The works may require Planning Permission or they may be a permitted development. Building Regulation approval will certainly be required.

If you are attached to another property(s), or are excavating within 3 metres of another property or structure and below the level of its foundation then the Party Wall etc Act 1996 is likely to apply.

KMASS can assist in advising you what is required and they have the required skills and expertise to guide you through these processes. If you have not already chosen a builder, they can also obtain quotations for the works on your behalf and administer the contract between yourself and the builder.

If you have obtained a quotation from a builder for works prior to the preparation of a set of drawings that are suitable for Building Regulation submission you should be aware that the quotation is unlikely to reflect the final cost of the works because the builder will have estimated foundation depths, steel work requirements etc. and costs are likely to change when the actual detailed requirements are set out.

Similarly, without a detailed set of Building regulation drawings and calculations it is usually not possible to compare builders prices because they will have each estimated different requirements in the absence of a definitive design.

What is the difference between planning permission and building control?

Planning Permission signifies that the works comply with the Town & Country Planning Acts which is a requirement for all but the most modest of building works. Some works do not require planning permission, if they fall within the Permitted Development Order.

Building Control refers to Building Regulation approval and this is a separate set of legislation which deals with health & safety issues, building standards and energy efficiency. Almost all building works require building regulation approval but there are, as with most things, some exceptions to that rule.

KMASS can assist in advising you what is required and they have the required skills and expertise to guide you through these processes.

Do I need planning permission?

That will depend upon many factors including:

  • What works you are proposing
  • Whether the property is a multiple occupancy dwelling
  •  Whether the Permitted Development order applies
  •  Whether your proposals involve a change of use

If the property is in a Conservation area, has had permitted development rights removed, or the property is listed, further statutory approvals may be required prior to any works starting.

KMASS can assist in advising you what is required and they have the required skills and expertise to guide you through these processes and in more complex cases we can advise details of, and involve, Planning Consultants and other experts with whom we regularly engage and who may be required to assist as necessary.

How long does the planning process take?

Once an application is validated by the local planning authority it is usually determined with an 8 week period.

If a domestic application is refused it can appealed to the Secretary of State within statutory time limits (that are advised in the refusal notice).

Many Planning Approvals contain “Conditions” that must be discharged before works can commence.

Generally work must start within 3 years of obtaining approval.

I have planning permission for my project. Can you prepare detailed drawings and structural calculations for a Building Regulations application?

Yes. KMASS can assist in advising you what is required and they have the required skills and expertise to guide you through these processes.

My Architect is preparing an application for submission to Building Control, can you design the structural elements?

Yes. KMASS can assist in advising you what is required and they have the required skills and expertise to guide you through these processes and to work with your Architect to ensure that a practical and an economic design is achieved.

What type of survey do I need?

KMASS offer three types of Survey:

One of these survey types will usually fulfil your requirements.

The costs of each type of survey reflect the time taken in their preparation and the scope of each can be found by clicking on the links above.

What is the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and does it apply to me?

The link FPWS Explanatory Leaflet should answer your question but if not please call us to discuss.

I have received a Party Wall notice from my neighbour. What are my options to respond?

If you are satisfied with the proposals and so wish, you may consent in writing.

If you are not satisfied with the proposals or so wish, you may dissent to the proposals. Once you have dissented, EITHER both parties will each appoint a Party Wall Surveyor OR both parties will concur in the appointment of an Agreed Surveyor.

There are distinct differences in the procedures and many experts do not recommend that the agreed surveyor route be followed, although for very straightforward matters it may serve to reduce costs to the Building Owner but, unlike the two Surveyor route, there is no right of recourse to a Third Surveyor and this can make disputed matters expensive to resolve through the Courts whilst offering no benefit to an adjoining owner.

If having received a notice, you do not respond to it in writing within 14 days, you will be “deemed” to have dissented.

If following 10 days after a request from the Building Owner (or their appointed Surveyor acting on their behalf) you have not appointed a Surveyor then the other party will be at liberty to appoint a Surveyor on your behalf and in order that the party wall matter may progress to a conclusion.

Ken Mchale & Associates Limited.
Trading as KMASS.

Registered Office Hadley, The Mall, Park Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL2 2HT

London Office Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX

Company No. 3952568
VAT 755865679
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