Do you need an Architect for Planning Permission Drawings?

Many people ask if you need an RIBA or ARB registered Architect to draw plans for planning permission.

The answer is ? It depends’. And I say this for a couple of reasons.

What are your project requirements?:

  • Do you have a basic idea of the work you want to undertake?
  • Do you have a set budget?
  • Does your project include any of the following: Loft conversion, Front, Rear or Side extension, garage conversion etc?
  • Are you looking for a standard extension/conversion?
  • Are you looking for a standard construction and build?

If you answer yes to most of the above, then it isn’t necessary to appoint an approved architect. You could save a lot of money by appointing a local designer.

There are various types of designers one can appoint that do not need to be ARB registered like an approved architect. These include: Architectural designers, Architectural technicians, Building Surveyors, Architectural Technologists & CAD Draughtsmen. The most important thing is to find someone who has local knowledge and experience, and can show you completed projects that are similar to yours. There are extremely competent designers who have greater design and technical knowledge and with better planning experience compared to some Architects.

When do you need to hire an architect?:

  • Are you looking for design input?
  • Are there several complex elements to the project?
  • Are you looking for an innovative design?
  • Does your budget allow you to pay for architectural services?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above, then I would say yes, it may be worth exploring the option of appointing a qualified architect.

An architect can advise how to best utilise your space, however this of course comes at a cost. Great ideas include extensions, such as glass boxes, large corner openings, concealed beams. Unfortunately when it comes to the detailing and construction of the building an architect’s expertise is often lacking. You will occasionally hear builders complaining about plans they received from an approved architect, which included many construction issues. Whilst this is no way a reflection of all UK architects, you are advised to get a copy of their building regulations drawings to pass to your builders for their comments.

Other relevant information:

You should also consider if there are any restrictions to your property. These can include:

  • Removal of permitted development rights
  • Property within conservation area, or green belt
  • Property is listed.

Then you can find a designer with the necessary experience.

What is officially required for planning permission drawings?

  • Some firms provide great 3D visuals and rendered images – you can also submit hand drawn sketches
  • The planners are not concerned with how pretty the drawings are
  • The most important factor is how the proposal relates to the local planning legislation
  • What is the impact the proposal has on the street and how will it affect your neighbours.

The planning permission drawings must include:

  • Site & Location Plan
  • Existing Plans and Elevations
  • Proposed Plans and Elevations.

You need to outline what your project brief is, how complex you consider the design, and how much input you really require in the project. Then you can decide on the best professional to appoint.