Producing drawings for Planning Permission

With modern CAD packages available for home computers, it is not very difficult to produce your own drawings for a Planning Application providing care is taken to produce the required scale drawings for a simple extension.

To check whether planning permission is required have a look at the related page and the UK Planning Portal which has guidance on permitted development and interactive houses which sets out the information in a visual form. In the unlikely event that you still cannot decide if planning permission is required, speak to your local Planning Authority.

A Planning Application costs money, so it is worth checking that there is at least a chance of gaining permission. Another way to increase your chances of success is to speak to your neighbours to gauge an opinion as to whether or not they are likely to object to your proposal. It is always far better to take your neighbour's comments into account at an early stage rather than see them emerge at a later date.

In addition to the plans, a form containing a list of questions needs to be completed, as does a Certificate of Ownership. (see examples of questions)

The Plans must be to a recognised metric scale and show the proposed development in enough detail to convey the details of the proposed development. One of the hardest things to remember is to take no detail for granted, the people making the assessment of the plans will not be as familiar with the property as you.

The plans, questionnaire and ownership certificate will be required, three types of plan drawings are required:

  1. The location plan
  2. The Block Plan (sometimes referred to a the site plan)
  3. The floor plans and elevation

Location plan.

see example

This should be based on an up-to-date map at an identified standard metric scale (typically 1:1250 or 1:2500, but wherever possible the plan should be scaled to fit onto A4 or A3 size paper) and detailed enough identify sufficient roads and/or buildings on land adjoining the application site to ensure that the exact location of the application site is clear. The site of the development must be edged or shaded in red and any other adjoining land owned or controlled by you edged or shaded blue. A north point must be shown on the plan. These plans are readily available from the Ordnance Survey via local SITE PLAN agents, just give them the post code and they will produce the required plan - all you will need to do is shade or edge the site.

The UK Planning Portal provides more details and examples.

Block plan.

(the same as the location plan but on a larger scale)

A block plan should be submitted. The legislation requires three copies plus the original (unless submitted electronically). The block plan should be drawn at an identified standard metric scale (1:200 - 1:500). It should accurately show:

  1. The direction of North
  2. The proposed development in relation to the site boundaries and other existing buildings on the site, with written dimensions including those to the boundaries and the following, unless these would NOT influence or be affected by the proposed development:
    1. All the buildings, roads and footpaths on land adjoining the site including access arrangements
    2. All public rights of way crossing or adjoining the site
    3. The position of all trees on the site, and those on adjacent land
    4. The extent and type of any hard surfacing
    5. Boundary treatment including walls or fencing where this is proposed

Again SITE PLAN can be used to help produce the required plans.

The UK Planning Portal provides more details and examples.

Floor plan and elevations.

(See example)

These plans should be at a scale of not less than 1:100. They should indicate clearly what is proposed and how it relates to the existing dwelling.

The elevation drawings should show:

  • What each side of the newly altered building would look like (known as the elevations)
  • Indicate the size and type of windows, doors etc.
  • The external building materials to be used.
  • The extension must be high lighted by colour or shading.

The floor plans should:

  • Identify the existing uses of the rooms in the building, e.g. lounge, kitchen, bedroom etc. and also the intended use of the new room(s).
  • Dimensions (external) are only required for the extension.
  • Where a single storey extension is to be added to a two-storey building, only the floor with the extension need be detailed.
  • The extension must be high lighted by colour or shading.

The materials to be used (roof, elevation, windows and doors) must be described by type and colour, the easiest way is just by 'Roof to be tiles to match existing' or 'Windows to be painted soft wood'.

In certain circumstances, such as an extension on the side of a building, it may be necessary to produce a 'street scene' (i.e. a drawing showing the original property, the extension and the adjoining buildings as viewed from the road) so that the impact of the new extension on the street can be considered.

For some simple extension, a single drawing showing both the existing and the new works may be acceptable, but it is probable easier to produce separate drawings so there is no confusion.

Submitting the application.

The completed forms, plans and fee must be submitted to the appropriate Directorate of Environment Services. They can either be submitted in hard copy or electronically, the Planning Portal enables searches for the local planning authority and provides contact details for electronic submission.

In some cases, it may be helpful to your application to send a supporting letter explaining why the extension is required. But bear in mind that everything you send in support of your application will be public documents.

Always keep a hard copy of your application which you can refer to should there be any queries.

Then sit back and wait !

The application should be acknowledged and you should be given a reference number.

If your application is incomplete or the Planning Authority needs anything clarifying, you will be asked to supply further information.

The Planning Authority will advertise the Planning Application in the local Press and you will be sent a notice to display to the street on the property. Any members of the Public (neighbour or not) has the right to inspect the plans at the Local Authority and make any comment.

Once the application has been accepted and registered, the Local Planning Authority has eight weeks in which to make a decision (this can be extended with your agreement - it is better to extend the time if you are asked to make changes, otherwise you may get a rejection).

The 'Powers that be' make the decision.

Having gathered any comments and assessed the proposal against the relevant local planning policies, the planning officers will formulate a recommendation. The final decision rests with the Planning Committee of the local Council, however their powers are often delegated to the local Planning Authority for simple applications. If any objections to your proposal are received, your application will be considered by the Planning Committee.

Issuing the decision notice.

Following the decision, a formal notification will be issued to you which will indicate whether planning permission has been granted or refused.

If planning permission has been granted, there may be certain conditions that have to be complied with before, during or after the development.

If a planning permission has been refused, you have a right of appeal to the Secretary of State and information is sent with the decision notice to guide you should you wish to take up that option. You can also appeal against any condition which you consider unreasonable although, if you do appeal, an Inspector will look at the principle of the whole development and may decide that it should be refused in its entirety.

Where approval is granted, a copy of the approved plan(s) will be sent to you with the decision notice.

Is Building Regulation approval required ?

Once you have (hopefully) received Planning Permission, you need to consider the requirement for approval under the Building Regulations. If you do some additional plans will be required, these plans need to be in far more detail than those required for basic Planning Permission approval. They define the actual method of construction and must demonstrate that the property will be built in a suitable manner to meet structural integrity, thermal insulation, and ventilation etc.

You may wish to use the services of a professional architect to undertake this level of detail.