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Building Design


I am not an Architect, I am a chartered surveyor, who acts in the same capacity as an Architect, and has been doing so for in excess of 30 years. The general public believes that only Architects design buildings and building work, but there are many professionals such as Chartered Surveyors who also fulfil this function, and who are trained qualified and experienced in doing it. The word Architect is protected, which is one reason I am not calling myself and Architect.

Building Design

For over 30 years I have been designing buildings, building projects of various types, extensions, alterations, farmhouses, executive type houses, blocks of retirement flats, office blocks, workshops, polo pony stud farms, barn conversions, replacement houses, granny annexes, extensions and alterations to listed buildings, repair and refurbishment of grade 1 listed buildings, brick and stone and timber buildings, and agricultural buildings. I work with the client, so as to arrive at the best possible design for the client, and the site.

I personally prepare all the drawings, from the initial sketch schemes, to the final constructional drawings.

Planning Applications

I carry out initial consultations with the local authority, prepare sketch schemes, detailed drawings, Design and Access statements, various reports and statements, submit Planning Applications, and monitor the application in the planning process.

I have been very successful in obtaining Planning Permission, often where others have failed and given up.

There are Permitted Development Rights that in some cases can be used so that Planning Permission is not necessary. Even if extensions do not fall under Permitted Development Rights, sometimes the design can be modified so that they do.

Very often it is a matter of having the correct attitude, and taking a different approach, to get a successful result.

I have been successful in getting Planning Conditions removed, and obtaining Certificates of Lawful Use, and obtaining Retrospective Planning Permission. I have even been successful in getting Planning Permission for a scrap-yard. Planning Permission is to give permission for a development in the area shown; normally it will also be necessary to obtain Building Regulation Approval before work can be started.

Building Regulation Applications

Following obtaining Planning permission, I prepare necessary drawings and specifications for Building Regulation Applications, and submit them.

I have also been successful in getting Building Regulation Regulisation Certificates, well Building Regulation Approval was not obtained before the building work was undertaken. Building regulations have increased in complexity over the years, and standards have increased substantially, it is not uncommon for untrained people to produce drawings suitable for Planning Applications, but not have sufficient knowledge to prepare them for Building Regulation Applications. Sometimes the drawings that they have produced are given Planning Permission but cannot be upgraded to obtain Building Regulation Approval, and a redesign is necessary.

Even if under the Town and Country Planning Act Planning Permission is not required, Building Regulation Approval is generally required, and detail plans will be required.

Building Specification

When the necessary approvals have been obtained, it is necessary to prepare a specification and schedule of works, for contractors to produce quotations. The drawings and details prepared for planning permission and building regulation approval are not complete enough for a builder to produce a quotation. For instance the drawings would not show the number of light fittings and sockets, or details of the materials and finishes to be used. For some small jobs however sufficient detail can be shown on the drawings so that the specification is not always necessary.

Quotations for Building Work

If required I can obtain competitive quotations from building contractors, using the drawings and specifications that I have prepared.

Inspection of Building Work

Where I have produced the drawings and specifications, I can if the client wishes, inspect the building work during the course of construction; to see whether is carried out correctly.


The general public seems to be unaware, that anyone can become a builder, without any training, experience, knowledge of building construction, or passing any exams or other qualifications. I am often told by purchasers, that they do not need the house they are to buy surveyed, as a builder friend has inspected it and said it was okay.

To be a builder there is a different set of knowledge and skills required than to be a surveyor, which presumably is why I'm not asked to do building work, as I am a surveyor. Because a builder is good at building, does not mean he will be good at surveying, and he takes a great risk to pronounce that a building is OK. When someone thinks that they would like to build a new house or an extension to a house, the first thing they do is to contact a builder. In my opinion the first contact should be with the designer, who can produce a design, get the necessary approvals, and pass the design drawings and specifications onto the builder for him to build the project.

If the builder offers to produce the design, get the approvals, it is not possible to get competitive quotations for the building work. It could also be that the builder is not the best person to design the project, as he will have no training, or passed any exams to show that he is competent, or knowledgeable to design buildings.

I am often called in to look at defects in building, following the inspection by several builders, who have given different opinions as to what is wrong and what needs to be done. Most people do not understand that builders are not trained or qualified in identifying defects, the science of building pathology, or recommending remedial work. They may however be skilful in undertaking the work that is detailed by surveyor, which is why builders are employed to build, and surveyors to survey.

The above is not in any way meant to be a criticism of builders, but is meant to clarify their role in the construction industry.