Do You Need an Architect to Get Planning Permission?

One of the questions we get asked most frequently is: “Do I need an Architect to Get Planning Permission?”

In many ways, submitting a planning application certainly seems easy enough. Applicants simply need to prepare the planning drawings themselves, submit through Planning Portal and wait for their planning consent to be granted. However, submitting and managing a planning application is an incredibly complex process and getting planning permission depends on creating a good design.

The biggest mistake that the vast majority of people make is the incorrect view that they can take shortcuts during the planning application and design process, and try to get planning permission with the help of an inexperienced online architect or a draughtsman.

It never fails to amaze us just how many homeowners, developers and investors fall into the trap of underestimating the value of good architectural design and the benefits of using chartered architects, and everything that goes into it behind the scenes from an expertise and experience perspective.

We’re flabbergasted by the myth that good design ideas just suddenly spring from nowhere; intangible inspiration that strikes without thought or effort and is bestowed upon anyone bold enough to work on a project. It’s a myth that is perpetuated by endless streams of renovation, DIY and property programmes where endless “success stories” tell you all that “anyone can do it”.

do you need an architect to get planning permission

The value of good design and the role of architects

The truth of the matter is that those brilliant design ideas and planning permission strategies have likely come from a chartered architect. An architect with at least 7 years’ worth of training.  An architect with numerous years’ practical experience and an architect who has likely spent countless hours coming up with the perfect proposal from a well-developed and scoped project brief.

Overlooking the use of seasoned, knowledgeable experts in the design and planning process is nothing short of a cardinal sin. Great design often looks easy because a great architect is behind it, yet people constantly feel that they can do it themselves.

That “search for inspiration” will be a long one I’m afraid; long and arduous and more than likely completely fruitless by the end of it. In fact it’ll show just how much you should value the input of an architect into the design and planning application process. Therefore, working with an architect for your planning application is not a cost but an investment.

Maximise your budget & save money, time and effort

So why don’t some homeowners, developers and self-builders consult properly (or at all) with an architect to get planning permission and design their properties?

Well unfortunately architect fees are often seen as a barrier, but viewing good design and successful planning application in this way is actually one of the least cost effective things you can do. You see using a quality architect will save you far more money in the long run; it will far outweigh that initial expenditure.

One such reason to use the services of an architect is that they fully understand the language of design and thus are able to bring proper life to your musings, thoughts and dreams for your project. Architects like to be challenged and we love being taken out of our comfort zone in order to find the perfect resolution and outcome for our clients.

But if you fail to engage the services of a quality architect, it’s akin to you rejecting complex medical treatment in favour of some half-baked, self-help home remedies; it’s just not worth the risk. It’s time to know your own limitations, face up to them and get the help that you need to make your project a success.

A design challenge is like mana from Heaven to an architect, though less so to a developer. That design issue or planning permission architect challenge that’s been driving you mad for weeks, the one where a practical solution continually evades you; the one where your thoughts just never quite translate to reality, that is exactly what quality architect thrive on. Let go of all of that frustration and anger and let us help you out with it!

Maximise light, space and comfort

We find that most people tend to fall down at the design stage by focusing on “things” rather than coherent, consistent principles of design and themes.

When asked, they will often talk about the component parts of a room or project (flooring this, bi-fold doors that) when the important thing is the overall vision or theme. It’s difficult to come up with a coherent vision or theme when presented with a collection of component parts.

But if you do it the other way and finalise the vision first, the component parts then just fall into place effortlessly and precisely as they should. And there is just far more than component parts to good design; the manipulation of space, the use of light, both of these things are absolutely key principles in design, but we find they are so often overlooked by most of the people.

The preparation of a successful planning application and production of a coherent building require training, expertise and experience; good architecture goes way beyond the application of simple features and the materials used. Light, space and sound are equally important tools and these require something more; they are a medium which requires careful and considerate manipulation.

architect to get planning permission

Get planning permission without a hitch

Why planning permission is actually all about good design?

Let us explain…

We continually deal with clients who have come to us for some sort of magical remedy for their hastily put together project designs. Worst of all, they’ve usually been cobbled together in this way so they can rush everything through planning permission.

The sad truth is that 99 times out of 100 we just have to start again; they’ve thrown their time, money and effort down the drain.

Often we hear applicants be extremely critical of planners and the planning application process in general; “too complicated”, “too fussy”, “too pedantic”.

The truth however, lies closer to the fact that most of the people  just do not have the expertise required to navigate the planning process effectively. Planners have obligations to the surrounding area and its inhabitants as well as to the developer themselves, so you can rest assured that their concerns come from a good place.

But the best way to ensure that you sail through the planning permission process without impingement is to engage the services of a quality architect who understands how to develop a building that meets your needs and the needs of the planner. We can help you with this; don’t struggle along and labour at the planning application stage.

So if you are on the fence about hiring an architect to get your planning permission, take the first step and find a local architect near you. Don’t get stuck at the planning permission stage because your designs are poorly thought out and your vision is poorly crafted; it is the biggest of false economies to “save” on the cost of proper designs as you are guaranteed to waste more time and money when you’re stuck in planning hell.