Good luck with it! - we had the local preservation society up in arms about using cedar shingles in a part of the design in the back garden that no one would see apart from us and our neighbours either side...
Well I realise that I'm tempting fate here but my architect and I managed to finally get through to the planning officer last week.
He likes the scheme.
He sees no reason for it not to go ahead.
The decision will be made by him not the planning committee.
Non of our neighbours are objecting.
He was wondering seeing as he was supposed to make the decision ~ 4 months ago if we could possibly agree to extend that deadline until now + 2 weeks thankyouplease.
It looks like all systems are go giving us a decent amount of time to get building regs approval and find a supplier for the gluelam frame SIPS and other structural elements. I was hoping to start this summer but have been told, in no uncertain terms, by Mrs Bobbo that that would be too soon as we want to preserve most of the front garden as much as possible so next spring it is. On the plus side hopefully the cost of ply etc will have come down by then.
That sounds positive at least. Better delaying the project than having to go back to the drawing board with a different plan.
Did you get an Approval?
I've not been updating this thread because:
Things have moved at a glacial pace due to the world's most ineffective local government official (big call I know) handling or planning application. At one point even my architect suggested he may be old school and be looking for a brown paper envelope to progress the application. Even after my post 7 months ago it took forever to get the decision but it was finally passed!
I've not been on the forum much.
So as mentioned above the planning decision finally came and it was in our favour. As my wife and myself have been busy with family/work etc. We decided to wait a while before started building regs approval.
We started this last week and selected a stuc eng. that our architect knows and recommends and this afternoon I started to dig test pits.
Ah excellent! Congrats. We were in a similar position, took us nigh on a year to get permission, getting rid of our architect in the process. We had to get 2x bat 🦇 surveys as well so one of the conditions was installing a bat box. Looking forward to future updates 👍🏼
It's a bit strange for me to see that you have to go through the process twice for planning and then building permission.
Over here in Denmark they are handled in one.
Don't mention the b word!
It terrifies me as we are near woodland and it's not unusual to see the winged rodents flying around at dusk.
It isn't the most logical way to do things I agree.
To make matters worse once planning has been approved it is valid for three years from the date of the decision, once building regs have been approved it is valid for 3 years from the date of application. I think that this is because they are assuming that you will apply immediately after gaining planning permission but who knows how local government bureaucracy works in this country.
I wonder if it is possible to spend so long arguing the toss about building regs approval that it lapses before it's approved?
If you use an approved inspector (ie private b regs firm) it will generally be a less painful process. Slightly more expensive but well worth it.
Ok so trial pits are dug and the struc. eng. Is arriving at 8:00 tomorrow morning.
They’re a funny bunch structural engineers
Well the structural engineer has been and gone and its all good news! Foundations are solid built onto a very solid base of hard packed gravel. He said that if he was being picky he'd like to see a bit more concrete and a bit less brick but that the building will have no problem whatsoever supporting another story so it appears that after 2 years of naval gazing and having our time wasted by inept local government officials all systems are go.
Once we have the calculations back from the structural engineer the next step will be to get in touch with SIPS manufacturers and begin the dialogue between them, their structural engineers and our architiect and our structural engineers so that I can (finally) start putting together something like firm costs!
Shits getting real!
Tell me about it!
So after starting this thread full of excitement and more than a little trepidation, I have been pretty quiet of late.
Recently I have been starting the process of getting the building regs approval off the ground and have come up against a problem, our architects. From the very start of this process, we have made it clear that we want to do as much as possible of the construction using timber. I am a chippy and the more work I can do myself, the more money that we can save on the labour bill, It's not a hard concept to grasp. We've just received the first draught of the building regs drawings and I'm really not happy at all. The last time I spoke with the architect, we discussed at length what my wife and I wanted, which was constructing the ground floor extension as cavity wall faced with brick and the first floor was to be constructed entirely using timber. The drawings that we have received are for all the new construction to be rendered fucking thermolite block.
I've tried calling the architect but he's not picking up his phone.
I shouldn't have to fight to make my voice heard at this stage of the game.
As I see it I now have 2 choices:
Can you request the drawings in CAD format so that if you change architect you can port them across saving you the agg of reproducing everything?
I might be able to help if you get in CAD format - I'm a architectural technician
I can request the CAD files, but don't like my chances of getting them. In my experience, architects are touchy about such things and view the CAD drawings as their intellectual property for a host of commercial and liability related issues.
I believe that if we had stated from the outset that we wanted the drawings we could have put this in the contract but it may be a little late now.
EDIT - Of course I could be wrong about this as I have never been involved at this stage of the building process before.
Is architect a one-man band or part of a big-co, or somewhere in between?
If you feel like you aren't being listened to, both in general and on the specifics, can you go above and raise an issue / complaint?
As far as I understand it they are yours (you have paid for them) - they may insist you just get the models and remove drawing sheets, etc. Its quite common to have a scheme designed by 'concept' architect and then it passed over to another architects to complete the working design and get it built.
However I only work on commercial/healthcare projects for a large firm (BDP) so not sure how this translate to smaller architects.
Would be easier/better if you could get the original architect to amend his drawings though
Architects retain copyright but once drawings are paid for / released you have a license to use them for the purposes intended i.e to build the scheme - and this can be with a new architect once planning is approved. Stage 4 drawings add so much detail that usually the planning (stage 3) drawings are effectively only a guide anyway.
But assuming you can restore communication it's might be more efficient/cheaper to get the in-progress stage 4 work revised rather than the hassle of terminating the appointment. I can't see why they wouldn't - especially if they have potential of additional fee payments at stake. There must be some explantation for why the drawings don't show what you discussed.
Be blunt, tell them you are really disappointed and explain that you believed it was very clear the plan.
If the reply isn’t forthcoming, apologetic and backed up with a solid we will do X by X date, sack em off.
As a junior member of staff in an architect's office, my view is that it was probably completely understood by you and the lead architect and then massively miscommunicated to the person who does the actual drawings.
I'd have a stern word and explain that you expect the drawings rectified within the original fee and that you aren't willing to pay extra considering that you had a clear agreement (in writing, I hope) that the upper storeys were to be timber. However, I agree with Sheppz that a competent architect will have a reason for any changes and should have communicated that to you already. Perhaps they are concerned about fire? Are they not covered for this specific construction method under their liability insurance? Are they just a bit shit?
I'm an Architect.. first thing is to get in contact with him and see what he says.. could be just a genuine mistake, they should put right at their own time & cost..
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