Elegant Design

256 Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2BY

Tel: 01372 270224 Mobile: 07905 590515

Copyright © Elegant Design 2016

Elegant Design
Passionate about Property

Most Frequently Asked Questions



When is planning permission required?

The government has attempted to make life easier for home owners and reduce the work-load for local council planning departments by producing a comprehensive set of property development descriptions/ limits that no longer require planning permission. If your project does not exceed these limits then work could be progressed after the award of a ‘Permitted Development Certificate’. These rules are described in full on the Government’s Planning Portal, please click on the link to go there.


How long will either option take to complete?

It usually between 6-8 weeks for both, if planning is approved on the first submission. Planning could take considerably longer if any objections are raised and the application has to be considered by one or more committees.


If I don’t need planning permission, can I get started straight away?

You’ll need to have your proposed building design reviewed by the local planning department. They will confirm the need for planning permission should it be required. If not they’ll issue the ‘Permitted Development Certificate’.


Okay but I’m still not sure if I need it for my project?

Please call us and we’ll help clarify the situation.


What is a building specification?

This is basically a detailed description of how the building will be put together which serves several purposes. It informs the council’s building control dept of how the building will comply with all the latest regulations, for example its thermal energy efficiency. The specification describes what materials to use and how the building is to be constructed which helps the contractor prepare an accurate quote for both materials and labour for the project.  


Do I need a building specification?

In all cases “Yes”, this will be reviewed before and during the progression of work to ensure the contractors are observing the regulations relating to building standards. If the building specification is not approved in full before work commences then there is a risk that the building work may have to be re-done, hence the term “building at risk”.

This may be okay if you know the contractor and have used his services previously without problems being raised by the council’s building control inspectors, but we would always advise clients to have their building spec. fully approved before starting work to avoid possible re-work expenses.


There is less risk of a contractor using changes to the specification during the building work as an excuse to raise his prices part way through the project, due to his not having allowed for materials of a certain specification when quoting for the work. If everything practically possible is specified and documented before building starts there is less opportunity for tactical manoeuvring of this type.    


Do I need to engage a top architect?   

That would depend on the type of project you have in mind, ambitious hi-tech designs will benefit from an architectural firm’s input. When considering building or making changes to a traditional residential property, the case is less clear cut.

If you have a generous budget and are looking to make a design statement with your building it may be worth seeking out specialist design skills, otherwise an experienced design and planning consultant should be able produce a design that is pleasing to the eye, that meets both your needs and the technical requirements of the planning and building control departments of your local council.


Links to useful External Property Related Resources >>