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What do planning consultants do?

by | Nov 20, 2022

Home $ Property Documents $ What is Property planning? $ What do planning consultants do?

Introduction

Whenever you start a new development in a property, a planning consultant is necessary. This is because they help a building gain planning permission. There is no point in designing a property if it isn’t even going to be approved for planning permission in the end so investing in a planning consultant upfront is more often than not a good idea.

What exactly does a planning consultant do?

A planning consultant is responsible for visiting a property when there are plans to redevelop a property or implement developments after a wayleave agreement. They will combine their knowledge of local council rules, environmental considerations and design to provide advice for the developer owner of the land who is wishing to carry out the works.

A planning consultant planning how they will develop a property

Without them, a landlord may develop a property that isn’t in line with government regulations and they may struggle with approving their property with the local council too.

What are the reasons for using a planning consultant?

A planning consultant can help out with a range of issues including working with the council to submit planning applications and appeal any planning rejections. This is perhaps their most important role because it is a job someone with good knowledge of the planning legislation of the local area must do. Without them, the final design of a property may appear restricted.

As well as this, there is the need to conduct examinations on-site as the development continues. A planning consultant will visit the site to make sure the development is moving forward in line with the regulations of the area as well as conduct some of these examinations themself. In this sense, they will also need to have some knowledge similar to a surveyor.

What’s the difference between a planning consultant and an architect?

An architect has to be qualified in terms of design, knowing all of the industry terms that are part of the development of a building. They also have to be the primary designers in the building of a new property, producing orthographic drawings for contractors. For example, deciding on the aesthetic of a property and the overall theme that the building will represent.

Finally, architects are the ones who will get creative with maximising the spatial elements of a property and a qualified architect is absolutely necessary to move a property forward in its development.

Having said this, the architect will find benefit in working alongside the planning consultant because they will be able to be advised on how the design should fit within regulation and whether the space they are designing is suitable for the users of a property.

Ultimately, an architect is necessary by law to approve the documents for any property development but a planning consultant isn’t. Having said this, gaining knowledge of the local area to assist in a building’s design is still beneficial so a planning consultant will often be hired at least at the final stages of design.

Are planning consultants worth the money?

Gaining the expertise of a planning consultant is worth it, especially if you aren’t sure about the legislation surrounding the local area in the first place and you want to confidently invest resources into the development of a building knowing it will actually be able to be built due to it gaining planning permission from a local authority.

At what time should you use a planning consultant?

You should use a planning consultant before you undergo any major work on the property and, most importantly, before you apply for planning permission. This will prevent you from having ongoing disputes with a local authority around the rights to develop the site in question.

A developer waiting for the right time to hire a planning consultant

How to hire a planning consultant

First of all, it is vital you make sure that the planning consultant you are hiring is a member of the registered body that ensures a planning consultant is competent by making sure they are a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Once you have found one, it would be a good idea to find any reviews from them on a website where members of the public can enter information such as Checkatrade or Google My Business if they are a company.

It would be easy to find a planning consultant by clicking here which will take you to a search portal by Checkatrade so you can search for a professional that lives near your property.

How much does a planning consultant cost?

The amount a planning consultant will cost is dependent on the number of hours you expect them to work, the size and scope of the development you want them to work on, whether you want them to consult part-time or work full time and also the personal rate a consultant will charge based on their experience.

Often, a planning consultant may operate independently outside of a company as a sole trader or charging to a business in their name. As a result, there is more freedom to charge a price they want and given developers only want the best of the best because the job is so important. Planning consultants have become quite expensive.

What will a planning consultant charge?

It is common for a planning consultant to charge around £120 – £350 depending on the experience level of the individual. Prices also will typically be higher in London whereas outside of the capital prices is more conservative.

What are the fees for strategic planning?

Typically, it would require a lot more time to do strategic planning for an entire development. Therefore, a planning consultant may charge £10,000 to up to £20,000 for the works that must be done on a property in terms of strategy.

This will typically mean managing other people who are involved in the planning of the property too. So managing environmental consultants who do things like test the capability of the soil to have buildings and foundations built into it, managing architects to work within these requirements and also delegating work to other specialists to conduct checks on site.

This is why they will change a bit more for a project like this because of the responsibility of the role, managing multiple people and implementing their knowledge to gain planning permission which is the final step that the developer requires. 

In a strategic plan, the work of the planning consultant will be done when the planning permission is approved and the works on the development can move forward. Although it is common for the consultant to step in here and there with advice or to oversee the development even after this stage.

Typically, these works will take a few months and it may be the case that the consultant has other work they are managing at the same time too. 

What are the fees for creating a business plan?

Planning consultants can also help implement a business plan for the site. This is where they take the knowledge of the site and set up how they can gain the best return on investment out of the land available.

This wouldn’t take very long so it would be common for a planning consultant to charge per hour.

What is the cost of a planning application?

The answer to how much a planning permission application costs will vary depending on if the building has any exemptions if there are any fees for specific application types that apply to the property and if there are also new rules for sites that are mining and landfill sites.

For more details on how these fees work and a full breakdown from the government click here to visit their website on planning applications.

A planning consultant being hired by a developer

How much does the submission of a planning application cost?

Again, the exact fee you will pay is completely dependent on the type of planning application that is necessary for the property and you can read here for a government guide. 

To give a rough idea, on the lowest end, there is a fee of £96 for things like the demolition of buildings or the change of material use and on the highest end of the scale, there is a maximum fee of £300,000 for properties with over 50 dwelling houses.

As you can see, fees vary greatly, but a planning consultant will do a good job at reducing these fees so a developer pays the least amount possible and the number of times they have to apply for planning permission is minimised.

In conclusion

When looking at things holistically, planning permission is a lot easier to gain approval for if you use a planning consultant. In addition, sticking to planning consultants that are qualified on the topic and have a wealth of experience can ensure you maximise the profit of development as well as reduce planning permission fees.

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