Advice and FAQ

Advice and Frequently Asked Questions

Expert Planning Advice?

If you're not sure which service you need or if you need some friendly advice please get in touch. 

We would love to hear about your project, there's no obligation and the advice is free!

Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions regarding planning permission and our services are answered below.

Do I need to have house or extension plans?


You will need plans in order to obtain planning permission and building regulations approval for your proposed building work. Your contractors will also require the detailed building regulations plans, together with structural calculations, to provide you with a detailed quotation. GPO Designs can prepare the required plans for your work.

Should I talk to a GPO Designs before appointing a builder?


Before you can get a definitive price for your proposed works you will need to obtain detailed plans and calculations but you may also want to get some idea of the cost of the works before you proceed. GPO Designs work with a number of builders and we can help you with selecting a builder and also provide you with an estimate of the likely cost of the works. We do recommend talking to builders once you have a set of plans which you have reviewed and which are happy with - this is around the time at which the planning application would be submitted. If you are not sure how to proceed please give us a call for free no obligation advice.

How much does it cost for the plans to be prepared?


GPO Designs provide fixed prices for many types of household extension and loft conversion. Details of our pricing to prepare plans for planning applications and lawful development applications may be found on our "Plans and Planning Applications" page.  Our pricing to prepare the more detailed building regulations plans may be found on our  "Building Regulations Applications" page.  For works that are not listed please contact us for a no obligation quote.

How long will it take for the plans to be prepared for my extension or loft conversion?


Typically it take GPO Designs between 4 and 6 weeks to prepare your plans. We do also offer a fast track 2 week service for urgent jobs. All timescales will be confirmed at the time of your order and are subject to availability. 

Is my house extension covered by "Permitted Development"?


Some types of extension comply with rules that are stated in the "Permitted Development Legislation" (The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015 (as amended)) and as such do not require a planning application. There are various rules that must be followed including limitations on the materials which may be used and the size and positions of extensions that may be permitted.  Whilst many properties have permitted development rights not all of them do and some of the rules can be open to interpretation. GPO Designs can provide an expert opinion as to whether your proposed works would be permitted development however we do always recommend that a "Lawful Development Certificate" is obtained prior to commencing any works on site to avoid finding out the hard way that your proposed works do not comply with the rules and that they must be altered or removed.  GPO Designs prepare applications for lawful development certificates in exactly the same way as we prepare planning applications and with the same documentation and fee. The Council's application fee for lawful development certificates is usually half the planning application fee.

What are "Prior Approval for Larger Home Extension Applications"?


Prior approval applications are part of the "Permitted Development Legislation" and can be used for some types of single storey extension that are between 4 and 8m from the rear wall of detached properties (reducing to 3-6m for semi-detached properties and terraced properties). The application can be very useful for obtaining permission to build an an extension for which planning permission is likely to be refused or which has already been refused - particularly if there are no objections from neighbours. GPO Designs prepare prior approval applications and applications for lawful development certificates in exactly the same way as we prepare planning applications and with the same documentation and fee.

Will my outbuilding be covered under permitted development?


Many outbuildings are covered under permitted development but not all.  If there is any doubt GPO Designs recommend that a "Lawful Development Certificate" is obtained prior to commencement of works. GPO Designs prepare applications for lawful development certificates in exactly the same way as we prepare planning applications and with the same documentation and fee (our fee for outbuildings is lower than for other works as the plans are usually much simpler than for more complex projects).

How long do planning applications take to be determined?


Most planning applications take 8 weeks to be determined, however some Council's frequently take much longer than this.

How can I get further advice?


If you're not sure which service you need or if you need some friendly advice please get in touch. 

We would love to hear about your project, there's no obligation and the advice is free!

Can you help us find a builder?


We work with a large number of local builders and can provide you with contact details for builders which some of our clients have used previously.  We do recommend when selecting a builder that you see examples of their previous work, that you carefully check the terms of contract and pricing and that you make milestone payments once work has progressed to that milestone. 

Can you build over a sewer or manhole?


GPO Designs can provide advice regarding building over or near to sewers or manholes and the circumstances under which these assets need to be relocated. We also can prepare applications to the sewerage companies where these are required.