You may be reading this as you are considering (or undertaking) a Building Project which could consist of changing the use or building an extension to an existing building, whether domestic or commercial, or even constructing a new building, which may be a new dwelling house, a new commercial retail unit or multiples of them, a new office space or office block, or a block of flatted dwellings or even a mixture of the aforementioned examples comprising of a single project. Whatever your project description the route to procurement should be efficient and effective and should be the same for any project that involves the design of a building. In order to achieve this there is a recognised system of procedure in the design industry which if followed should minimised risk to the efficiency and effectiveness of the procurement route. The procedure is split into recognised stages of work and I will explain in simple terms the different stages below:

 

Conceptual designPRELIMINARY DESIGN STAGE

This is the starting point for any project. Interested parties such as Designer, client or clients and/or other consultants will meet and discuss the requirements of the client. Having understood what the client requirements are the designer will offer advice and design a solution to meet the client needs. This may be in the form of a conceptual or a more detailed design which will lead to producing preliminary proposals. Typically at this point a site measured survey may have taken place and the proposals, generally in the form of a computer model and drawings or sketches are produced. The clients will be presented with the proposals where they can start to appreciate the design. The clients may put some of their input into the scheme and advice may be sought from consultants such as structural engineers, for advice on structural matters, or quantity surveyors, as to gain an idea of construction costs. The preliminary proposal documents will also helpful in discussions with other interested parties such as Local Planning Authorities or other Statutory Bodies. Once the design has been agreed the project should then be ready to move to the next stage of works taking into account feedback from all interested parties.

 

 

 

Typical Planning Application Document DetailPLANNING APPLICATION STAGE

This stage of works deals with Statutory Obligations you must comply with under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 such as Planning Applications, Listed building consents or conservation area consents amongst others. At the previous stage we would have determined which type of applications are required, if any, and possibly pre application meetings may have been held which have lead to the production of planning application documents so the checking authority, generally The Local planning Authority (LPA), can consider the proposals in order to decide whether approval can be granted. Not all projects require planning permission as some are minor in nature and are allowed using Permitted Development Rights. A useful interactive guide for Permitted Development Rights can be found by clicking here. For peace of mind Certificates of Lawfulness may be applied for for project covered by PD Rights, so that documented certification can be issued to show its lawfulness. A typical planning application will take at least eight weeks to determine by the LPA. Certificate applications may take less. Should the LPA be satisfied the proposals are satifactory they wil issue a Planning Approval notice which may have conditions attached. The project can now be built in accordance with the planning approval documents and move to the next stage of works.

  

 

 

Building regulation documentBUILDING REGULATION APPLICATION STAGE

This stage of works are for the Checking Authority to check that new building works are built in accordance with the current Building Regulations. It is often misunderstood that planning approval is building control approval. The Planning Department and Building Control department of the Local Authority may, and often do, share the same offices but are two seperate entities and should be treated as such. A Building  Regulation Application would normally be submitted at this stage with documents showing greater detail than the planning documents show. The Checking Authority is usually the Local Authoritys Building Control Department but does not have to be. Unlike the Planning Application Process the is no manadtory waiting period other than giving the the Checking Authority 48hours notice of intendment to start works on site. Often on smaller domestic projects construction is started before the final building control approval are issued. In this instance risk should be kept to a minimum by the contractor liasing closly with the Building control officer.

 

Construction site.CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION

This stage is for the administration of the contract between the client and contractor and other involved parties. It may involve the selection of the apprpriate contract to suit the project. Contracts can be obtained from the Joint Contracts Tribunal Ltd. who provide contracts for the UK construction industry. JCT provides a wide range of forms of contract to meet the various and diverse needs of the UK construction. For minor projects there are suitable contracts that allow the administration of the contract providing:

● the work involved is simple in character;
● the work is designed by or on behalf of the Employer;
● where the Employer is to provide drawings and/or a specification and/or work
schedules to define adequately the quantity and quality of the work; and
● where an Architect/Contract Administrator is to administer the conditions. 

There are also Building Contracts where the owner occupier can oversee the works done by the builder they appoint.
Once careful consideration has been given to all of the above the construction phase can begin and the proposals can start to take shape