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The answers to the below questions are generic and are to provide you with an indication of BGA Architects processes and approach. For more information in relation to project specific questions, please call us on 01702 471057.

I am new to this can you explain what is involved with the design process?

Where possible BGA Architects will meet with you on site to discuss your requirements to develop a client design brief.

Within 48 hours of the initial meeting BGA Architects aim to provide you with a fee proposal for your approval. Upon receiving your instruction BGA Architects will arrange a survey (where necessary).

After the survey has been carried out the existing and proposed drawings will then be produced for your approval and supporting documentation approved/obtained were required.

The town planning application will then be submitted to the local authority for approval. (Please note BGA Architects cannot guarantee the outcome of any planning application).

Once planning approval has been granted BGA Architects can obtain building regulation approval upon your behalf.

Building Regulations Explained

BGA Architects can also provide you with tender documentation and assist you on site for the duration of the project.

How long will it take until we receive drawings and are able to submit a town planning application?

On average it takes approximately 4/6 weeks to receive the initial design drawings for your comments/approval, however this largely depends on the complexity of your project and our workload at the time of receiving your instructions. However, your project leader will be able to advise you of timescales at the time of receiving your initial instruction.


Once the initial proposals have been sent to you, you will be asked to provide feedback within 7 days to ensure that any amendments that may be required are carried out as quickly as possible.


Do you submit the planning application to the council?

BGA Architects submit and monitor the application to the council. BGA Architect contact their clients regularly during the application with updates of the progress.

What is permitted development?

Permitted development rights allow the improvement or extension of homes without the need to apply for planning permission, where that would be out of proportion with the impact of the works carried out.

Planning permission is not required where development falls within your permitted development rights. Please note that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Similarly, commercial properties have different permitted development rights to dwellings.

In some areas of the country, known generally as 'designated areas', permitted development rights are more restricted. For example, if you live in:

  • a Conservation Area

  • a National Park

  • an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

  • a World Heritage Site or

  • the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

You will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas. There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.

Regardless of this BGA Architects strongly recommend that you obtain a lawful development certificate.

For further information about the different types of projects which can be carried out under permitted development please click here which will take you to the planning portal website.

What is a Lawful Development Certificate?

If you want to be certain that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission, you can apply for a 'Lawful Development Certificate' (LDC). 

For more information about LDC please click here 


My town planning application has been submitted to the council, how long will it take to receive a decision?
Once your application has been submitted to the council, the council generally have a statutory 8-week period to make a decision. Please note however we are finding that most councils are failing to hit this target due to the staff shortages within the council and on average applications are taking approximately 12 weeks.

Will planning conditions apply to my project and do they need to be discharged?


The local authority will apply planning conditions and informative’ s to any planning approval. Whilst some conditions which relate to pre commencement of works maybe known to BGA Architects prior to planning approvals being granted this is at the discretion of the local authority. The conditions are imposed by the council and BGA Architects can not speculate as to what conditions the council may impose. Please note many local authorities impose stricter conditions to include renewable energies, water efficiency enhancements, vehicle charging points etc. where dwellings are created and or buildings are de-converted back to residential use.

When the town planning approval is granted there may be planning conditions attached to the decision notice which require discharging. Some planning conditions may pose some time restrictions to when works can/cannot be carried out e.g., pre commencement conditions, or those involved with wildlife e.g., bats.


To discharge planning conditions, it may be necessary for the client to appoint directly other specialist consultants to provide supporting evidence to enable the local authority to discharge the planning condition, e.g., Noise Survey etc.


BGA Architects, can assist with discharge the planning conditions (alongside other specialist consultants that may be required), our fee will be based on our standard hourly rates.


There may also be other conditions which relate to legal/financial obligation such e.g., Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Payments, S106’s etc. which will remain the client’s responsibility to adhere to.


For further information regarding the above please refer to the planning approval decision notice, should you have any questions regarding the above please contact the Council direct, contact details of the local authority can be found on the decision notice.

Building regulations - Full Plan Submission Vs. Building Notice

Please click here to see the difference between a full plan submission vs a building notice.

I’m a contractor and require a construction package to work with, can you help me with this?

BGA Architects work closely with many contractors to provide a detailed construction packages which they can pass onto the various trades to assist them with their work, even where BGA Architect did not obtain town planning approval.
We can also produce working drawings of key junctions/details and prepare schedules and specifications if required.
Call us now to discuss your requirements in greater details.

Do you do meetings at the weekend or in the evening?

BGA Architects only carry out meetings during normal office hours which are 9am – 5pm. To arrange a free no obligation quotation please call now on 01702 471057

How and when do we pay?

BGA Architect generally provide a fixed price quotation based on each stage of the project, e.g. Stage 1 - Town Planning Application, Stage 2 - Building Regulation approval and Stage 3 – Full architectural service.
Depending upon the size of the project BGA Architects will require a 25% deposit of the stage prior to carrying out a measured survey. A further 50% will become payable upon issuing the first draft of drawings with the remained of the stage payment becoming payable prior to submitting any application. For more information regarding the payment process please refer to the terms and conditions which accompanied our fee proposal letter.
Do you have a structural engineer?

BGA Architects do not employ an in house structural engineer. However, if instructed to proceed with your project, BGA Architects will obtain a minimum of two quotations for your approval from structural engineers who are on their approved list of structural engineers.

Do you produce 3D drawings of my project?

All our projects are produced using the latest BIM software, which provide you with an external view of the proposal in 3D at no additional cost.
Where a more realistic 3D image is required a fee quotation can be provided upon request, the cost of which is dependent upon the level of detail required.
Computed Generated Imagery (CGI) / Renders are priced on a scale of Low, Medium and High detailing levels and can be customised to meet your requirements.

Please click here to see examples.


Can you produce animations and fly throughs of our scheme? 

BGA Architects can create animations, walkthroughs, and video presentations of your schemes.

Please click here to see examples.

Can we recommend builders?

BGA Architects do not recommend builders as the majority of contractors do not employ their own work force and simply sub contract the works out. However, BGA Architects do have a list of approved contractors with whom they have worked with in the past and have received positive responses from past clients.


This list is regularly reviewed and updated as necessary to ensure those approved are working to the highest of standards at all times.

Can we recommend a party wall surveyor?

BGA Architects work with several party wall surveyors and will be happy to obtain quotations on your behalf when instructed to proceed with the project. Please click the below link for more information in relation to the Party Wall Award Etc. Act 1996

Party Wall Award Etc. Act 1996

Can you explain what CDM is?

CDM 2015 applies to all building and construction work and includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance.

Under CDM 2015 a Principal Designer is required for all domestic and commercial projects where there is more than one contractor (including any sub-contractors), or if it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be working on a project at any time.


For more information please click here for the Guide for Clients - CDM 2015.

Can you explain what the Building Safety Act is?

Prior to undertaking any services in connection with the project we would like to take this opportunity to advise you of duties that you have as our client under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and The Building Regulations 2010 (‘Building Regulations’) as amended by The Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023.

To read more please click here.

What is SAP?

SAP rating is the calculation that is required in order to produce a Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA) and an As Built Construction Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Building Regulations require that a SAP calculation and a PEA are submitted for new dwellings prior to the commencement of work.

To read more please click here.

When is an excessive glazing calculation required? 

With new extensions or conversions to a property, there's a limit to the amount of glazing permitted. You're restricted to 25% of glazing to floor area and if you exceed this limit, you must have proper and professional justification. This is due to glazing and openings losing more heat than walls, making it less energy efficient.

Therefore a Energy consultant will be required to produce a AD Part L1B 2014 Compliancy - Whole dwelling calculation to justify the additional glazing.


Depending on the results, the rest of your current property may be taken into account and it may be suggested that upgrades elsewhere would successfully offset any additional glazing needed for the new build.

To read more please click here.

BGA Architects can obtain a quotation for you as part of carrying out the building regulation drawings.

Can I build over a public drain?

There are certain criteria to meet if building over or within 3meters of a public drain, set out from the statutory water body, however if you do not comply with all the criteria an application will be required to be submitted to the statutory water body to access your application.

To read more please click here

What is a community infrastructure levy (CIL)?

The Community Infrastructure Levy (the 'levy') is a charge which can be levied by local authorities on new development in their area. It is an important tool for local authorities to use to help them deliver the infrastructure needed to support development in their area.


A section 106 agreement is an agreement between a developer and a local planning authority about measures that the developer must take to reduce their impact on the community

What is the difference between CIL and section 106?

CIL is different to S106 in that it is levied on a much wider range of developments and according to a published tariff schedule. This spreads the cost of funding infrastructure over more developers and provides certainty as to how much developers will have to pay.


Who is responsible for paying CIL?

The responsibility to pay CIL sits with the ownership of the land on which the liable development is located. However, others parties involved in the development, such as developers, may wish to pay a proportion of the CIL.

How can I avoid paying CIL?

The most obvious way to avoid paying CIL is not to commence development or to delay commencement. However, you may need to commence development sooner than you might otherwise like to, for example to prevent a planning permission from expiring.

What is the Essex Coast RAMS?

The Essex Coast Recreation disturbance Avoidance Strategy (the “Essex Coast RAMS”) is a project to prevent harm to protected wildlife sites along the Essex coast. The Essex Coast RAMS identifies a programme of measures to mitigate the impact of new housing delivery and help avoid disturbing birds within these protected Habitat Sites. 

Local authorities working together to deliver the Essex Coast RAMS project:

  • Basildon Borough Council 

  • Braintree District Council 

  • Brentwood Borough Council 

  • Castle Point Borough Council 

  • Chelmsford City Council 

  • Colchester Borough Council 

  • Maldon District Council 

  • Rochford District Council 

  • Southend-on-Sea City Council

  • Tendring District Council 

  • Thurrock Borough Council 

  • Uttlesford District Council 

Essex Coast RAMS Tariff

Additional housing in the area is likely to increase the level of disturbance because of the additional visitor pressure on coastal sites. A payment for each net additional dwelling created in the Council areas will fund the measures set out in the Essex Coast RAMS. This is the fairest way to ensure that the impacts of housing growth and related visitor pressure along the coastline are taken into account. 

The current charge (as of 1st April 2022) is £137.71 per dwelling. This will be updated each year in line with the Retail Price Index, with any increase coming into force on the 1st April each year. 

The payment must be secured with all applications that would result in a net increase in housing in the Borough. It applies to all full applications, outline applications, hybrid applications, prior approvals and permitted development. Reserved matters applications will be considered on an individual basis. Applications for outline planning permission should state a maximum number of dwelling units. It should be noted no exemptions can apply. 

Some housing schemes, particularly those located close to a designated Habitats Sites boundary and large scale development, may need to provide extra mitigation measures. The local planning authority, with advice from Natural England, will consider the mitigation requirements for such development proposals on a case-by-case basis. 

Applications where RAMS applies will be refused if a RAMS mitigation payment has not been paid or secured as part of a legal agreement 

How can the Essex Coast RAMS tariff be paid?

  • the payment can be paid online. Please note there is a non-refundable administration charge of £10 in addition to the tariff to process this payment

  • applicants can also sign a legal agreement (under Section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) stating they will pay the tariff as part of the planning application process. In addition to the tariff there will be a charge of £49 for the Council to check each legal agreement. More information on this process will be available from the Planning Application case officer

Other similar scheme outside of Essex maybe apply, and it is the client’s responsibility to ensure all additional fees are paid.

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