Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to our most frequently asked questions below. If there’s anything else you’d like to learn, get in touch at or book a free consultation here.

General FAQs

Do I need to apply to the council for Permitted Development?
Understanding whether you need to apply to the council for Permitted Development is crucial for homeowners planning extensions or renovations in England. Permitted Development Rights allow homeowners to carry out certain building works and changes without needing to apply for planning permission. However, these rights are subject to conditions and limitations.

Even if your project definitely falls under Permitted Development, you’ll need to apply to the council for what’s known as a Lawful Development Certificate or Prior Approval. This documentation will be requested if you ever sell your property to prove that you didn’t need full planning permission. It also protects your interests in the event you’re challenged by neighbours during the build.

At Plan It, we’ve got plenty of experience when it comes to managing the application process, so you’ll be in safe hands.

Book a consultation with our design and planning consultant to see if your project falls under Permitted Development.
What is Permitted Development?

Permitted Development refers to specific types of work that you can carry out on your property without needing to obtain planning permission from the council. These rights are designed to simplify the process for common home improvements in England. The scope can vary based on location, type of property, and previous development work. It’s essential to check specific regulations or seek professional advice.

You can only use these rights if your property is a house (so not a flat or maisonette) and isn’t built on designated land. Examples of designated land include Conservation Areas, National Parks, Listed Buildings and World Heritage Sites. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are subject to restrictions.

Book a consultation with our design and planning consultant to see if your project falls under Permitted Development.

How long does my planning approval last?

In England, Planning Approval typically remains valid for three years from the date it’s granted. This means you need to commence the construction work within this timeframe. You don’t need to complete the building work within three years. If your Planning approval expires before you start building, you’ll need to reapply. It’s important to plan accordingly to ensure your building project aligns with these timelines.

For more guidance on planning approvals, book a consultation with our design and planning consultant Lily.

How long will the build take?

The construction time for a building project depends on factors like the size and complexity of the build, weather conditions, and the efficiency of your building team. A small extension or simple loft conversion could take 8 – 10 weeks, while larger projects are likely to take 3 – 6 months. A garage conversion, on the other hand, only takes 4 – 6 weeks.

If you’d like to check on the timeframes for your build, contact us at

How much will the build cost?

The cost of a building project in England varies widely, influenced by the project size, materials, location, and design complexity. Keep in mind that unexpected costs can arise, so it’s wise to include a contingency budget. If you know you can only spend a certain amount, let your architect know as early as possible. A good architect should work with you to design something affordable.

During your design process with Plan It, we’ll give you guidance on estimated construction costs. This will give you as much control over your spending as possible.

If you’re interested in us producing a build cost estimate with our partners at Price My Project as part of your package, let us know during your free consultation.

Will I need approval to build over the drains?

You may need approval from your local water authority or follow specific building regulations if your project involves building over or close to existing drains. This is especially important if the drains are shared or run outside your property boundary. At Plan It, we conduct a drain location survey as part of our measured survey process so that we can let you know what will be required for your project. 

Concerned about drainage? Get in touch for a free consultation at

Do I need to notify my neighbour?

Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, you’re often required to notify neighbours about your construction plans. Especially if the work involves a shared wall, boundary, or excavation near the boundary. It’s a legal obligation to inform adjoining property owners. It can also help maintain good neighbourly relation.

If your project requires a planning submission, we advise notifying your neighbours before they hear from the council. This applies to most projects where external changes are being made to the property. Not all projects will require their explicit support. However, it’s always helpful to keep them on side, no matter what type of application you’re embarking upon. 

If you’re concerned about notifying your neighbours, feel free to book a consultation with our design and planning consultant Lily to discuss further.

What is building control?

Building control is a vital part of the construction process in England, ensuring that building work complies with Building Regulations. These regulations cover aspects like structural integrity, fire safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility. Building control officers (BCO) or approved inspectors can conduct inspections at various stages of your project to ensure compliance.

Plan It’s design service includes a building regulations package, which will include the information required for BCO sign off. We can also coordinate with the BCO to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

For more information about the requirements for your project, feel free to book a consultation here.

Do I need a Structural Engineer?

Employing a Structural Engineer is essential for certain types of building projects in England, particularly where structural changes are involved. They provide expertise in ensuring the stability and safety of the structure. Their input can be crucial for Planning Approval and building control processes.


Your quote from Plan It will include structural engineering as standard, as we can provide this service in-house. 


If you’d like a quote for structural engineering, feel free to book a consultation with our design and planning consultant Lily.

Do I need a drain survey?

You might need a drain survey if you’re planning construction work that could impact existing drainage systems. This is very common with ground floor extensions. The survey helps to identify the condition and layout of the drains and is crucial for projects involving building over or near existing drains. At Plan It, we conduct a drain location survey as part of our measured survey process.

Some clients require a more in depth survey, known as a CCTV drainage survey. We will let you know whether this is required once we’ve performed an initial site visit to assess your project.

For guidance on prices, please contact us at

What’s the biggest extension I can have?

The maximum size for an extension without requiring planning permission varies under Permitted Development. Generally, single-storey rear extensions can extend up to six metres for semi-detached and terraced properties and eight metres for detached properties. However, these limits can vary, and it’s essential to consult specific local regulations or seek advice from an architectural expert to understand the maximum extension size for your property.

The rules for extending under a full or householder planning application vary from council to council. It’s important to consult a planning specialist or architect to get a firm understanding of the potential before committing to a project.

For specific guidance on an extension to your property, please book a free consultation with our design and planning consultant by clicking here.

FAQs about Plan It

Why should I choose Plan It for my project?

At Plan It UK, we bring over four years of experience to the table, and we’ve redefined what it means to work with an architectural firm. Here’s why you should consider partnering with us: 

Extensive Experience:

With over 1000 successful home renovation and extension projects under our belt, our expertise is unmatched. We’ve honed our skills and knowledge to provide you with exceptional architectural solutions. 

Turnkey Design Service:

We go beyond just delivering architectural packages. Our comprehensive turnkey design service includes a measured survey, drain survey, architectural plans, structural calculations, building regulation drawings, planning application management, building control coordination, party wall surveyor appointments, and drainage provider approvals. We handle it all, so you don’t have to worry about project administration or coordinating different disciplines. 

Family Values:

As a family-run company, we pride ourselves on values such as reliability and trustworthiness. You can count on us to deliver on our commitments and provide the best service possible. 

Personalised Approach:

We offer a highly personalised service, ensuring that you’re not just another project number. We’ll treat your project with the utmost seriousness, and we take the time to listen to your requirements, offering design advice tailored to your budget and aspirations.

Stress-Free Process:

Our turnkey service eliminates the need for you to appoint your own builder or coordinate between various design disciplines. We manage the entire process on your behalf, reducing stress and the risk of errors. 

Coordination Expertise:

Coordinating between planners, structural engineers, and party wall surveyors can be challenging. At Plan It UK, we handle this complexity seamlessly, ensuring a smoother project journey.

Partner with Plan It UK for a stress-free, efficient, and personalised architectural experience. We’re committed to bringing your vision to life while delivering the highest level of service and expertise. Contact us on today to start your architectural journey with confidence.

Do you perform site visits?

Absolutely! At Plan It UK, we consider site visits a crucial step in ensuring the success of your architectural project. Here’s how we approach them: 

Comprehensive Site Measurement:

  • Our experienced surveyor visits your site armed with advanced technology like 3D laser scanners and laser disto measurers. 
  • We use 3D laser scanning to accurately measure the existing building, both inside and out, guaranteeing precise dimensions. 
  • We make detailed notes of essential information, including floor joist directions and wall types, whether they are masonry or timber stud. 
  • Our aim is to thoroughly understand your property’s structural elements, such as joist directions, roof structure, and load paths. 

Drain Location Surveys:

  • We conduct drain location surveys to determine pipe depth, distance, diameter, and general position. 
  • This data allows us to design your project while considering drainage systems, ensuring that our plans align with your water board’s requirements when seeking approval. 

Personalised Design Consultations:

  • We value in-person design consultations as they provide us with the opportunity to explore the unique characteristics of your property. 
  • Discussing your project within the actual space enables us to consider all idiosyncrasies and specific requirements. 

Virtual Options Available:

  • We understand that convenience matters, so we offer virtual design consultations as well. 
  • Through Zoom calls, we can use our 3D Matterport scan and 3D laser scan data to remotely understand your property’s layout and features, ensuring that distance is not a barrier to quality service. 

Our commitment to thorough site visits allows us to provide you with accurate information and tailored architectural solutions. Contact us today to schedule your site visit and take the first step towards bringing your vision to life.

Which areas do you cover?

At Plan It UK, our office is strategically located in Bexley Heath, which allows us to serve a wide geographical area. We proudly offer our architectural services in the following regions: 

  1. Kent
  2. South London (East and West) 
  3. East London
  4. Essex 
  5. Parts of Surrey 

If you live in one of the areas above and would like a free initial consultation, book a video call with our design and planning consultant by clicking here. Feel free to get in touch if you live in another area and would like to see whether we can make an exception for you.

Which local councils do you work with?

Plan It UK has extensive experience working with various local councils in the Greater London and surrounding areas. Our in-depth knowledge and expertise are particularly prominent in the following councils: 

  1. Bexley Council: As our home base, Bexley holds a special place in our portfolio.
  2. Bromley Council
  3. Lewisham Council
  4. Greenwich Council
  5. Dartford Council
  6. Croydon Council

If you’re planning a home renovation in one of these areas, we’ll be avaluable partner to have on board for your project. We have experience of working with plenty of other councils and are adept at digesting and applying planning policy on a national level. Our design and planning consultant, Lily, will be able to assess the feasibility of your project with a free consultation. Click here to view her calendar and book an appointment.

Will you look at a property before I buy it?

If you’d like us to look at a property before you buy it, we will start by assessing your project via a free telephone or video call. This is to avoid wasting your time during the purchasing process if the project definitely isn’t feasible. Following this, we will be happy to book in an on-site consultation if you’d still like to pursue the project. Please note, we will have to charge a small amount for our time based on the location and complexity of the project. We will provide a quote for this after the free telephone/video call. 

To book the free telephone or video consultation, please contact