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Frequently Asked Questions and some Friendly Advices:

Q1. Do we charge "initial visiting" fees?

If the client decides to hand over the project to us on the day of visit and carry out the survey, then no, we do not charge them for the initial visit. However normally, payment terms apply. If after the visit the clients are not sure whether they would like to carry out the project or decide not to pursue the project at all then visiting charges apply.

This charge is a nominal fee to cover the expenses and cut down time-wasters as we cover our service all around London and surrounding county and thus are working on a very tight-schedule, trying to meet all deadlines.

Q2. Do you deal with all Local Authorities in any area?

Yes, we deal with all London Boroughs and the adjoined country boroughs, on behalf of our cliens.

Q3. What is Keeran Designs charging?

The amount charged by Keeran Designs depends of the works clients ask us to do and whether they want to deal with council themselves or appointing us as agent (in which case the client will not have to do anything, as we will make all necessary applications to the Councils). All our fees are fixed and we do not charge by the hour. Our fees do not change according to the cost of the project.

Depending on the type of development, mainly two stages are to be followed: (1) Planning and (2) Building Control.

When applying for Planning Permission, you are not charged for the Building Control Drawings until you get the Planning Decision (which with us is positive in 99% of all cases). Tthere are some developments that can be carried out without Planning Permissions, under Permitted Developments.

However, all developments require Building Control. At this stage, we charge for preparing Building Control Drawings (Working/Construction Drawings).

If the client asks us to amend a Plan that has already been approved, we charge for any amendments in order to cover for our spent time.

FRIENDLY ADVICE: Although some builders may say that you can build without a Planning Permission, under Permitted Developments (which may be true in some cases), DO NOT make the mistake of thinking you can build without informing the Council! Every development needs Building Control! The ones who don't can get you in a lot of legal trouble!

Q4. What is the Payment method?

There are some logical steps that we follow in this matter:

  1. We agree our fees prior to our site visit or on the day of visit and will give break down of the costs as fixed price for the agreed work
  2. We take half of the fee on the day of survey
  3. We draw the plan to the client's satisfaction
  4. Afterwards, we take the second half of the fee, as well as the council fees cheque in order to be able to apply to the Council (in case you would like us to act as an agent)

Q5. What does acting as an "agent" mean?

It basically means that we will act in dealing with the Council on the client's behalf.
If the client would like us to act as an agent for them we will be more than happy to. With a nominal charge we will carry out all the correspondences with the council (which includes printing and posting the correspondences) and fill in all the necessary forms. If the council requires any amendments to be made or requests the case to be resubmitted we will also do this. There will be no such thing as an extra charge for resubmission unless a 2nd resubmission is required.

Q6. Are there any Other fees besides the ones payable to Keeran Designs?

These applications made with your Local Council come with a cost (Council Fee) which, depending on the type of approval you need may be fixed charges or vary with the size, use, type, area etc. So Yes, usually there may be other fees involved that are payable by the client to the Local Council.

We would like our clients to understand that it is their responsability to make the payment to the Council either directly, through a payment method of their choice, or through us, by providing us with a cheque for the Council fee, made payable to the Local Council, which we will enclose with the filled in Application Form, Drawings and Cover Letter. Keeran Designs does not accept responsability for any delays in applying to the Council, caused by the Client's delay in making the payment.


ABOUT PERMITTED DEVELOPMENTS

Q7. What are Permitted Developments?

Permitted Developments are developments that do not need Planning Permissions. They depend on the type of property, type of development, size, materials that are going to be used, location of the property (is it in a Conservation Area or not), location of windows etc.

Please again, note, as a friendly advice, that ALL undergoing work needs to be supervised by the Local Council and approved by Building Control. Otherwise your Building Insurance WILL NOT cover it and you will not even be able to sell it.

 

ABOUT LAWFULNESS CERTIFICATES

Q8. What is a Lawfulness Certificate & Permitted Development?

Under the Town and Country Planning Act, all residential properties have permitted developmental rights, apart from properties in the conservational areas, listed buildings and flats (these are special cases which have to be discussed separately). These rights are subject to the size of the proposal. We therefore strongly advise Clients that have these developmental rights, to apply for a Lawfulness Certificate to their Local Councils. The Council can then confirm whether the project is lawful or unlawful.

Q9. What is the current fee for a Lawfulness Certificate and who pays for it?

The Council fee for the Lawfullness Certificate Application is currently fixed at £86.00 (amount valid at 18.06.2013) and is paid for by the client, usually by cheque. The Lawfullness Cerificate can be applied for by us on behalf of our clients, once they provide us with the necessary cheque for the above-mentioned amount, made payable to their Local Council.

 

ABOUT PLANNING PERMISSIONS

Q10. What is a Planning Permission?

Mainly it is an approval given by the Council's Planning Department, which carries out Town and Country Planning Act on behalf of the Government. This covers generally what is called as “Amenity” (appearance, the effect on neighbours and on the street scene, usage development, traffic & transportation issues, size of the development etc.).

Q11. When is a Planning Permission required?

In case of private houses, Planning Permission is required for some, but not all building work.
Whether or not it is required depends upon many factors, such as: size of the proposal, and whether there have been any previous extensions to the property etc. For more information on Planning Permissions, you can also visit: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk.

Q12. What is the fee for a Planning Permission and who pays for it?

The Council fee for getting a Planning Permission is fixed at £172.00 (amount valid at 18.06.2013) and is paid for by the client, usually by cheque. The Planning Permission can be applied for by us on behalf of our clients, once they provide us with the necessary cheque for the above-mentioned amount, made payable to their Local Council.

Q13. Do you guarantee a successful Planning Permission?

Planning permission works according to the council policy, depends on the client requirement and history of the property. So that planning permission cannot be guaranteed but our success rates for planning permission is 99%.

 

ABOUT BUILDING REGULATIONS

Q14. What are Building Regulations Approvals?

The next step after you get the Planning Permission for the development, would be to apply for a Building Regulations Approval to the Building Control Department of your Local Council (This is not the same office as the Planning Department!). This may require Structural Calculations and Construction/Engineering Drawings, which we can provide for you.
Building Regulations mainly (but not only) ensure the health and safety of those in and around buildings by: providing functional requirements for building designs and construction. The Regulations also promote energy efficiency in buildings and contribute to meeting the needs of disabled people. These regulations cover construction matters such as: structural stability, insulation, fire prevention. It is required for virtually all building work. Keeran Designs attain building control approval 100% of the time.

Q15. What is the fee for obtaining Building Regulations Approvals and who pays?

The fees for obtaining Building Regulations Approvals for your development may vary from Borough to Borough and mainly depend on the type of development and its size (surface) and/or costs. Each Council website has a list of charges that they apply for this, that is being updated from time to time. This is paid for by the client, usually by cheque, made payable to their Local Council.

Q16. Do I need a party wall agreement?

Under the party wall legislation the client must notify the neighbours about the project if the project falls within a specific distance to the neighbouring properties. A Party wall agreement must be in place if the neighbours request for one to be drawn. Part wall agreements are normally prepared by party wall surveyors. If a party wall agreement is carried out, the condition of the neighbour’s property prior to and after the completion of the construction work is noted. All construction projects need to attain a building regulation. It mainly covers safety issues. The local authority checks the drawings to ensure that the building will be secure and safe for the client to use/reside in. The authority checks structural details such as: foundation and insulation. The construction details need to comply with the current regulations. We advise clients to get the building regulation approval prior to starting the construction work or getting an estimate.

Q17. Do you carry out a project management service or provide advice on site?

Yes, we liase with the client and the builder to ensure the project runs smoothly without any problems. We also provide advice on site during the occurrence of the construction work. The nominal fee for this service will depend on the complexity and location of the project.

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