Planning Permission: How to Make a Successful Application

Planning Permission How to Make a Successful Application

Most people looking to renovate or complete a build themselves want to get started as soon as they secure a plot or property. The necessary planning applications required before they can begin, however, usually take at least two months to be looked at and for the applicant to get an answer. Because of this lengthy process, nobody wants their application to be rejected, as this would require that they repeat this process. So, what causes delays and rejections in the planning process and what can you do to ensure your planning permission is approved at the first time of asking?

Common Areas of Delay

The most common areas of delay can be grouped into the presentation and content of the application, political issues and conflicts with set rules, regulations and guidelines. All the required plans, forms and accompanying documents must be presented correctly before the council can look at them.

Remember that the minimum two months it takes for an applicant to receive a decision does not include the time after an application is submitted and before a council starts considering it, which is after they have received all the requisite forms, documents, plans and accompanying information.

Once the process starts, any conflicts can result in a rejection or a request to make the necessary amendments and resubmit the application. Projects with contentions can also be rejected at the committee even after they are approved by the council. This is mainly due to neighbourhood politics, which we will touch more on below.

Because local council policies and opinions are the main areas where an application can be rejected, we will look at how to navigate this area to ensure a successful application.

Design

The first consideration the council will make is the design. The layout, plan, materials, architecture and other details of the project are expected to blend in with the surroundings. This blending of design is considered more closely in areas where there are listed buildings or the area benefits from having a distinct character and appearance. If the design does not blend, you might be asked to resubmit the application. If this happens, your neighbours may also be asked to provide an opinion, which could cause further delays.

Impact on Neighbours

Planning applications are also scrutinised to find out how they would impact your neighbours during and after construction. Common areas considered include building materials, privacy, blockage of natural light, increased pressure on existing infrastructure as well the impact of the completed project on adjacent properties. All these factors can affect your neighbours’ amenity and should be thoroughly explored and considered before you file an application.

Ecology, Archaeology and Heritage

If your land is on an archaeologically significant area, the new development will impact heritage assets (buildings or conservation areas) or if the new development will cause an impact on species and habitats that are protected under the law, special surveys have to be carried out. These surveys detail whether you have put in adequate measures to protect these habitats or species. The reports can also be used to show that any issues that come up during the development will be mitigated and how this will be done.

Discovering that this information is missing from your application can lead to a lot of time wasted and this is why you need to have them done before you submit the planning permission. Remember that some surveys involving protected species, such as bat surveys, have to be done at certain times of the year and if you miss this window, you have to wait for the next available opportunity.

To avoid this, you can get in touch with survey companies like Arbtech to schedule a bat survey when bats are more likely to be spotted on your property. Arbtech also carries out other types of surveys including tree, newt, biodiversity net gain and reptile surveys to help you get planning permission for your project. They serve customers and businesses all over the UK and have over 25 years of experience in bat surveying.

Parking and Access

There should be adequate means to access the plot. This translates to a drive that meets the minimum width requirements and has good visibility from both sides of traffic. The plot or property should also have enough turning space and parking space for anyone occupying the property.

Ensuring visibility and adequate access can be challenging. Before you remove a hedge or uproot a tree to improve both, consult the local highway authority to find out how best to tackle both of these issues.

Hedges and Trees

If your project could affect or be affected by existing trees and hedges (see above), you should submit a tree survey as part of your application. The best way to ensure your application does not get rejected is to hire a reputable arboriculturist who knows how best to approach the survey to ensure your application is accepted.

While most local council officers will be inclined to preserve trees, a professional might provide an alternate explanation why tree loss might be acceptable in certain cases. This will help remove a lot of restrictions to your plan, especially on plots that have lots of trees and elaborate build plans.

Flood Risk and Drainage

Another cause of delays is not providing adequate information on drainage in flood-prone areas. To ensure this is not a cause of delay, check online if your area is prone to floods and submit a flood risk assessment as part of your application. Additional information on drainage and how to deal with floods should also accompany the application.

Neighbourhood Politics

In cases where the council sends a representative to talk to the neighbours, you might not know who could provide information that leads to a delay in your application. It is therefore important to let your neighbours know of your plans, keep them informed, and convince them to support your efforts.

Getting planning permission can be frustrating, especially when your application gets rejected and you have no idea why. You can reduce these incidences by ensuring your application is as thorough as possible and gaining the support of anyone who could be a hurdle in getting planning permission.

How Contractors Can Make Every Step Of The Tendering Process Count

How Contractors Can Make Every Step Of The Tendering Process Count

Any contractor will tell you that the process of tendering is one of the most time consuming, not to mention nerve-wracking, parts of the job. You know that you’re going up against rival firms, you want to make sure that you’re not underselling yourself or the amount of work that it’s going to take, and you want to make sure you get your bid in quickly enough to show that you know your stuff and that your incentivised, but not so quickly that you rush through it and miss something important. You also want to show that you’re up to date with the latest information from the government.

If you’re looking for a way to make the whole process a little less overwhelming or time-consuming, here are a few tips to help you knock it out of the park every time.

Make The Most Of Every Available Resource

Putting together an estimate can sometimes make you feel like you’re sprinting to the finish line, and that everyone else has heard the starter’s pistol before you did. What is important to remember is that, even though speed is of the essence, you need to show that you have what the others don’t. One of the best ways to do that is to use the expertise of the people around you to make sure that every base is covered. Don’t be afraid to ask the opinions of your colleagues, after all: you trust their expertise on the job! Researching your potential client will also help you to gather some insight on their specific priorities and business ethos.

Embrace New Technology

We all have the same image of what putting together an estimate looks like, and it tends to include print outs, sheets filled with numbers, and an awful lot of stationery. However, it’s really not necessary to put yourself through so much time-consuming paperwork, especially when you’ve almost certainly got other projects and tasks to be focused on! Now, there’s estimating software for builders that can streamline the whole process by stripping out all the unnecessary elements and focusing on what matters. If you want to learn more about how estimating software can save you time and get you ahead of the pack, RapidQuote has a detailed break-down of how their programme works. They also have plenty of glowing reviews to prove that it works.

Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Anyone who has to pitch for work knows that it’s an endless hustle to keep the work rolling in and make sure that everyone is getting paid. With the economic outlook continuing to look uncertain, this concern has only grown more pressing. As a result, some contractors will end up bidding on projects that they may not be that well suited for and losing time and potentially other work as a result. Before you get to work on writing a tender, think carefully about whether this is something that you will be able to deliver. And remember: always make sure to ask for feedback on your tenders. Even if it’s a no from them, you may be able to identify previously unnoticed weaknesses that you can address in future.

Asphalt vs Concrete Paving: Which Is The Better Option For My Driveway?

Asphalt vs Concrete Paving

It can be easy to forget about your driveway when you’re planning on renovating your home, but you shouldn’t underestimate what a new driveaway can do for the overall appearance of your home. The driveway is the first thing that people see as they approach your house, so if it’s old and worn, it can give a bad impression on your home overall- even if the rest of your house is beautifully finished.

If you’re thinking of doing up your driveway, one of the most important questions you should be asking yourself is what type of material to choose. Since driveways get a lot of use out of them, you want to choose a material that not only looks good, but is strong and will stand the test of time as well.

Concrete and asphalt are two popular types of paving you can use for your driveway. Both are made from similar materials, however while concrete consists of sand, water, cement and aggregates, asphalt is made from either gravel, sand, crushed rock or tar. These minor differences can have quite a significant effect on the overall outcome.

There are a number of pros and cons depending on what choice you go for. To help you make your decision, here are some things to consider:

Appearance

The main reason you’re probably doing up your driveway is so it looks better, so appearance is always going to be an important factor. Asphalt is dark and textured, and since it doesn’t tint or color very well, your options are limited to grey or black. This is fine for most people, however if you’re after a specific color or design, then it’s better to go for concrete.

Concrete has a smoother texture than asphalt, and can be stained, tinted, stamped, etched, or colored- so if you’ve got a specific design in mind, you have much more freedom to make this happen.

Cost

If you’re wanting to spend only a small amount of your budget on your drive renovation, then your best bet is to go for asphalt. Asphalt paving tends to be cheaper than concrete, with a concrete driveway costing almost double the price of an asphalt one.

However, when looking at costs in the long run, concrete will end up saving you the most money. This is because asphalt driveways tend to require a lot more maintenance and general upkeep, which will eat into your finances years down the line.

If you’re searching for a top-rated paving company to create your dream driveway, then this interlock company in Ottawa are worth looking into. With their handy asphalt paving calculator, you can see exactly how much it would cost you to repave your driveway.

Durability And Maintenance

While an asphalt driveway can last for an impressive 20 years, a concrete driveway takes the durability crown, and can last around double the amount of time than an asphalt driveway. In terms of maintenance, as stated earlier, asphalt needs much more maintaining- though it is generally cheaper to maintain than concrete.

When asphalt needs maintenance or replacement, only the top layer needs to be serviced and repaved. The lower layers are considered permanent, so you never have to worry about getting them replaced. With a concrete driveway, if it needed lots of work doing to it, you would have to start from scratch and repave the whole thing, which can wind up being incredibly time consuming- not to mention expensive.

The weather plays an important determining factor in how long your driveway will last for before it needs any repairs. If you live in a hot environment, then you’re better off having a concrete driveway, since asphalt can become sticky and crack as it cools.

Concrete, on the other hand, can expand and in colder temperatures, causing expensive damage to your driveway. As asphalt absorbs more heat from the sun, it also causes snow and ice to melt quicker, so it’s a great option for if you live in a colder environment.

Installation

Asphalt can be installed more quickly than concrete, and only takes a few hours to cure before it can be driven on. Concrete takes a couple of days until it is completely dry, though it’s recommended that you wait up to a week before driving on it. The last thing you want is to be leaving tire marks on your band new driveway!

Environmental Impact

Asphalt is much more environmentally friendly than concrete and is considered a green technology as it can be recycled, while concrete has to be taken away and disposed of in a special facility. Certain types of asphalt also help with water drainage which benefits the eco-system.

Moving Your Large Furniture: Practical Tips

Moving Large Furniture

Are you preparing to move house? Have you already started packing up all your smaller belongings, leaving the bigger items until the end? This is the common approach people take, and then suddenly they are left with the question of how to best move their large furniture without damaging it, or the home. We’ve got a number of practical tips you can use as you prepare to move house and deal with moving those large pieces of furniture.

Start with the Big Pieces – Get Them Out of the Way

While most people are tempted to leave the large oversized furniture until the end, in some cases it can make more sense to begin with those items. Any furniture that isn’t essential to your day-to-day life could be moved to a storage unit. Companies like Safestore offer storage units that make it possible to store your items in a safe and secure manner, giving you much more space to move around in your house as you organise, pack, and eventually move out. You can even get a quote online by entering your postcode, city or town. Be sure to check out the various storage room sizes with the virtual walkthrough, photos, and videos so you find the best one for your needs.

Your furniture can remain in a storage unit until you are in the new house, and you may even choose to leave it there for a while. Perhaps the new house doesn’t have the same amount of available space, or then again, maybe the furniture just doesn’t work with the new décor. Either way, you can keep your items in storage as long as you need.

Don’t Think About Moving Pieces on Your Own

The next tip is to make sure you don’t over-exert yourself and try moving those large pieces on your own. This is an excellent way to do damage to the furniture, walls, floors, and to yourself. Instead, plan in advance and get a couple of friends or family members to give you a hand with moving the furniture. If you don’t have anyone that can help, it can be well worth it to hire professional movers just for the heavy items like the furniture. They will have the proper skills and equipment to move the items in a safe and efficient manner.

Make Use of Furniture Sliders

When it comes to the equipment needed to move furniture, the most useful items are furniture sliders. These sliders go under the feet of your furniture so you can essentially slide items across hard floors without scratching the floor. Some sliders will also work on carpeting, as long as it’s not thick pile carpeting. Experts recommend that you leave these sliders on the feet of your furniture after the move is complete, as they will continue to protect your floor.

Measure and Plan Your Execution

Before you start to move anything, you will also want to take a little time to map out your plan. This means measuring the furniture itself, the doorways, the stairs, and so forth. Then figure out what is the best and most direct way to get the furniture out. You don’t want to get stuck in a doorway or mid-way down a staircase simply because of poor planning.

Lift the Safe and Proper Way

When it comes to lifting, make sure you are using proper posture and technique. This means you lift with your legs, rather than lifting with from your back. As you bend down, make sure your legs and knees are bending, not just your back. You can also help to prevent injury and stress to your body by using a dolly, harnesses, and lifting straps.

Each of these practical tips will ensure that moving the big pieces of furniture doesn’t have to be stressful or dangerous.

Here’s What The New Build Market Looks Like In 2021

Here’s What The New Build Market Looks Like In 2021

For builders’ merchants, the New Build home market is an important one. Property developers creating new homes are a core part of any builders’ merchant’s business, but they have been hit hard by the Coronavirus outbreak.

The pandemic is set to cause long-term changes to the New Build property market, so builders’ merchants and everyone else involved in the market need to adapt to these developments to ensure their ongoing success.

UK homebuilders have already missed key targets thanks to the pandemic, so they face a desperate race to catch up in 2021.

If you want to find out more about the New Build property market in 2021, then keep reading. We’ve put together some of the key trends and how they could affect the construction market in 2021 and further into the future.

Efficiency Is Key To Future Success

With the construction market slowing throughout 2020, thanks to lockdowns, staff shortage and other factors, the New Build sector needs to bounce back quickly.

As we enter 2021 and the vaccine rollout helps to reopen the UK, property developers will be focusing on getting as many new homes built as possible throughout the coming months.

As mentioned above, the UK property market has already missed targets for building new homes, and they face further delays until the country reopens fully.

Therefore, New Build developers will be aiming to be as efficient as possible and get their projects completed promptly. That means that they will be seeking efficient ways to get their properties completed to the highest possible standard.

As such, they will be working with efficient architects, such as Vernacular Homes. These architects in Kent offer a range of design, planning, and building services so that they can support clients and help them to create quality new homes quickly and efficiently. If you want to learn more about the firm and the range of services it offers, then check out this site.

Virtual Viewings Will Become The Norm

Before the pandemic, virtual viewings were an optional extra to be used alongside physical visits to the property from the potential buyer.

However, the lockdowns that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus meant that many property developers and estate agents had to rely exclusively on virtual house viewings.

Even once the lockdown is lifted, and life starts getting back to some semblance of normal, it is likely that virtual viewings will remain the standard way for homebuyers to view properties.

That’s because virtual viewings are convenient for both property buyers and sellers alike. It’s much easier to set-up a virtual viewing, and homebuyers don’t need to travel to the property to view it.

As such, property developers will be investing in even more technology to help them to conduct virtual tours of their New Build properties over the coming months and years.

Price Rises Could Mean Additional Budget For Materials And Labour

While it’s impossible to predict house prices with any accuracy, prices have been rising steadily for some months, and this trend might be set to continue.

If prices continue to rise, then New Build property developers will need to make sure that they continue to provide quality homes and that they increase their production even further.

Additionally, they will have extra budget to spend on materials and labour, which could mean that other sectors in the construction industry, such as builders’ merchants, could benefit if they provide property developers with the support and products that they require.

Rising Demand For New Builds In The Future

For various reasons, New Build housing remains in high demand despite the pandemic and the financial struggles facing many individuals because of it.

In fact, demand for New Build homes was higher in 2020 than it was the year before, and it looks set to rise, particularly in rural areas.

After all, with the rise in remote working, many homeowners will now be considering relocating out of busy cities and dull towns and into the countryside.

That means that property developments must adapt and work even harder over the coming years and months to meet rising demand.

New Build Construction Has A Bright Future

Overall, as this article shows, the New Build construction market has a bright future ahead of it, despite the many challenges that it has faced throughout the Coroanvirus pandemic.

Moving forward, there is set to be a boom in construction of new properties, which brings with it many oppertunies as well as additional obstacles for developers to overcome.

For builders’ merchants and other construction service providers, supporting property developers to help them to meet demand and provide quality new homes will help them to grow and prosper. Use this article to understand the New Build property market and what you need to do to support developers over 2021 and the years to come.  

4 Essential Safety Measures to Prevent Construction Job Site Injury

4 Essential Safety Measures to Prevent Construction Job Site Injury

Safety is of utmost priority in almost every aspect of work. In some types of businesses, it is a major concern as it can lead to disastrous results. One such industry is the construction business. More and more construction businesses are employing maintenance departments that can overlook the safety of the workers and ensure that all machinery and equipment are safe to use. They are constantly improvising safety guidelines to improve productivity.

Accidents at construction sites can halt the progress as well as cost financial losses. By making sure the right measurements are taken overall cost of construction can be reduced. Many companies provide accident prevention programs that help contractors organize the cost borne by accidents in comparison to the cost invested in accident prevention.

There are four essential safety measures that can be taken to prevent job site injuries or accidents.

  1. Create Awareness

The possible hazards that a worker can face in the construction site should be explained to them before they start. They should be aware of the types of accidents like understanding the difference between active vs passive fall protection, fall prevention, etc. Ignorant workers can be the biggest danger to the site. Not only can they harm themselves but also risk the lives of other people. By informing them of the things that could go wrong, they are more alert in what they are doing and also know the process if there is an accident.

This is the responsibility of the construction personnel to ensure that all workers are aware of the dangers as well as clearly explain how different safety gear is essential to them. Ensuring the safety of the worker is the key role of their supervisor and failing to do so will cost both lives and the reputation of the construction company.

  1. Training of Workers

This s not a once-a-work lifetime training but a rather recurring one. Safety is a skill that is learned over time especially on the construction site. Training new and existing workers through standard safety and security measures consistently will make them remember and refresh their memory consistently. This can be done in several ways. There are many training videos also available which explain different situations and how to handle them. Worksheets, pamphlets, and even on-site training can be used as a method of awareness.

Experienced workers also need to refresh their knowledge of standard safety procedures regularly. Training can be on simple topics like fall protection, usage of ladders, and safety gear uses. The goal at all times is to make sure that everyone knows the correct and right safety measures and actions to take in case of an accident. Failures to do so can cause severe injuries or fatalities which can be economically and socially damaging for the company.

  1. Clear Instructions

To make sure that the construction site is safe, the supervisor needs to make sure that clear instructions are documented and provided for all the activities that take place on the site. Also, these are necessary to be provided for legal approvals. Many countries have strict rules and regulations that must be followed for the construction company to even get a license or approval to start. Activities that require the workers to be involved on-site which can be fatal like blasting required proper professionals who can lay out a map wherein complete safety is assured.

Also in case there is an accident, that too should be documented and not be kept hidden. By doing this they assure that the worker rights are met as well as prevent any future legal actions that can be taken against them. A well-documented accident, precautions are taken, etc will help the company give clear details of what happened and keep its reputation safe.

  1. Efficient Equipment

Good and proper equipment should be given to workers so they can work safely on the construction site. Wrong or faulty equipment will always give rise to an opportunity or injury or accident as compared to a good one. Also improper or faulty gear worn by workers can lead them to make fatal errors like falling from a height. Each piece of equipment and gear that will be used by workers should be checked and kept well maintained.

Proper water dispensers, eating, and resting areas that are free from any hazards should also be maintained by the company. Long-term exposure to severe weather conditions can lead to serious illnesses for the workers.

The goal of every construction company is to always reduce accidents and injuries which could halt the work and bring in more costs. Companies that have fewer accidents also enjoy being more popular with people too.

De-risking post-Brexit supply chains

De-risking post-Brexit supply chains

By Jacqueline Hughes is a senior risk analyst at risk management consultancy, Equib.  

Almost two thirds of the products and materials used by the UK construction sector are imported from the European Union and this territory also accounts for around eight percent of its workforce. Concern is growing that despite the recently agreed UK/EU trade deal, friction at borders, new paperwork and additional compliance costs could impact project outcomes, leading to delays and cost overruns. So, what can project managers do to mitigate against Brexit-related risks within their supply chains?

The supply chain risks facing UK project managers have increased significantly since the start of the year. Disruption at UK/EU borders could result in delays of critical construction materials. New business immigration rules could also pose challenges for the industry when it comes to sourcing skilled labour from the EU. This could all have a knock-on impact on project budgets and timescales.

Adopting a risk-focused approach from the outset can help project managers to de-risk supply chains in line with the new trading environment. This should involve conducting detailed scenario planning for the various situations that could occur when sourcing materials or labour from the EU. Managers should then consider the steps that could be taken to reduce the likelihood of these risks occurring, or to mitigate their impact. For example, in the event that the supply of critical materials is delayed, would it be possible to re-schedule construction activities to ensure that the project is still delivered on time? In this way, project managers can stress test their strategy and develop a proactive plan for dealing withdifferent kinds of risks.

Effective horizon scanning can also help to inform the decision-making process, allowing project managers to conduct scenario planning for the short, medium and long-term by considering what their operating environment might look like in five, 10, 15 or 20 years’ time. For example, there might be an opportunity to switch to a UK-based supply chain or put in place dual sourcing arrangements, to reduce procurement costs and mitigate the risk of disruption.

Proper risk allocation is also key to the effective management of Brexit-related risks within construction supply chains. Often, end clients may be unwilling to manage risk. This may cause them to push risk responsibility down the supply chain, to sub-contractors who are even less equipped to shoulder the responsibility for managing them. However, this can cause an unwanted chain reaction. Contractors are forced to either inflate prices to cover themselves if something goes wrong, or else assume excessive risk exposure. In a worst-case scenario, this could cause businesses to fail, as happened with Carillion. Greater risk understanding and more contractor involvement at the design and planning stage can facilitate realistic budget and schedule setting, reducing the likelihood of project overruns and improving outcomes.

In order to tackle risks related to the use of skilled EU workers in the short-term, project managers must ensure they have a clear understanding of the post-Brexit environment and related business immigration legislation. However, to future-proof the industry, an innovative strategy is needed for developing domestic construction skills. Efforts must also be taken to improve the reputation of construction careers, improve diversity in the sector and bring wages into line with other UK industries.

Ultimately, the process of adapting supply chains to the new post-Brexit environment will require a delicate balancing act, involving short-term adaptations and planning for the future. By considering how risks might evolve over time, project managers will be better placed to tackle risk across the supply chain and keep projects on track.