A question every company will ask, is when do you ideally want the job to start?
Often people will say, ‘oh we are all ready to go, immediately!’
Whilst they might be ready mentally to get going, they have made the error of leaving things too late.
Sometimes the job is rushed through due to an imminent baby on the way, or maybe a granny annexe is needed urgently due to family health problems. But more often than not, it’s simply a case of clients being unaware of how much time is involved in the preparation.
So how long should/ could things take from quoting to starting on site?
Quoting – 2 weeks
Analyse & make decision/ negotiation – 1 weeks
Survey & drawing preparation- 3 weeks
Analyse drawings/ suggest amendments – 1 week
Submit drawings for planning permission, prior approval or permitted development decision – up to 8 weeks
Submit drawings for building regulations approval – 6 weeks
Party wall notices – 2 weeks
Potential start on site – 23 weeks from the initial quote (5-6 months)
This may come as a shock to many who would never have dreamed to allow this long, but in reality, this is how long things can take. This also doesn’t allow for any delays on the supply end- i.e architect taking too long or planning permission being rejected etc
So, in reality, this time period could be even longer for complex/ non-standard submissions
But at the same time, some of this could be fast-tracked.
Some of the larger building companies may have in-house surveyors & the drawing preparation may only take 1-2 weeks. If your property doesn’t require planning permission & only requires a Permitted development application (see chap 6&7 for more details on the difference) then this can speed up the time, as works can actually start before this has been granted if the architect is confident they have complied with the PD rules.
This can be dangerous though as if the PD application needs amending or is rejected due to a mistake by the architect or by the local authority interpreting the national rules differently (it is well known that some local authorities differ on interpretation) it will mean potentially rebuilding or changing the size of the project on site. If you’ve rushed ahead & done this without awaiting the relevant certificates, this could become costly
The submission to building control can also be sped up if a private building control company (or approved inspector) is used (see chap 6&7) They can often fast-track applications within 2 weeks.
However please note if private building control is used you need to submit an ‘Initial Notice’ which takes a further 7-10 days. (the Initial Notice advises the local authority that an Approved inspector will be used. The local authority then check on site that work hasn’t commenced & then they accept the initial notice & allow you to use the Approved Inspector)
You can also fast track this stage by submitted a Building Notice rather than Full Plans.
This means you can start work within 48hrs after notice is served (this is better for smaller projects), but also means that you haven’t got an official approved set of drawing to work to, so again things may need to be changed on site to comply with regulations involving time & cost. This is all avoided if you have approved drawings to work to & then there are no surprise changes insisted on by Building Control.
Party wall notices can be relatively straightforward or a potential nightmare (more details in chap 6&7) If you get on well with your neighbour & they agree to works you can start after 14 days. If they disagree it could go on for 2 months or more whilst surveyors sort out the legal paperwork
So as you can see, there are ways of bringing down the time from initial quote to starting on site, but often this can bring on a mountain of problems if things go wrong or an inexperienced builder/ architect is used who may not fully understand the latest regulations.
Much heartache & stress can be avoided if things are planned correctly. It is much better to allow the full amount of time to have all documents approved & in place before you start works.