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When plans aren't plans?

(11 Posts)
chicaguapa Mon 25-Jan-16 19:01:44

We've just been granted planning permission for an extension. We paid a builder to put together some plans for us and then obtain planning permission. We paid £495 +VAT for the plans plus the application fee to the council.

He gave us a quote for the whole project, broken down into various items including the building work. He said we could use the plans to get other quotes. But every builder I've asked to quote has said that the plans are too basic to be able to do this. confused They just show the elevations with and without the extension with a floor plan. Other than a measurement for the additional bit there are no internal or external measurements, even though he spent hours measuring all the rooms.

Now that planning has come through I've asked him to produce the more detailed plans that builders can quote from. He says that we haven't paid for this and we've only paid for 'plans'. After a bit of arguing back and forth, he's saying that he quoted for detailed plans separately and this is shown as 'Building Regs' for £750 +VAT and that we asked him only to apply for planning permission. Also he's now not doing detailed plans anyway so we have to go somewhere else for them.

Our first meeting with him was May last year so the whole process to date has been painfully slow and frustrating. So I'm doubting whether he's telling us the truth or he's trying to diddle us out of some decent plans now that he's decided he's not doing them anymore.

I questioned the plans when I first saw them as I remember other people's plans being more detailed, but he just said that's all that was needed to get planning. My impression at the time was that he was doing the minimum to get the application in and then would provide something more detailed once permission had been granted. This obviously wasn't the case.

Is this a schoolgirl error or have we been done?

lalalonglegs Mon 25-Jan-16 19:08:17

I'm not sure that anyone is really at fault, it's just a misunderstanding. Plans to be shown to building inspectors are more detailed than those needed for planners and will take extra work. However, it sounds as if your relationship has soured so it might be better to get a third party to draw up detailed plans and then get quotes based on those.

chicaguapa Mon 25-Jan-16 19:32:36


I'm just puzzled at the lack of detail I have and that it doesn't even show the change in internal layout. Not sure how I can progress with a project and spend another £750 +VAT to get building controls plans just to find out what the new room sizes would be. confused

It just makes me wonder if we've not got something we should have.

littlebearsmummy Mon 25-Jan-16 19:48:06

We've had this problem. Paid for outline plans to pass initial planning, which we got no problem. Tried to get builders to quote from these plans, and we started to have a few problems. Some builders were happy to, some wouldn't even come and see us without full building regs drawings. To actually build, you don't need full building regs drawings (I believe), however you do need structural calcs for any beams etc. we now have a builder in place who knows our architect and can do it on the plans we have..apparently. If we decide to get building regs drawings drawn up, we can do so via th builder rather than go back to our slippery architect. Yet to start, so don't know where this will end up. I feel for you, it isn't clear and everyone in the process (planning, acrhitects, builders, structural engineers), seem to have differing views on what is essential and what isn't. I believe if you can get full building regs drawings, you should. Will cut out problems later down the line.

chicaguapa Mon 25-Jan-16 20:38:39

Glad it's not just me then! Tbh I'm finding this more stressful than actually buying the house (which we did 8 months ago so recent enough to remember).

Still, I'm learning all the time. grin

Marmitelover55 Mon 25-Jan-16 20:58:49

We used an architect who prepared and submitted plans for planning purposes - think these had measurements on but we're not that detailed. Once planning permission was granted she prepared more detailed plans for building reg purposes - these were the plans that we gave to the builders to quote from. We also had to give the builders a report from the structural engineer which included "marked up plans" which were the building regs plans with structural calculations added.

chicaguapa Tue 26-Jan-16 13:31:30

It's so complicated. As littlebears says, everyone does it differently.

It's not helped by the fact that our planning drawings don't actually reflect what we want but the builder said it didn't matter as minor amendments could be made a later stage. But it means we don't even have plans that show what we want. I think he was hoping that would mean we'd just go with him, but the whole process to date has not inspired any confidence to let him undertake a major building project.

I think it's back to the beginning now tbh. But a step further along the learning curve.

wonkylegs Tue 26-Jan-16 13:47:13

Planning drawings can be quite basic but I would expect to at least have measurements on them to pass planning.
I can understand builders reluctance to quite on very basic plans because they are so open ended that you could interpret them in so many ways the quote would be worthless. They might be acceptable if accompanied by a detailed specification as this would give them enough info on what they are actually quoting for. The other alternative would be more detailed plans for example building regs drawings.
It is normal to do these in two stages as BR drawings take more time and there is no point in doing this until the basics are finalised.
You can make minor changes after obtaining planning but generally only internally, anything that effects the exterior would require going back to planning for an amendment.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 26-Jan-16 15:46:12

For what its worth (and it may be different for different local authorities), once you have planning permission, you can proceed without building reg drawings if you have a reputable builder. I don’t think you’ve lost out too much as I think you paid a really low price for planning drawings (just by way of comparison, ours were £1200 for a straight forward extension to a 3 bed semi and this was after getting quite a few quotes). Ours do have measurements on them, positions of windows, doors etc.

For us, we had a builder lined up who works with a structural engineer. So, instead of having building regs drawings prepared, submitted and approved (before work can commence) after we got planning permission, we applied for a building notice and on the council’s say so, you can proceed without those drawings. The structural engineer still needs to visit the property and include his calculations in the drawings for the builder to work off, and then the Council visit the site as the work is progressing to check that it complies with building regs. The risk is that you’ve already done some of the work before the council comes out, rather than them approving plans before you start. You obviously need to have a builder who knows his stuff and who is willing to work on that basis, and I assume it needs to be a straightforward build.

chicaguapa Tue 26-Jan-16 17:06:40

Thanks. This builder was going to build off a 'ticket' which is why I think he didn't produce decent plans. Unfortunately the plans are wrong and no-one else could possibly build with just that info.

Eg. a wall will be going up in the existing bathroom to separate it into an ensuite and a bit of the landing. But the existing window will be in the way and needs moving/ making smaller. The internal plans show the new single window but the external view still shows the current double one.

I've tried to explain this, along with other bits that aren't shown correctly on the plans and the builders just look at me like this confused and says they'll come back when I have detailed plans. My current/ ex builder says this means they are muppets and that he quotes 90% of his jobs off planning drawings.

There's another window which is shown in the wrong place on the extension. I queried it at the time but the builder said it didn't matter. Now he's saying I agreed the plans. Tbh he's inventing conversations that we've supposedly had so I'm done with him anyway. You know someone's in the wrong when they start making stuff up. hmm

wonkylegs Tue 26-Jan-16 18:19:02

Get shot of him, I suspect he'll end up costing you more in the long run and not giving you what you want.

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