Frequently Asked Questions


Crofton Design FAQs

Welcome to our FAQ page. To find out more, please click on the headings below. This section will be regularly updated so please keep checking back for more information. If you have a question that has not been offered below, please feel free to contact us.

  1. What is Permitted Development?

    Permitted Development is a legislation that allows you to make certain minor changes to your property without the need for planning permission. There are many rules surrounding permitted development – see the link for a brief overview

    We would always recommend that a Certificate of Lawfulness application is submitted to the Council to ensure that the proposals fall within the guidelines and provides you with a formal approval should you wish to sell the property at a later date.

  2. Will I need a Structural engineer?

    If you are opening up or removing a load bearing wall, removing a chimney, roof alterations or altering the structure of a building, you will require the services of a structural engineer to perform calculations to ensure the building remains supported and resists the loadings.

    These calculations will be required by Building Control and will be submitted together with our construction drawings.

    We work closely with an independent Structural Engineer and we can liaise and instruct him on your behalf, if required.

  3. What is your timescale for initial drawings?

    You should receive your first set of initial drawings within 3 to 4 weeks of our survey depending on complexity of your project and our current workload.  We will be able to clarify this at the time of survey.

  4. Do I have to use the Local Authority for Building Control?

    No -as well as the Local Authority Building Control you can also use an approved independent Building Control company.  They offer exactly the same service as the Council.  They will carry out an initial plans check, attend site inspections and provide you with your Final Certificate.

    They require 5-7 working days notice before works can commence.

    We will use our independent building control company unless specifically requested by our clients to use an alternative.

  5. Can I start works under a 48hr Building Notice?

    Yes, this can only be dealt with by the Local Authority and your builder will need to inform the Council on your behalf.  We do not submit this type of application and would not provide construction drawings if you decide to pursue this route. The 48hr Building Notice is really designed for simple projects where construction drawings are not required.

    The Council Building Inspector can request additional information to be provided by the builder. We may be able to assist with providing this additional information but it will incur costs and may delay building work.

  6. Can I have the CAD file (.dwg) of my drawing?

    No – all architectural works created by Crofton Design Services Ltd are subject to copyright protection.

    Under the Copyright Act, Crofton Design Services retains the copyright of all work produced for clients.  Fees paid do not include ownership of this Copyright and CAD drawings will not be released.

  7. My Planning is Approved but with Conditions – what do I need to do?

    Local Planning Authority may sometimes grant an Approval but will list Conditions that need to be approved/discharged either prior to commencement, or prior to occupation.  An application will need to be submitted to the Council to satisfy these conditions within the relevant timescale and samples of materials/website information and additional specifications/reports may also need to be obtained.

    For domestic extensions these conditions are often minor and not pre-commencement but on larger schemes (new build houses/commercial projects) there will be pre-commencement conditions that need to be resolved and submitted into the Council.

    Due to this, any pre-commencement planning conditions can lead to delays in the start of building work. If construction work is started ahead of the Council approving the discharge of pre-commencement conditions, this is entirely at the risk of the client and at worst case, could lead to the Council putting a compulsory stop notice on the site, leading to delays and costs.

    The Council endeavour to determine these applications within 8 weeks, although time frames can be longer.

  8. What is a Planning Consultant?

    A Planning Consultant has in-depth knowledge of the Planning Law and Policies and has Chartered status.
    We work in conjunction with a local planning consultant on large extensions, new build houses and commercial projects or more contentious issues such as development within the Green Belt.

    If an application is refused by the Council you have the right to appeal.  A Planning Consultant can provide you with a greater chance of success through the Appeal process.

  9. How long is my Planning Approval valid?

    Planning approval is valid for 3 years from the date of the Approval.

  10. What is an Arborists Report?

    Councils can sometimes request an Arborists (tree consultant) report to be submitted with an application where there are large trees or trees with TPO’s located near to or surrounding the proposed development that need to be protected, pruned  or removed .  We can liaise with and appoint an independent Arborist to prepare these reports on your behalf, if required.

  11. What is an Energy Consultant?

    SAP (energy efficiency) calculations are sometimes requested by Building Control for excessively glazed extensions such as orangeries or open conservatories to ensure they comply with Part L.  An Energy Consultant will be required to prepare a SAP Calculations report to ensure the proposed alterations are deemed to comply.

    We can liaise with and instruct our independent Energy Consultant to prepare these on your behalf, if required.

  12. What is a Highways Consultant?

    Some applications for new build houses, driveways etc may need the assistance of a Highways Consultant to provide a Highways report to issue with your application.  They can cover items such as:-
    •Access Problems
    •Lack of parking facilities
    •Inadequate servicing and turning arrangements

    We can liaise and instruct an independent Highways Consultant on your behalf if required.

  13. Drainage & Thames Water Build Over Applications. Do I need one?

    Any work involving new foundations, underpinning, piling or basements of your proposed development that is within 3 metres of a public sewer a build over agreement will be required prior to commencement of building works.

    A public sewer is classed as any drainage that is shared by more than one property.

    As soon as your building regulation application is submitted to Building Control this triggers a letter to your local drainage utilities Supplier advising them of your proposals.

    We are able to assist with the required documentation and application if required.

  14. What are Listed building/Heritage statements?

    A Listed building requires an additional application and may require a separate Heritage Statement. This will need to contain a description of the significance of the site affected by the proposal, and will detail the impact the proposed changes could have (even if the building is not listed itself but is within the Curtilage of a Listed Building).

    This report may need to be written by a Heritage Consultant depending on the complexity of the project.

  15. How long will Planning Approval take?

    Once your application is submitted, the Council will check and validate your application (to ensure they have all the relevant information), they have 8 weeks from the date of validation to determine the application and make a decision. This 8 weeks is a target all Councils work to but it is not guaranteed that a decision will be made within this period. Much depends on the work load of the planning department.

  16. Planning Application – Free go

    Should your planning application be refused, the Council will offer ONE “Free Go” to submit a revised scheme which must be similar to the refused scheme.

    A free go is only entitled ONCE per property and not per applicant.  If your property has already received a free go by a previous owner, another fee will need to be paid.

  17. Can I Appeal?

    The applicant always has a right to appeal following the receipt of a refusal. An appeal has to be submitted within 12 weeks of the formal refusal.

    Only the person who submitted the application can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.. The Planning Inspector, who is independent of the local authority and the applicant, will then look again at the case, and can either agree with or overturn the local council’s decision. A householder appeal will take 12 weeks to determine.

    We do not undertake service and we would recommend employing the services of the Planning Consultant to assist you.

    You can of course submit an appeal yourself and follow the attached link for further information:-

  18. Flat conversions – London Plan – room sizes

    If you wish to convert a single dwelling into multiple dwellings there are certain criteria that will need to be adhered to regarding room sizes. Additional requirements include sound | fire | parking etc. We can provide a feasibility study if required.

  19. What are Party Wall Notices?

    The party wall act is a civil act between neighbouring properties. Many types of building work fall under the act and most extensions will require a party wall notice to be service on neighbouring properties. The general purpose of the act is to ensure that no damage occurs to a neighbouring property due to your building works or if damage does occur, this is corrected.

    Crofton Design cannot assist with the Party Wall Act but many of our clients use the informal route of dealing with serving notice themselves. Information on the act and examples of the relevant letters that can be issued to neighbours through the informal route can be found via the following link

    If this option is not suitable or your neighbour wishes for a more formal way forward, you will need to appoint a party wall surveyor. If required, we can provide you with contact details for local surveyors who can assist you with this more formal procedure.

    Although the Party Wall Act cannot prevent you carrying out the building work, the formal route could result in some delays in commencing building work and so early discussions with neighbouring properties is worth considering.

  20. CDM 2015 (Health & Safety)

    The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations have been in place since 2007 and are regulations issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) covering health and safety in construction. Historically, these regulations were for commercial projects and very large domestic projects.

    In 2015 they have been revised to cover all domestic projects as well to reduce the number of accidents that are reported on smaller domestic sites.

    These regulations now require a health and safety manual to be compiled to include information for us, the structural engineer and the principal designer which can then be passed on by yourselves to your appointed contractor for their additional information. The final, completed manual is then issued back to you upon completion of the project by the contactor.

    Under the regulations, the onus is placed on you, ‘the client’ to be responsible for appointing the relevant parties (principal designer and principal contractor).

    The title of ‘principal designer’ really means health and safety coordinator and has to be carried out by someone with suitable experience and falls outside of Crofton Design Services Ltd. services. We work closely with a chartered surveyor who following your appointment as principal designer will carry out the required documentation. We can provide contact details for this surveyor as required, alternatively, you can appoint your own principal designer if required.

    Further information can be found via the Health & Safety Executive website

  21. Building Regulations Approval – Do I need it?

    Building Regulations are required for any construction and building work including: (but not exclusively):-
    •The erection of a new building or the extension of an existing building. (e.g. a kitchen extension or loft conversion)
    •Structural alterations to an existing building. (e.g. underpinning, removal or alteration of load bearing walls, removal of a chimney)
    •Alterations which may affect the means of escape in case of fire. (e.g. changes of layout, changing the use of rooms, alterations to fire doors)
    •Changing the use of an existing building. (e.g. converting a house to flats, or a shop to an office)
    •The extension or alteration of certain services and fittings. (e.g. installing new bathrooms and drainage)

    Renovating or replacing a wall, floor or roof has also fallen under the building regulations. (e.g. replacing a roof, re-tiling a roof, replacing a floor, re-plastering substantial areas)

    Works that MAY be exempt from building regulations.  Please seek clarification from your local Building Control officer.

    Ancillary buildings
    •Building site offices containing no sleeping accommodation.
    •Estate sales buildings.
    •Buildings other than dwellings or offices used in connection with a mine or quarry.

    Small detached buildings

    Single storey buildings under 30m² floor area, containing no sleeping accommodation, constructed substantially of non-combustible material, or sited at least one metre from the boundary. (e.g. detached single garage or shed)

    A detached building, having a floor area not more than 15m², with no sleeping accommodation, can be constructed of any material.

    No heating or cooling systems installed

    Covered yard/way

    Less than 30m²in area.

    Car ports
    •Must be open on at least two sides.
    •The ends can be counted as sides and doors/windows are allowed between the house and carport.
    •Less than 30m²floor area.


    A conservatory is exempt from Building Regulations as long as it is;
    •Less than 30m².
    •At ground level.
    •At least 50% of new walls are of a transparent or translucent material.
    •At least 75% of the roof is of a transparent or translucent material.
    •It must be separated from the habitable parts of the dwelling by external quality windows / doors.
    •Any glazing below 1500mm in height in doors or within 300mm of a door must be toughened / laminated glass or polycarbonate.
    •Any glazing below 800mm in height must be toughened / laminated glass or polycarbonate.
    •Any heating or cooling systems must have independent controls / thermostat.


    For a porch to be exempt from Building Regulations it must be;
    •Less than 30m²
    •It must be separated from the habitable parts of the dwelling by external quality windows / doors.
    •Any heating or cooling systems must have independent controls / thermostat.

  22. What is the CIL Charge?

    The Community Infrastructure Levy is a planning charge, introduced by the Planning Act 2008 as a tool for local authorities in England and Wales to help deliver infrastructure to support the development of their area.

    For large extensions over 100m² and all new builds, a Community Infrastructural Levy (CIL) determination form will need to be completed to enable the your local Planning Department to establish whether a CIL charge will be liable.

    For further information please see the following website:


    Depending on the circumstances, forms of exemption may be available and if you think you might qualify for this, you should speak to the local authority as soon as possible.

    You should also seek their agreement to your formal claim before starting work on site, as exemption cannot be granted after the development has commenced.