9 Planning Application Horrors and 10 Bottomless Money Pits

decembrie 6, 2017 | Autor: | Posted in Fără categorie

What this article highlights

With hundreds of by-laws, laws, council obligations and building regulations to contend with, planning an industrial or commercial building in the U.K. can be a minefield of potential cost quietly sitting there waiting to explode your budget and disable your project. This article is designed to flag up the trouble spots so even reading it as a checklist may give you peace of mind that you are at least on the right track. If you are struggling, you have a rudimentary map to help you avoid getting caught out. It also offers points of contact if you would like more ‘hands on’ help and a stronger knowledge base to help you equip yourself for a good start.

1) Disability Provision – Plan it and Make it Contribute to Your Project

Disability provision is an issue. You will have to make provision in all general purpose buildings for disabled access. Special factory processes may be exempt but even nuclear power stations need to provide for disabled visitor access so it is highly unlikely you will be exempt. To put it into financial perspective even a stair chairlift is likely to be up to £10,000 worth of investment. Consideration to all other building features, such as doorways, stairs and gradients, also needs to be carefully thought through from the outset. Retro fits will never look as good, they effect the architecture and also the value of the property.

On a personal welfare note, there are plenty of worthy and very capable, disabled applicants looking for employment, especially from the Armed Services. Lifts, doors, glazing, car parking and doorways are all a big cause of argument between industry and planners because they cost so much and they appear to be under used. Could this simply be a mindset issue that your new project provides the perfect opportunity to rethink?

Disability provision from the planners’ point of view, not only is a legislation, it is a future issue that they may have to revisit long after you have gone, for example you may sell the building on, change the use or simply have an open day. You need to have a very clear policy and know what your position is and why. If you can help make it a front line plan, not an afterthought, you should. Afterthoughts always cost more and usually fit badly. Often you can get greater efficiency from your able bodied staff by integrating these facilities very early on in the process. A good example of this would be the use of handling equipment where wheelchair access is installed as otherwise you are faced with steps to negotiate. You can actually combine operating processes with disability fitments saving you substantial sums on single function installations whilst at the same time improving the efficiency of your internal logistics, not to mention safety. By taking the initiative at an early stage you protect yourself from costs for installing equipment to comply with building regulations. I mention this from first hand experience of these situations arising when strong willed management object to the front line costs and then end up paying substantially more later.

Horror Factor – Local Authorities have and will serve enforcement orders if you don’t make an effort to include this section of the community in your project and worse still it may be seen as discrimination.

2) Energy – A Way to Make the Project Pay for Itself

If you don’t heat, you don’t need to insulate. If you do insulate, you need to consider your energy use. This is a complex subject. It can be very costly if you leave it to luck or the last minute. Key areas include use of water, electricity, gas, oil and air. Fuel savings are usually part of any planning or building process and now have to pass emission, efficiency and insulation standards. There are alternatives such as photovoltaic panels, heat exchangers and wind energy. A system that collects rainwater and filters it for none critical usage, for example flushing the lavatory or general cleaning, is worthy of inclusion. You might also consider reclaiming water and using it over again. At the time of writing this article there are energy companies who will hire your roof and pay you rent for it.

Horror Factor – Apart from missing out on the chance to recover and save money, you are missing out on value and property appeal. Within a few years a modern steel building will be worth its basic land commodity price less the cost of bringing it up to standard. In other words it will be worth little more than the land value. Avoidably, such a building is losing at least £300 to £500 per sq.m. for every square meter you build at the rate of 10% on a reducing balance per annum.

3) Rights of Way – Beware of The Law

You do not have the right to erect temporary structures, fences or obstruct an established pathway. If someone has used the land as a short cut you may have to honour this right. They may get free help to fight your plans. The local authorities must always be seen to have been terribly reasonable and fair.

Horror Factor – Your site could be left insecure

4) Change of Use Can be Complex

You may find having bought land which has permission for industrial development that its current use is so important to other infrastructures, such as roads, that it must stay to cope with that purpose. So, for example, an overspill car park only used occasionally in the last 5 years is still essential in the eyes of the Highways Department because if it is ever required again and it is not available it may result in traffic chaos or accidents elsewhere in the road network. Redundant airfields sometimes have MOD restrictions or covenants attached. Check what you are buying. Just because you appear to have permission for your development, it doesn’t mean you won’t have objections raised by other council departments not immediately involved with the application. They will almost certainly be in a position to enforce reinstatement to former use so beware of the interests outside the immediate jurisdiction of the planning officers who require consulting. In all these situations ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Horror Factor – Local Authority have and will serve enforcement orders to re-instate property to any status where the public interest and general safety is in jeopardy.

5) Sites with Multi-Party Interests

Archaeology is the obvious target. People may have the right to delay your project for a period to allow their work to be completed. Anything of rarity, scarcity or architectural importance to the environment or heritage has this right. You may find it comes with price tags you did not know about.

Horror Factor – This can and does introduce costs and delays and worse still it requires skilled public relations. If you suspect the site may have issues take expert advice in advance.

6) Ownership

In some parts of the country you can buy a site, develop it and then find out you do not own it. It has happened.

Horror Factor – This is the horror factor – only demolition is worse!

7) Build to Plan

The plan you submit is very important. External features do matter. Do not deviate from the submitted plan, it must be right first time if you wish to avoid extra costs and delays.

Horror Factor – Local Authorities have and will serve enforcement orders if you fail to comply with consent conditions.

8) Avoid Proceeding Without Consent and Understanding Regulations

You run the risk of having to retrospectively fit equipment or making structural changes which are independent of civil engineering works. This sort of issue is very serious and can cause chaos at an unaffordable rate. You also run the risk of outright refusal.

Horror Factor – Local Authorities have and will serve enforcement orders in this respect up to and including demolition. Serious issues may arise out of fire regulations for example, resulting in major rework on stairs, access points and layout designs. Worse still your insurance company may refuse the risk, which in turn may invalidate other policies or key parts of a main policy in the event of a claim. It is in the same category as leaving your keys in the ignition of your car in the event of theft. Negligence is a reasonable exit route for the insurance company.

9) Involve Your Insurance Company Right From the Start

Aspects of your fit out, especially in respect of storage systems, will almost certainly require safety systems for example sprinklers and smoke detection. You must budget for them.

Sprinkler systems will almost certainly require water tanks and fail safe back up systems on site. The actual system may need to be installed into warehouse applications with serious operational restrictions which require careful handling. Discovering this a year after completion when the insurance inspection falls due may leave you exposed and vulnerable.

Horror Factor – You are faced with enormous, unplanned, additional costs in order to finish your project

Ten Bottomless Money Pits

  1. Foundations – Beware of made up ground.
  2. Existing Services – Anything belonging to others under your land.
  3. Listed Structures – Landmark structures for example old mills and boiler chimneys.
  4. Contaminated Land – Brown ground. Proceed with caution. You can’t tell by looking at it, but garage sites and anything which involved processes requires careful handling.
  5. Demands on Services beyond Capacities – Quantify services’ consumption before you build.
  6. Noise – Especially close to offices or residential.
  7. Process Water – Fats, oils and chemicals are never popular and always expensive.
  8. Waste Recovery – Any process which emits smells or dust may require licensing and you might want to think twice before building next to such a processing site.
  9. Hazardous Substances – in your process or next door to your business need thorough investigation.
  10. Shared rights and responsibilities – Walls, access, roads, services.

Source by Paul Casebourne


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