When planning a renovation or self-build project for the first time, it may seem daunting to know where to start and who to speak to when. We have collated the top 5 people you will need to be in touch with.

Who: Planning Officer

What: a Planning Officer is responsible for scrutinising your detailed planning application. They have the authority to decide whether your build will go ahead. It may be decided that you need to alter you plans in order to meet criteria. Conservation areas and listing buildings are subject to stricter guidelines and may need additional consent.

When: Engaging with the planning department must happen before any construction work begins.

Cost: Varies from regional planning departments, but the average application cost £172 (England)

Who: Architect or Designer

What: The Architect or designer will produce drawings and provide details of specifications for your renovation project. An experienced designer will be familiar with the regulations and aid you to achieve your desired home with minimal compromise in terms of layout and aesthetics.

When: The first stages, where a designer can create concept drawings to bring your ideas to life and can offer any changes to your brief where necessary. Drawings may also be required for your planning application.

Cost: Varies dependant on size of project, but you can expect between £2,000 – £5,000 (plus VAT) for a typical extension.


Who: Building Control

What:Building regulations are minimum standards that apply to most all new build work, including alterations to existing homes. Building Control bodies will check compliance with building regulations which may be an approved inspector from a private company or the local authority. You can choose which service to use.

When: Building regulations covers the full scope of the project, therefore this also means foundations, so involvement before build starts is crucial. They will then visit at various key points of building completion. Legally you can start building works two working days after submitting a building regulations application, following written confirmation of your intent to start works. You can expect a reply within two weeks.

Cost: Both Private and local authority Building Control are able to choose their own fees and may be negotiable.

Who: Quantity Surveyor

What: Someone who has expert knowledge on construction costs, procurement and contracts. They will calculate quantities of materials and how much they cost. Often referred to as their shortened name QS.

When: Although not routinely used in domestic build, if you decide to use one, we suggest making contact once the plans have been drawn up & before construction begins. The role of the QS will be to cost the project in full and make suggestions of cost effective options, this includes the foundations, so early notice is advisable.

Cost: Usually split into two parts, pre contract and post contract. Both sections charging approx. 1.5% of the total build cost.


Who: Builder

What:The person or team who will execute the project, who are professional project managers and business owners, ranging from a one man operation to small to medium. They will know both the industry and processes. They have a legal duty to comply with building regulations and owe you a duty of care.

When: Usually best to contact the builder after planning permission approval and you have clear plans drawn up. All builders will need to see the plans in order to give you a price.

Cost: Varies considerably, dependant on size of renovation project. Expect the builder to charge a day rate of £100 – £200 per day. Within the total price, expect costs associated to plant & machinery hire, scaffold hire and permit’s, electrician and plumber charges as well as labour and materials. Expect the Builder to add his management fee, typically between 15 – 20% of the total cost.

After reading this you may be feeling it all seems a little too much like hard work for you and that you are seeking an alternative service to help you each step of the way.

Help is here! There are many useful tools online that may help you find what you need.

A Your House & Home popular choice is iManageMyBuild.com who are a new online project management tool that is changing the face of the domestic building industry.

iManageMyBuild is built to support both the homeowner and the tradesperson with domestic build projects providing the homeowners with a range of verified tradespersons in their area, potential cost-savings of up to 50%* and providing them with full project control. Tradespersons have access to a known source of work, agreed payment schedules with customers and the potential to build and develop their construction businesses.

Check out iManageMyBuild.com today to realise your self-build or home renovation plans.