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Archiect bulletin - April 2018

Published: Monday, 30th April 2018

Planning and building control policy updates, new planning application service for Wales, and more...

Permitted development rights for agricultural sites

In response to amendments introduced by The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2018 that came into effect on 6 April 2018, we have updated our content and PDF forms and will shortly be updating our online application service.

Content in the 'Change of Use' common project section has been updated in regard to the amended Permitted Development rights for Agricultural Buildings changing to Dwellinghouses.

The Prior Approval form in this regard (Notification for Prior Approval of Proposed Change of Use of Agricultural Building to a Dwellinghouse (Use Class C3), and for Associated Operational Development) has also been updated to account for the changes and additional information requirements.

Separately, we have also updated the relevant sections of our 'Application for Prior Notification of Proposed Agricultural or Forestry development - Proposed Building'.

  • The content and help text updates to the 'Proposed Building' question on our online (1App) version of the form have been provided to our supplier and should take effect shortly.
  • Updates to the PDF form, available through our paper forms chooser and the direct links we supply to local authorities, are already live.

The guidance note and help text for this application type have also been updated to better reference the legislation.

Approved Document L1B and the Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide

Approved Document L1B and the Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide were both updated on 6 April 2018. The updated documents deliver guidance on compliance for building work carried out in England.

The changes apply in respect of:

  • Building notices given, full plans deposited or initial notices given on or after 6 April 2018
  • The contract for the provision of the work being agreed on or after 6 April 2018 in cases where no notification to a building control body is required.

Approved Document L1B is a building regulation for England, regarding the standard for energy performance of new and existing buildings.

The Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide is a document which supports Approved Documents L1A, L2A, L1B and L2B.

You can read some additional information on the changes below:

Circular 01/2018: Amended Approved Document L1B and Domestic Building Services Compliance guide.


As you are no doubt aware the new data protection legislation (the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018.

We are making changes to our service and terms and conditions to ensure compliance with this regulation.

Over the coming weeks we will also need you to update the information we hold on you and give us your permission so that we can continue to send you information about our application and other services.

It won’t take long and further information will be shortly be available on the Planning Portal itself. Please look out for it!


As part of our mission to provide a full suite of planning and building control-related services to professionals and homeowners we have partnered with Groundsure; leading providers in a wide range of environmental searches and reports. All Groundsure reports are written in concise, clear English so are ideal for busy professionals to share with their clients.

We have highlighted some services which may be of interest to architects and surveyors.


Avista is the most comprehensive risk report on the market, containing analyses from over 106 million data points. These include data on contaminated land, all four major flood risks, ground stability, radon, current and planned energy features and transportation, and ten years of planning data. Some key features include:

  • Seven environmental searches, including planning applications
  • Findings based on Land Registry polygon data for the highest level of accuracy
  • Unique Avista Action Alert to help prioritise follow-up work
  • The majority of reports have fewer than 20 pages, saving everyone time

Enviro Insight

The Enviro Insight report provides comprehensive environmental data for commercial property professionals to utilise in their own due diligence. It utilises Groundsure’s Historical Land User Database of 7000 land use classifications and covers the following:

  • Detailed active and historical landfill data from authoritative sources including the Environment Agency, British Geological Survey (BGS), Local Authorities and historical Ordnance Survey mapping
  • Current industrial site data
  • National Grid gas pipeline and electricity transmission lines
  • 1:50,000 scale BGS records for artificial, superficial and bedrock geology
  • Hydrology and Hydrogeology data including abstractions, groundwater vulnerability and groundwater source protection zones (SPZ), now with SPZ within confined aquifers
  • Designated environmentally and culturally sensitive sites including SSSIs, SPAs, SACs, Green Belt and Ancient Woodland
  • Basic flood data including EA Flood Zones, RoFRaS and groundwater
  • 1:50,000 BGS/PHE radon potential data
  • BGS natural ground subsidence data

Georeferenced Aerial Photography

Groundsure’s vertical aerial photography service delivers a survey of the whole of the UK. It has the largest coverage available on the market, with most of England and Southern Wales covered. The photographs are so detailed that they show trees, street lights and even cars, giving you all the detail you need.

All aerial imagery can be provided in JPG, word document or tab document format, making it easy to use in CAD and GIS software.

Formats and Resolutions:

  • Product packaged zip folder with JPG, world file and tab file making it easy to import into CAD based and GIS mapping software.
  • The georeferenced aerial imagery is available in two resolutions (coverage layer determines resolution for your site):
  • 12.5 cm Resolution – suitable for display at 1:1250 scale
  • 5cm Resolution  – suitable for display at 1:2500 scale
  • Getmapping are the providers and the resolutions are 12.5cm and 25cm
  • The currency of the mapping dates between 2005 – 2014

Find out more about Groundsure reports


We are delighted to announce that we will be launching the new planning application service for Wales on the 29 May 2018. From this date, applications for planning permission in Wales should be submitted via the dedicated service; Planning Applications Wales

Planning Portal user account details will continue to work on the new service, and applications already created in draft on the Planning Portal will be available to edit and submit.  Any applications already in draft will continue to be available on both services and no work will be lost.

You will only be able to submit/view applications to local planning authorities (LPAs) in Wales on the service and will continue to submit/view applications to LPAs in England on the Planning Portal. If you try to submit an application to the incorrect region you will receive a message informing you of the issue and a link will be provided to access the correct service.

If you are in the ‘My Applications’ screen and you have applications submitted to the region you have not selected, you will see a message informing you of this, the number of applications for the tab you are on in the other region and link to get to that service. Clicking this link will require you to login in again, but your credentials will be the same.

If you have links to us on your website and wish to link to both services for England and Wales, you will need to update the links following the launch with a link to the new service for Wales. The Planning Portal links will remain the same.

Find out more from Welsh Government.

As you may know, back in October 2016 we launched our building control application service.

This service was introduced to realise our aims of joining-up planning and building control submission and we have been really pleased with take-up. We know that architects facilitate the full end-to-end process of submission, from pre-application to building completion, and would encourage you to submit all building control applications via the service too.

Recently, several aspects of the building control application service have been updated to improve the user experience.

This service is supported by a wealth of expert guidance and information. It continues to go from strength to strength with 18,495 applications successfully submitted at time of writing and 211 local authorities linking to the service, as well as some Approved Inspectors.

If you or your clients are involved with submitting building regulations approval, why not give it a try.

As part of our mission to help improve planning and building control processes, we are delighted to be working with Travis Perkins, the UK’s largest builders’ merchants, to promote their Estimating Service. This budget-friendly service offers accurate, timely and detailed evaluations for all project materials – all you need to provide is the plans.  It also includes costs for labour.  Coupled with the offer of competitive deals from Travis Perkins, it can help significantly streamline processes and minimise expenditure for you and your clients.

Prices start from just £70 excluding VAT for a single story extension and further consultation is provided in-store, where estimates can be reviewed and amended.

Find out more about the Estimation Service.