A further continuation of the ‘We need to build smaller blog post’ and follows up on James’ comment on the expense of resubmitting drawings when the bank lowers the mortgage offer and the house has to be reduced in scale.
The first step is to look at the Architects ‘Certificate of Compliance with Planning Permission’; it’s role and what it means.
This is the front cover of the relevant certificate that the RIAI architect completes (engineers will have different versions):
The key thing to notice is the actual title of the document ‘ARCHITECT’S OPINION ON COMPLIANCE WITH PLANNING PERMISSION AND/OR EXEMPTION FROM PLANNING CONTROL’. What the architect is giving is his opinion on whether the ‘Relevant Development’ is in Substantial Compliance with the Planning Orders. Notice that it’s not saying that the development has to be EXACTLY the same as what was granted, just that it is ‘substantially compliant’.
If we read further down in the document, there is a definition of ‘substantial compliance’:
“Substantial Compliance with the Planning Orders” means that:
[a] the Relevant Development is constructed in accordance with the said Planning Orders saving and excepting such minor deviations which in my opinion do not constitute a contravention of the proper planning and development of the area as expressed through such Planning Orders and the Development Plan, and
[b] such minor deviations do not warrant the issue of enforcement proceedings by the relevant Planning Authority as provided for in the Planning Acts.
Again it comes back to the architect’s opinion on whether any ‘minor deviations’ ‘do not constitute a contravention of the proper planning and development of the area as expressed through such Planning Orders and the Development Plan’
The problem arises in the definition of this ‘substantial compliance‘ as one architect or engineer could have a difference of ‘opinion’ to another.
So what can you do? You could send the drawings to the County Council for their advice on whether the deviations are non-compliant. My guess is that most wouldn’t want to take the responsibility and will simply request a retention. I’m working on a project at the moment where exactly this is happening, so I’ll keep you posted on the results.
Blog post to follow is on the role of this document and we’ll then return to the original question of what you can do when you can’t build the house you’ve got planning for…
I’d be very interested in comments from architects/engineers on their stories concerning this matter…