A planning validation story and how to treat people

Here’s a nice little story on a recent planning validation…

But first a short recap on what Planning Validation is all about…

Before a planning application even gets looked at, it needs to go through a validation process. This checks whether the drawings, site notices, forms etc… fulfill the technical requirements of the Planning Act. If there’s anything missing or incorrect then it’s back to the beginning (Do not pass GO, do not collect $200!). Sometimes this validation procedure is quick and over the counter, other times it has lasted the entire 8 weeks. I’ve written another post on this invalidation procedure recently HERE.

So here’s the story, no names, no pack drill and especially no county names!

A planning application was submitted a while back and the validation checker calls me concerning a missing note/line:

Planning Validator: You are missing a line on the site location plan with a note indicating the location of the site notice. I can’t touch the drawing but if you can get someone in here by tomorrow to add it, I’ll validate it immediately. (Ed Note: Decent Planner)

Me: OK, no problem, I’ll call the client and see if they can pop in to do it.

I then call the client and although it’s my error, the client is happy to go in and amend the drawing (under the guidance of the planner). (Ed Note: Decent Client & Planner). nb It’s an hour round trip for the client.

I then think, I wonder if I got it right and the planner got it wrong. And surprise, surprise, the correct note & arrow is actually on the drawing…

Me: I’ve checked the drawings and the site notice is correctly identified on the site location plan.

Planning Validator: Oh yes, you’re right. Sorry. I’ll validate the file accordingly. (Ed Note: decent planner, he did apologise)

I ring the client, inform of good news, happy that they don’t have to go in and happy that the file is getting validated.

Now what’s the moral of this story?

1. There was no shouting between anyone during all these conversations. Everyone was polite, friendly and helpful.

2. Although the planner did make a mistake, it could very easily have been a mistake by me. Treat other people how you would like to be treated. Would you like someone to shout at you if you made a simple mistake?

3. Everyone is human and everyone can make mistakes. Life is tough and it’s made harder by people being rude and angry. be kinder on others (and on yourself). Everyone has a hard job and deserves respect and courtesy.

4 thoughts on “A planning validation story and how to treat people

  1. Hi Mark,
    I like your story and the moral is brilliant.
    Team work is always better and mutual respect & cooperation are essential!
    Although I never had a similar incident I must say the planning staff at Wexford County Council are fantastic in supporting applicants and agents (at least that is the experience I have anyway!).
    Kind regards,
    Isabel Barros

  2. Mark,

    An interesting read as always.

    In the UK it is the Planning Department who have to put the notice up near the site therefore we don’t have to indicate it on the site plan drawing. The Validation process still exists though, and it can be “interesting”!

    I do find that, contrary to popular belief, most planners are reasonable people and the relationship between them and us designers is usually quite good!

    Clive Elsdon
    Architectural Designer – Clive Elsdon Building Design

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