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Architects – Does planning slow down and affect your design work?

Time management is key for any architect, especially when they are working on multiple projects to tight deadlines. However the intricacies of the planning system can impact on both productivity and creativity when it comes to the design process.

Architects Journal reported in August that the second quarter of 2012 saw a workload boost for British Architects. The research firm Arch-Vision found that one in ten British practices saw their order books increase by 5% or more in the three months to June. With this in mind, architects need focus on their work to be paramount, and many find that dealing with planning issues hinders them from creating their best possible design work.

Property Aspects Magazine recently spoke with Amanda Olley, who is a chartered town planner and Managing Director of North West-based Summit Planning Associates. Amanda gave us her expert advice on how Architects can lighten their load.

Amanda commented:“As a newly formed consultancy we have found great benefit in collaborating closely with Architects as it widens the scope of services that both partners are able to offer.
Having a planning consultant on board provides added value and confidence to the creative and design process that the Architect wishes to follow!

“More often than not, Architects receive little or inconsistent design guidance from the Local Planning Authority and it’s multitude of statutory consultees. This can fragment and disjoint the design process, and ultimately adds significant time and cost to a project.”

Amanda continued: “The forte of the planning consultant is in the reliable interpretation of both planning policy and initial advice received from the Planning Authority and its statutory consultees”.

“A familiar trap that we often see Architects fall in to, is to try and give the Planning Authority everything that they ask for. Quite often this is not always justified and the design process ends up being unreasonably compromised”.

Property Aspects also spoke with Ian Leighton, an experienced, Chartered Architect from Architect Solutions, who supported Amanda’s points.

Ian commented: “Having a planning consultant on board reduces the amount of time that an Architect needs to spend in inconclusive discussions with the Planning Authority, and provides a greater degree of confidence to the design approach with which the Architect wishes to move forward.”

Amanda Olley has been a planning consultant for 12 years and is an expert in her field. For more information, contact Summit Planning Associates via Tel: 01625 801800 or E-Mail:

Chartered Architect Ian Leighton and examples of his work can be found via his website