Frequently Asked Questions

A selection of our most Frequently Asked Questions...

How long will it to get planning permission?

The whole process usually takes 2 - 3 months. The design process will typically take around 2 weeks, planning permission can take 6 - 8 weeks, following that building regulations approval will take a further 2 weeks to complete. [ top ]

How much will I pay in fees?

Householder planning application                                £172

Ordnance survey site plan (Scale 1/1250)                     £20

Abbey Design Durham Ltd fees                    (ring for quote)

  • Initial design consultation
  • Full measured survey
  • Design Consultations
  • Planning permission :-
  • Production of final plans
  • Form completion and submission
  • Agent service to decision date
  • Building Regulations :-
  • Construction drawings and specification
  • Building regulations submission
  • Agent service to approval

Building Control Plan Checking (varies with size)         £179.76

Building Control Inspection Charge (Varies with size)    £180 - £600
Structural engineer (if required)                       £100 - £500

Typical Total Costs                                  £900 - £1500

Building Costs

Allow for £1000 per square metre of floor area as a rough guide.


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What is permitted development?

Certain types of home improvement can be carried out without applying for planning permission.  Examples are a porch up to 3m², certain conservatories and in some cases a single storey home extension.  We recommend that you submit drawings to the Local Planning Authority for written confirmation of your rights and in most cases a Building Regulations application will also be required. [ top ]

What is an approved inspector?

The building control process is now deregulated and it isn't necessary to have your work inspected by the local authority building control dept.  The government approves private companies that can do this, often in a shorter time at a reduced cost. [ top ]

What areas do you cover?

We are based in County Durham and the majority of our work is local.  We also cover most of the north east, south of the Tyne and north of the Tees. [ top ]

What is the difference between a sun lounge and conservatory?

A sun lounge has a fully insulated tiled roof and will usually incorporate a certain amount of brickwork in the walls.  This is achieved by using a sun lounge lintel to support the roof structure; allowing for the freedom to use as much or as little glazing as the design requires. [ top ]

Can you recommend a builder?

As it is our intention to act solely in the best interests of our clients we do not recommend contractors.  For reliable advice contact the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) for a list of reputable contractors. [ top ]

Is my roof suitable for a loft conversion?

Typically a roof built from modern trusses would not prove financially viable to convert.  A traditional king or queen post roof should have a head room of around 3 metres to successfully convert. [ top ]

What is the Party Wall Act?

If you are planning to carry out work within 3 metres of a neighbours property you need to inform them of your intentions and obtain agreement from them.  Example letters are available. [ top ]