Roger E Stephens Architectural Services
Roger E Stephens Architectural Services

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some answers to a number of common queries ...


How do I know if I need Planning Permission?


Depending upon the nature of your proposals, the work may be controlled under current planning policies.

Both Pembrokeshire County Council and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority operate their own respective Local Development Plans (LDP's), which can be viewed free online by using the links provided to the right of this page.


Some domestic extension proposals may fall under Permitted Delelopment, not requiring a submission for Planning Permission. In 2014 the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) published Permitted Develpment Supplementary Guidance for Householders, which provides clear general advice as to what you may be able to achieve within these criteria. Visit WAG using the link to the right of this page.


Larger projects, such as a major extension, will undoubtedly need Planning Permission, but there are specific planning policies and criteria that must be observed when making an assessment. In some cases planning policies vary between the Pembrokeshire CC LDP and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority LDP. Be sure to refer to the correct LDP for your location.


In some cases, a 'Design & Access Statement' (DAS) may be required as part of your planning application - see below.


A preliminary submission of sketch proposals can be made to the appropriate Planning Authority as a Pre-Application Planning Enquiry to seek an initial assessment as to the chances of achieving Planning Permission.


You can seek advice direct from your local Planning Authority, or we can do this for you for a modest fee.


What is a 'Design & Access Statement' (DAS) and will I need one?


Current legislation requires a DAS to be submitted for many types of planning application (both outline and full), plus for all Listed Building Applications. A DAS is mandatory for any new dwelling or conversion to create a dwelling or any Listed Building.


However, a DAS may not be required for many small householder developments, such as extensions, unless the building les within a Conservation Area or is Listed.


You can consult your local Planning Authority direct, or we can advise you upon a Free Initial Consultation visit.


Will I need an Energy Performance Assessment?


A proposal to extend an existing home will require a SAP Energy Performance Assessment, to the satisfaction of Building Control, if the project involves large glazed areas that will take the total area of all post development windows and external beyond 25% of the gross internal floor area.


Any new build dwelling will require a SAP Energy Performance Assessment.


We will advise you further and obtain fee quotations from accreditted SAP Energy Assessors as part of our service.


How long will it take to get Planning Permission?


Once your planning application has been valdated by your Planning Authority, if it has been awarded 'Delegated' status a Planning Officer will be responsible for determining a decision. Providing there are no objections, he or she will write up a report recommending approval, which you should receive 8 weeks from submission.


In the event of valid objections being raised, either by the Planning Officer, the Statutory Consultees or the public, your application may be heard and assessed by a Development Management Committee, which could protract the decision if any contentious issues are to be considered and resolved.


Should I be worried about bats?


This is not an easy one to answer here, as there are a number of factors that are considered against a Trigger List that both PCC and PCNPA work to.

All Planning Applications submitted to both authorities are assessed by the County Ecologist and any need for either a Scoping Survey or a Full Bat Survey will be advised according to the particular circumstances. 

Scoping Surveys can be conducted at any time, but Full Bat Surveys must be conducted during the bat survey season between May and September by an accredited ecologist and we would seek fee quotations on your behalf.

Of course if we know in advance that you have bat roosts in your building, then we can get an accredited ecologist on board at an early stage in the design process, because appropriate mitigation measures must be incorpoated into your scheme as necessary.

Building Regulations:

Will I need Building Regs Approval?


You will usually need to apply for Building Regs Approval, unless your particular type of development is considered exempt. We will advise you fully as appropriate upon a Free Initial Consultation.


With the agreement of your chosen builder, some projects may be carried out against a Building Notice Application, without fully detailed construction drawings.


Otherwise a Full Plans Building Regs Application would require the submission of fully detailed construction drawings.


The same scale of Building Regs Fees applies to both submission routes.




Call or email us for further advice.


Will I need any Structural Calculations?


Building Control will require evidence of the structural integrity of certain elements of the design, such as special foundations, primary roof timbers, beams & columns and consequently will insist upon formal submission of structural calculations.and design details


We will fee quotations from local Structural Engineers on your behalf prior to the appointment of a Project Engineer for your build.


When can I start building?


If your project is subject to Planning Permission, you cannot start your build before such permission is granted and any conditions imposed have been discharged by the relevant means.


Planning Permission will allow you 5 years within which to start your build, but there is no limit to how long you may take to build.


Once either type of Building Regulations Application has been submitted, if you allow 2 working days for it to be registered you can then call Building Control to tell them you wish to start building, even if you are awaiting an approval of a Full Plans Applcation.



CDM 2015 REGS.

See details in our Services Menu.


How much will plans cost me?


We will asses our fees according to the design brief agreed and the time we need to complete the necessary drawings,etc.


We cannot provide figures by telephone, but we will arrange a Free Initial Consultation to discuss the matter on site and advise you of likely third party fees and charges.

We operate a staged payment scheme.


How will VAT affect me?


We do not add VAT to our own fees, as we are not VAT registered.


You will pay VAT on some third party fees & charges.


If you want to build a new dwelling, you should be able to claim your VAT back at the end of the build. This may also apply to certain types of conversion to residential.


What are the fees to be paid to Local Authorities?


There are scales of fees for Planning and Buiding Regs Applications, according to the nature of your proposals.


You can find details directly from your Local Authorities, using the links here, or we will advise you upon a Free Initial Consultation visit.


What will my project cost me to have built?


We may be able to give you a rough idea but, once we have drawn some plans, you should initially seek 'ball park' figures from at least three builders.


A rough rule of thumb shows that a new build would cost on average £1,000 per square metre of total floor area +VAT. But an extension will cost between £1,250 and £1,500 per square metre + VAT, due to inevitable interface issues between old and new structural elements.


We will endeavour to offer the names of a few reputable builders.


For larger projects you may even consider appointing a Quantity Surveyor.


What about insurance cover whilst I'm building?


You should check with your normal iinsurer as to whether they can offer appropriate additional cover for the duration of your build. Otherwise, you may need to find a specialist insurer to satisfy your requirements.

Any other questions?

We hope the information included within the pages of our website will prove helpful.

But if you feel uncertain and need any further advice please call on 01437 710901 (please leave us a message if we're unable to pick up) or email us anytime at


Sorry, but we cannot accept commissions for commercial projects.


Enjoy your visit!

Links for guidance:

For further information on Planning matters outside the National Park.

Pembrokeshire County Council

PCC Planning 

For further information on Planning matters in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

PCNPA Planning

For further information on Building Regulations matters across Pembrokshire.

Pembrokeshire County Council

Building Control

For general information on Planning Policy across Wales, including Technical Advice Notes and Supplementary Planning Guidance from the

Welsh Assembly Government

WAG Planning Guidance

For general information on Planning and Building Regulations matters in Wales.

Planning Portal - Wales

Planning Portal Wales

For inforrnation on applications for building over or near any drain designated as a Public Sewer.

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

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