Planning consultants are the go-to professionals many property developers or investors rely on whenever they are thinking of making a substantial investment in a piece of property. With the right planning consultant as your partner and advisor, you can go into any property development with confidence and peace of mind knowing that all aspects have been taken into consideration. The benefits you can get from the proper planning consultant are enormous, but how do you find the best one? Here’s how to find the best planning consultant for your planned property development and investment.
Just like with the other property professionals you may need for your development project, one of the best methods you can take advantage of for finding the right planning consultant is recommendations. Local recommendations are especially useful, as it’s best to find a planning consultant who is thoroughly familiar with the local area. Another way to get recommendations for planning consultants is to check out who has been involved in some successful past applications. Additionally, plenty of locally-based developers and architects may have dealt with planning consultants in previous projects, and they may be able to make some recommendations as well.
Aside from making sure that the planning consultant has sufficient experience and expertise, especially if you have a more complex development project in mind, you also have to find out whether they are officially qualified. The planning consultant should be chartered, which means that they are a member of a regulatory authority such as RTPI. Membership in such a body will also mean that they not only follow a strict code when it comes to service and conduct, but they are also covered by insurance.
What to expect
The typical arrangement when it comes to planning consultants is a fixed or set fee (which is agreed upon in advance, depending on their rate per hour). There may also be an additional fee for unusual circumstances. A planning consultant’s fee can vary greatly depending on their experience and skills as well as issues related to the scheme and the local area. If you have a more complicated development project, you may well expect the fees to be higher, especially if the planning consultant has to deal with the authority on planning for a long time.
If you are engaged in a self-build or a complex renovation project, you should also be aware that you may incur a very high liability for contributions for affordable housing, for levies on community infrastructure, and for agreements under Section 106. One other good aspect about a planning consultant is that they can also make sure that your costs and expenses can be kept according to your budget, and perhaps even help you secure an arrangement where your payments are reasonably spread over your development project. This ensures that the costs you incur will not be too much of a burden, as they are spread out rather than incurred all at once.
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