Wednesday 30 December 2009

the last 10 years Part 1

Over the course of the next few posts I intend to do a review of how I saw the last decade and the changes which effected the architectural technology profession. There's been lots of regulation, changes in technology and software, construction methods . From the way planning applications are made to design and construction of building and then there was the registration or protection of titles like building surveyor and architect.

I'll start with architectural technology representation. Back in 2006 on the First Saturday in November nearly 600 ATs gathered in the Ballroom of the RDS, where the IATGN as it became known orgainised a meeting for the AT with the view to setting up a new representative body for the industry which was to be known as Architectural Technology Ireland or ATI. Yet today little has happened, other than the fact that the profession is in decline due to downturn. A far cry from the claimed 1500 members. Many of those, whom served on the committee, are now struggling to survive within the industry, so it is unfair to attribute all the blame for its failure on these individuals…. Others I believe had their own agendas and have been successful in achieving them. Its now safe to assume that ATI is dead for the immediate future anyway.

Fortunately there is representation for the AT profession with CIAT and at a lesser scale in the RIAI. The CIAT membership maybe a few shy of 300 at present, but it is and has been working hard to represent the AT profession and I not doubt believe it will continue to do so in 2010 and years to come and with it the membership will increase.With a bit of luck 2010 will see a major breakthrough for CIAT.

Its only really since the RIAI achieved protection of the title of Architect (after some 150 odd years) under the Building Control Act that representation became a big issue for non-architects offering architectural services, before then few ATs considered joining any professional body, as they saw little benefit and besides in the last 10 years everybody was so busy that professional qualifications or the lack of them didn't bother anybody, from banks to solicitors, employers or clients it didn't matter. Today however it is a different story.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

2009 - The Year of the Extension

Domestic extensions and renovations have accounted for over 30% of all the projects I was involved in over the last 12 months. Not since I started working within the industry back in 1994, have I been involved in such a high % of this type of work. They say everything goes in 15 year cycle, which in this case seams to be true.

Of the projects, very few were exempted development under the Planning and Development Acts and Regulations, so as part of our work, making a planning application was one element. The main reason for this in many cases was the works to be undertaken were to the side of the dwelling: however a number of the extensions were over the 40sq.m threshold or when previous extensions were taken into account the floor area exceeded the 40 sq. m.

I haven’t encountered any problems with the planning applications to date and in a number of cases the decisions were made well within the statutory period, which was great for the client.

People seem to consider extending rather than trade up in dwelling size due to the current house sales market. Typically extensions involved the provision of additional bedroom accommodation. Granny flat extensions or the extensions, which are easily adoptable as granny flats also featured high in the list of extensions.

In many cases I found that people also took the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of the existing structure, be it upgrading of insulation or windows, heating systems and controls. I expect that upgrading works will be a growth area in the next few years, particularly after the introduction of carbon taxes to fuel in the recent budget. With this in in mind, early in the new year I will be attending a one day CPD event entitled “Designing Low Energy Domestic Refurbs” which will hopeful fine tune me skills and improve my knowledge even further.

Monday 14 December 2009

Building Regs-Technical Guidance Documents

The DEHLG seem to be getting their act together in terms of getting Technical Guidance Documents (TGD’s)out for public consultation as Part H relating to Drainage appeared within the last week. How well its written might be another story.As expected gone are the references to SR 6 1991 and in its place the EPA Code of Practice. Many would say about time for SR 6 to be replaced. We have not used SR6 1991 for an number of years now, instead using the FETAC certified Site Assessors to undertake the site suitability testing.

There’s also references and guidance on rainwater harvesting, which is definitely a positive thing, if we are to take sustainability seriously. It seems pointless to be flushing toilets with what is meant to be good quality drinking water, however as some parts of the county found out within the last few years, here included, the quality of the water wasn’t fit for consumption anyway. Personally I’m looking at installing a rain water harvesting unit, as part of works to be undertaken in the future.

Getting back to the DEHLG and public consultation, I understand that they have their hands full after the Part M consultation, with 40 or so submissions. I’m sure the interest was increased due the introduction of the DAC Certs as the document will have a direct bearing on these in the future. How soon we can except to see the amended document well that’s another story, it will be a case of doing as many DAC Certs as quickly as possible under the current Documents I suspect…. Part F relating to ventilation which went for public consultation last year has yet to appear in its final format, so one can draw their own conclusions from that.

Of course Part L is due to be revised next year, to improve standards in thermal performance and reduce further our carbon emissions… the question is will we see the document… my money says yes if we still have a green minister for the environment. I don’t think that there has been too many houses built under the 2008 guidelines, I can see the 2010 guidelines been a complete culture shock to others when they do arrive.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

DAC Certs

Disability Access Certificates ( DAC Certs) are on the way as of 1 January 2010, which is not to far away now. Their introductaion is as a result of IS 351 of 2009 BUILDING CONTROL (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2009.

 Their introduction will bring some teething problems no doubt like:
  • Whom in Building Control is going to access them...... the Fire Officers have said they won't.
  • Will Building Control Authorities be satisfied with demonstrating Compliance with the current Part M or will they be looking one to demonstrate compliance with another document eg NDA's publication  Buildings for Everyone
  • What level of detail will they require, will full construction drawings be required or will documentation similar to the level of detail in a Fire Safety Certificate Application be sufficient?
The application fee won't sit well with persons whom require to make a DAC Cert application, in that it is €800 irrespective of size of project.

One has to ask the question it it now time that each element of the building regulations should be accessed by building control authorty in a single application,  like what happens in the UK?

Tuesday 8 December 2009


It’s finally time, to make my POP Record submission for Chartered Membership of CIAT or to give it its correct name the Professional and Occupational Performance Record Results Schedule.
  • Results Schedule signed off by POP Record Supervisor
  • CV updated
  • Cheque made out (€106 in my case)
  • Cover letter to accompany the submission.
Next correspondence should be the request to supply evidence for 5 of the 17 Units at which stage it should be just a case of taking the stuff out of the relevant file and submitting it.

Thursday 3 December 2009

One off housing

Over the last few years, I haven't been involved in too many "one-offs" as time was spent working on larger commercial projects or designing residential schemes: as this work, has dried up, things have come full circle, in that the one off is now featuring more and more again in my work, which was the type of work I did went I started working back in 1994. Its not to say that I haven't designed many houses in those intervening years, its hard to count how many I have, while there's been plenty of 3 bed semis, I've also been involved in many schemes of large individual houses too.

One off house design has moved on from the "bungalow bliss" type  grant sized house, which has is to be found on each rural road across the country. Have things improved much, I'm not so sure, however it is fair to say that design has become more of an important issue.  Many of the local authorites have developed Rural Design Guidelines, mainly following the lead of Cork County Council, whom produced a good publication back in 2003... a must have for both designer and potential house builder.

I can't take the credit for the design of the above dwelling, but rather I have developed the design from a planning application design to working drawings. There are things I don't particularly like myself nor would I have advised the client to do in the house, but then I didn't have a significant say in the dwelling design at concept stage.

Work on the house is progressing on site at the moment with another site visit due shortly.

Monday 30 November 2009


Its been a while since I mentioned Autodesk’s Impression software, however that’s not to say that I haven’t been using it. In fact I use it almost as much as I use AutoCAD these days. It allows an AutoCAD user generate presentation drawings quiet quickly and with little hassle, once you use your layering system in AutoCAD correctly. A standard layering system through each project with good discipline, can allow one create render drawings in a matter of minutes, once you have your styles set up.

The current version is Impression 3, only available on subscription as have past releases, I think, which means in the short term anyway I don’t expect to see the next release, as our AutoCAD subscription wasn’t renewed, in a effort to keep overheads down for the coming 12 months.

I have to say Impression 3 has improved in terms of stability since Release 1, although, it can still be a little unpredictable when it comes to updating data following revisions in AutoCAD drawings. Fills too can pose problems if you move the drawing or elements of it following your original impression render. The importing of AutoCAD Blocks however seem to cause me most problems, in than I have to re-apply the styles on each occasion that I update the drawing.

For someone who just wants to jazz up their AutoCAD drawings (Like me) it is far simpler to use that say Adobe Photoshop, particularly if you aren’t familiar with photoshop. There aren’t a huge number of commands, yet there’s huge scope for a different presentation techniques. Be a maker style drawing with extended lines, a blueprint type finish to a drawing or whatever takes your fancy. Its just a matter of playing around with the style command.

Anyway the lads at Autodesk University are far better at explaining how to use the software than I, particularly in the two presentation I found.

Thursday 26 November 2009

An another extension

Extensions and renovations seem to be the run of the mill of late, I am currently working on another one comprising of a granny flat this time. The brief is to extend an existing bungalow with a reasonable sized granny flat with bedroom and living accommodation, which will offer independence to the occupants, yet allow for care and supervision in years to come. As part of the works the clients intend up grading the thermal performance of the building and making alterations to the existing fenestration.

The project is ready to be submitted to the planning authority for assessment. Hopefully it will run through without any problems.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Tender Prices

As noted in a previous blog, we recently tendered a small extension with 5 building contractors. At first glance there was a 24% difference in the lowest and highest tender price, with the 3 middle tenderers very closely matched. (which would indicate the actual tender price) These 3 were between 10-14% above the lowest tender price. The building contactor of the lowest tender has been back, to advise that there is an error in their price, and that the actual price should be 7.5% more than the one submitted in their tender, however under the Code of Practice for Tendering and Contractual Matters 2006 published by the Liaison Committee, the contractor is required to either stand over the tender price submitted or withdraw their tender. It is most probable that they will withdraw as they have advised that their tender price is suicidal or in any case we will be recommending to the client not to appoint the lowest tender as the tender price is insufficient to complete the project. The price is coming in at €135/sq foot, excluding PC Sums for sanitaryware / tiling and painting however it involves a lot of manual work due to restricted access and alteration works internally to the existing dwelling. We are currently waiting to see if the client will proceed with the project.

Monday 23 November 2009

CIAT ramblings

Recently I attended a CIAT committee meeting in Dublin, which was held to tie in with Plan Expo .Unfortunately I didn’t get to visit Plan Expo, things ran late in the office however I understand that there were more exhibitors than visitors (on that afternoon anyway), which is an indication of the poor state of the industry at present. Talking to some of the committee members afterwards, some don’t hold out much hope for their future in the industry, ( in the short term anyway) which is worrying, as people who engage on committees are generally the one’s who interested in progressing their career and practice.
There’s a practice meeting in early December, which should be interesting to see how others are coping and how they view the future.

Its 3 years, since I was admitted to CIAT as an Associate member. I had hoped to have had my pop record completed at this stage however things have been difficult for the last 18 months and its a case of survival and the pop record gets put on the back burner. However I’m now at the stage where I can of make my record submission, just have to update the CV at this stage and get the application fee. Watch this space.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Extensions and tendering.

With many home owners not able to sell their homes or sell for what they hoped to get, some have resorted to extending rather than trading up. Depending on the works involved it may not be necessary to apply for planning permission, however I have found that generally the planning authorities make decisions well within the statutory period where planning permission was required and there are no issues .... something which would not have happened 12-15 months ago. Maybe its just that I've covered everything in the planning application submission and that they had no cause to request any further information.

Within the last few days I've sent one extension out to tender. It had been a while since I prepared tender documentation for an extension to be honest, but I now have a run of them to do. Extensions by their nature can be difficult to predict budget prices for so it will be interesting to see how much the tenders will come back for. I am expecting some variation in the prices.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors estimate that tender prices generally are back to 1999 levels, which would bring building costs well back from what they were 15 months ago, yet material prices and specifications have risen beyond the 1999 levels as have prelims., which makes one wonder.

Saturday 25 July 2009

The hidden costs of direct labour

Yesterday I was asked for my thoughts on building an extension by direct labour. People think it is a far cheaper route to hiring a builder to do the job and go that route, often not factoring in the hidden costs. A client who chooses the direct labour route is ultimately managing and running a business for the duration of the project, however many never think or see it as that.

There's their time, often away from work associated with the project, including ordering materials, chasing sub contractors etc and the costs of phone calls trips to the builder's merchants to collect materials all which are often never factored into the project costs.

There's an array of insurances, which some are sometimes over looked, until its too late. And of course the client has full responsibility for the health and safety of the site. I wonder how many clients in their role of the employer have a safety statement for the construction site as required by law or whats more are aware that they are responsible for maintaining the health and safety of the site.Some might see these an an extra unnecessary cost, but if an accident occurred on site having the proper insurances and heath and safety procedures and policies could be the difference of having a new home or spending ones days in the jail house.

In the end I didn't give an opinion, just presented some of the information which doesn't always jump to mind for those considering the direct labour route as at the end of the day most people will do what they want anyway.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Information Evening at the Park

The summer months are not normally the time, when information evenings take place or are well attended but on Wednesday week last, I attended a presentation in the Clonmel Park Hotel made by Campion Concrete on a new system build they are using for housing. While the concept is good, and properly works I won't be recommending the system in the near future, as I left with a lot of unanswered questions. Much of the presentation or "sales pitch" used bad workmanship in traditional cavity walling construction as a method of promoting the system and how this the system eliminates that, however as we all know, any system is only as good a the workmanship, be it timber frame, light gauge steel frame or conventional conc. block cavity walling. There was no real technical data to support or verify the system, nor from what I can gather has any testing of the system been done other than a 4 houses constructed within the last 12 months. Those associated with the product ran for cover when asked about the technical side and if an Agrément Certificate was applied for/pending ..... which answered that for me anyway.

Still the evening wasn't wasted as some knowledge was gained and Carey Glass of Nenagh were also in attendance and made a brief presentation on their "enegry reducing" products.

Monday 22 June 2009

Extensions, Retentions etc

The last few weeks have been spent preparing extension and retention planning applications and taking in charge documentation. While retentions are normally straight forward in terms of preparing, there's the same level of work involved and often more than a clear new planning application, fees expected by clients are normally less. For retentions we charge out by the hour with expenses on top, so the client can see exactly what they are paying for.

Clients initially take the same view with regard to fees for extensions, looking at the smaller picture of adding a room, however went you start outlining to them the bigger picture of how an extension is also an opportunity to upgrade the entire house from an energy efficiency point of view they seem more value in fees and professional advise and of doing the work. Be it reducing the amount glazing to north facing sunrooms, upgrading the heating system or replacing less energy efficient double glazing with ones of better U-values. For the client there is good value to be got in construction of an extension at present. Also as people can no longer to afford to trade up, the extension is the only option of adding some additional space hence I think extensions will be the most common type of work in the foreseeable future.

Sunday 31 May 2009

May updates.

Its the last day of the month and I haven't posted since the first day, an indication of how busy I've been. I had two days of CPD orgainised by the CIAT on the role of PSDP on May 12/13. The course was fairly intense with exams at the end of each day. It will be a few months before I can expect the results, however I'm already putting the knowledge into practice.
Sticking with CIAT, I was elected Centre Secretary at the ROI Centre's Committee meeting last week.

On the work front, we've picked up a few new jobs, 2 extensions, a nursing home and the go ahead on three small housing schemes. In addition to lodging a revised proposal for a mixed village centre development and working drawing for a recently permitted Neighbourhood Centre.

Friday 1 May 2009

More positivity

The positivity of recent weeks seems to be continuing with some more new working coming in during the week. Two reasonable sized jobs have come into the office, hopefully one or two more will follow.One of the projects is straight forward, the other will require a good bit of work and if the client is willing to follow my advise I am confident that planning permission can be obtained.

Next week will be a busy one, as I have two planning applications to prepare and lodge, not helped by the fact it is a 4 day week too but I won't complain through!

We even received a planning permission for a small job, in less than 6 weeks and without further information this morning. More of that Please... Mr Planners.

Thursday 30 April 2009

CIAT General Business Meeting

On Saturday last I made the early morning trip to Dublin to the CIAT General Business Meeting. The attendance, wasn't as bad as I expected although, it was still only 5% of the actual membership of the Irish Centre. So much for people’s interest in an Institute and one wonders why they are members at times.

As part of the meeting the President Mark Kenneth made a presentation. I have to say that Mark was very down to earth. The presentation was very interesting and informative. As one guy said the kind of thing to help boost moral in the current climate. It wasn't just talk there is substance behind it: Mark informed us that the practice documentation is now ready for use by ROI Chartered members and have referred another matter to the Competition Authority. More reasons to have my POP Record completed sooner rather than later.

All that went forward were re-elected to the committee along with two new members, officers will be decided in the coming weeks at the new committee’s first meeting.

Thursday 23 April 2009

IATGN/Tegral CPD Event

Last night I headed to WIT for the IATGN/Tegral CPD event and added two more hours to the CPD record. The attendance was by no means great, however this could have been attributed to the timing, as the evenings get long people rather be in the garden than travelling to meetings.I think the lads inthe IATGN recoknised this too. The fact that so many AT's are no longer working too didn't help matters either I guess.

One reason I like attending events like these, is the social side and the chat with fellow AT's whom I don't often see. At the last event back in March I met a guy whom, I was in collage with in WIT that I hadn't seen in almost 14 years and again last night I met one guy whom I hadn't seen in 16 years, whom I was in collage with, in Carlow RTC as it was then. This I feel is the real benfit of a graduate network and something I would hope will not be lost going forward.

The presentations/ topics covered on the night were made by Bobby O'Neill of theTegral and were very informative, I had past experience of the Slating presentation, however I did pick up a few things, or a few items were refreshed in my mind. The second part of the presentation was on rainscreen cladding and while general was very informative and is something I will be looking into further, particularly as a method of weathering external insulation type construction.

Saturday sees me in Dublin for the CIAT General Business meeting and an opportunity to meet a few more fellow ATs.

Thursday 16 April 2009

CPD Events and meetings

CPD is back on the agenda with a number of events planned in the coming weeks. First up is an IATGN organised event on Wednesday next in WIT: Tegral Building Products will be making two presentations, one , their excellent CPD event relating to slating and the second rain screen cladding. Something for both the domestic and the commercial orientated AT there.

Then on Saturday 25th its off to Dublin for the CIAT General Business Meeting and an audience with the CIAT's President Mark Kenneth, where I am going forward for re-election to the CIAT Centre's Committee. It will be interesting to see what kind of attendance will be there.

In May, I am scheduled to attend the CIAT organised course in relation to the role of PSDP (Project Supervisor Design Process). This course will be of assistance in allowing me undertake the role of PSDP and expand the range of services that can be provided by the practice. It is also hoed to hold a POP record workshop on the Tuesday evening of that event, which I also plan to attend.

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Positive vibes

Despite yesterday's budget, there appears to be some pick up in work, or definitely the office seems busier the last few days with clients coming and going. A number of projects are progressing to their next stage; planning applications to be lodged, fire safety certificate applications to be made and construction drawings to be prepared. We even received a positive decision from An Bord Pleanala.

Tuesday 31 March 2009

Planning Decisions and invalidations

We received another positive decision from a planning authority on Friday last, it seems as if the penny has finally dropped in local government. The conditions were even favourable for a change.

Well maybe not as the ever increasing list of petty things giving cause for invalidations continues. I got a call from a planning authority to inform me to expect the return of the application as it has been invalidated due to a number of petty things, which won''t have been considered as items to invalid an application 6 months ago. In the course of the conversation I was advised to address a number of building control related items, which although they didn't invalidate the application, the local authority would be seeking them to be addressed even though they don't have a material effect on the planning application. Planning Authorities have now assumed the role of the Building Control Authority by all accounts... I wonder will they be issuing Opinions of Compliance with Planning and Building Regulations also.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Progress or is it?

Yesterday's pre-planning meeting was positive, the planner liked the proposals and would welcome the redevelopment of the site, however (there's always one) we were advised to engage with the DEHLG as the building is on the NIAH although no longer a protected structure. I suppose one has to welcome the fact that the planner was helpful and flagged to us that we should engage with the Department prior to making the planning submission, sometime that would properly not have happened in the past... watch this space to see how the development progresses.

At the same meeting, we took the opportunity to run by proposed revisions to a recently permitted development, prior to compliance submission. The planner was favourable towards the revisions, so we will now be submitting the revisions formally, and avoid the repeat of a high profile case which occurred recently in Cashel. Its positive news and allows me to proceed full steam ahead with preparing the Fire Safety Certificate application and working drawings now, for this project.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Pre-Planning Meeting

Later this morning I'll be attending a pre-planning meeting with the local planner to discuss proposals for the redevelopment of a property in town, known as Anglea's The site has been subject to two previous planning applications in the past, neither of which got any further that further information stage.

The fact that the property has been deleted from the list of projected structures in the past few months should help the case, in progressing the development this time. The building has been altered on a number of occasions in the past which has effected the structural integrity of the building. None of the walls are tied together. There is also evidence of movement, one only has to look at the crack in the picture. The original roof has been long removed, indeed there is evidence to suggest that the building has been shortened in the past too. The detail of the windows further suggests that the building has been altered overtime, so a redevelopment of the building at this time, is another stage in the life of the building.

Our proposal, is to partially demolish the building and reconstruct this in a contemporary style to distinguish the new works form the original... of course this is dependant on how we get on with the planner this morning.

Monday 23 March 2009

Planning Applications and decisions

Just putting the finishing touches to two "huge" (not ! ) planning applications this morning: A retention application for a coffee shop measuring 30 sq . m and an application for a replacement domestic garage.

The coffee shop application, is a result of planning enforcement, which is a big thing at the moment, in many of these case the first part should seek a Section 5 Declaration or referral, where a warning letter is sent out, prior to replying for retention. It was not an option in this case as there is not parent permission. The decision f the planning authority will be interesting.

The application for the garage is a straight forward application, although an additional hassle on the clients, has they have had the garage uprooted, due tot he recent flood relief works in Clonmel.

Friday did bring some positive news in that the planning authority granted permission for a development... admittedly reducing the floor area by 230 sq. metres, in reducing the development by a floor.

Friday was also to see a decision by An Bord Pleanala, in respect to a development which was subject to a third party appeal, however as of yet there is no news, the decision date , has been put back a number of times already, so there will be no surprise, if its put back again.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Dependance on Technology

For almost a week now, our server in work has been down, a faulty hard disk is the problem, I'm told. Its meant that everything on the network was down, printers, email, internet access, and even access to files. Fortunately I had loads of paperwork to tidy up, so the down time allowed me attend to that, but at the same time it has shown how depend we have become on certain pieces of technology. Email and internet access are now an important part of the office structure,providing access to local authority planning files, application forms, and documents and even printer drivers. I went about setting up our mian printers as local printers on my laptop, only to find there were no drivers in the office, nor does the printer manufacturer supply them..... other than to download them for their website.... a bit of a problem if you have no internet access. Anyway things should be back up and running before the weekend, and possibly tomorrow.

Saturday 14 March 2009

Information Evening

On Thursday Evening I headed to WIT for one of the IATGN information evenings. The attendance was much smaller than the previous events, with approximately 25 in attendance; a reflection on how the industry currently is.

On the night three topics were covered;
Accessibility Auditing by William Longeran MCIAT and OPW Architectural Assistant, Update on Planning by Peter Thompson Planning Consultant and Vista Options for the Architectural Technologist/Technician by a rep from The evening was worth attending as I did learn something from each of the speakers presentations.

The Accessibility Auditing was particularly interesting, considering that it s expected that in the comming year the long awaited Access Certificates will be introduced. BS8300 2009 will be on the shopping list for these I would image. Now when things are quiet , is the ideal time to get up to speed with that document and incorporating the principals of same into new building design.

The second presentation of the night on planning, was beneficial and I picked up some information on enforcement and that every often is it best to request a declaration or referral under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, where Planning Authorities issue a warning letter prior to applying for retention permission. The talk moved on the proposed new planning bill and the expected implications for development plans and zoning. By all accounts zoning will not longer be a case of putting a colour on a map: things like demostration of adequate services, school capacities etc will have to be taken into account when lands are been zoned. No doubt it will be up to the landowner to demonstrate that the lands should be zoned.

The third talk was on visas, it was more interesting than I expected it would be.

Afterwards a cup of tea was enjoyed , and more importantly a chat with fellow ATs.

Wednesday 11 March 2009

its the small stuff

Its the small stuff that takes the time.... working on small projects/jobs are far more time consuming to that of working on a large project. You could spend a day working on a small project and have hardly anything to show for it, yet a day on a major project, could see 5 or 6 drawings after the days work.

A planning application for a domestic garage for example may only have one A3 drawing and a few maps in its planning application but it still takes the best part of 2 days to prepare the planning application, while a week working on a larger project, could see a lorry load of drawings created for a planning application.

Also for some reason the small stuff seems to get left on the desk for longer, at present there's properly 5 or 6 small jobs to be done, which would occupy a week or two, yet some of them are outstanding for nearly a month at this stage and all are sitting on someone's desk for over a week. I think its time to allocate a morning or two each week solely to the smaller projects to keep on top of them.. staring this morning.

Monday 9 March 2009

Planning Authorities

If you were to go by a planning authority and the length one has to wait for an appointment, you would think there is a flood of appointments and planning applications to be dealt with . Tried making an appointment last Friday to be given a date of the end of the month, yet the planning authority in question hasn't received a planning application in nearly 4 weeks. Mind you with the rate of the requests for further information from the same authority, you can see how there are no available appointments for nearly 3 weeks... further information requests for almost every application with in most cases requests for redesigns of previously agreed proposals and the flowerly language used, in the same requests for further information isn't helpful either ... just to really get up the applicants and agents backs.

One would think local authorities would be helpful and encourage activity that maintains jobs. Do they not realise that they will end up supporting the construction industry out of their own pocket, through the higher taxes needed to fund the ever growing dole queues.

Other planning authorities are boosting their number of planning applications in retention applications as a result of warning and enforcement procedures, which isn't a true reflection on how active or not construction will be. I wonder how long it will be before the planning authorities throughout the country will realise that there is a significant dent in their revenues due no construction activity and no development contributions, or how many planners will loose their jobs due to the lack of planning applications. Maybe we will see volumes of masterplans for village that will now never be developed prepared by idol planners.

Friday 27 February 2009

New year updates.

So far the new year (well its no longer the new year now) has been busy but tough. We haven't been getting any breaks from the planning authorities...... just requests for further information and refusals. We did get one permission, for the construction of two boundary walls, which was a "tidy up" job. The further information requests have lots in them, mainly trivial stuff but it has to be answered. Hopefully we will see positive decisions which will enable clients to move on site. As for the refusal, it is a case of sitting and waiting for the next 6 months.

An Bord Pleanala (fortunately) did up hold the Planning Authority's decision in respect to the proposed expansion of a business park, however the delay has meant that the project is not going to proceed on site for a while.